11 March 2022
Not since 2014 has Sweden sent a home-grown female artist to Eurovision, so will 2022 be finally the year for Sweden to undo this bad. The superlative Sanna Nielsen was the last Swedish female artist to go Eurovision, finishing third in Copenhagen with Undo. While Sweden did select The Mamas for Rotterdam 2020, they mostly rode on the success of being John Lundvik’s backing singers the previous year in Tel Aviv and were a hybrid Swedish-American act singing soul and gospel. They weren’t fully home grown talent and, of course, with Rotterdam 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19, they never appeared on the Eurovision stage anyway.
The 2022 edition of Melodifestivalen marked a significant change in the format. Gone was the absurd second chance round with silly duels, and in its place was a show of two semi finals. From the four heats of 7 songs each, the third and fourth placed songs went to the semi final show, where the 8 songs would be randomly split into two semi finals. The top two from each progressed to the final. A nice and effective change.
Of the 16 songs eliminated before the final, only Lisa Miskovsky with Best To Come could be described as unlucky, being beaten by two of the weakest songs in the semi finals, from Theoz and Cazzi Opeia. She’s a real artist with something unique, and the presentation was excellent.
A personal nod would be to Shirley Clamp. I became aware of Melodifestivalen in 2004 and instantly became intrigued and smitten with her, as did much of Sweden, when she finished second with Min Kärlek. I would buy her albums and follow her career for many years. It was good to see her back after 8 years. While her song, Let There Be Angels, isn’t among her best, she still has that voice.
01 Klara Hammarström – Run To The Hills
02 Theoz – Som du vill
03 Anna Bergendahl – Higher Power
04 John Lundvik – Änglavakt
05 Tone Sekelius – My Way
06 Anders Bagge – Bigger Than The Universe
07 Robin Bengtsson – Innocent Love
08 Faith Kakembo – Freedom
09 Liamoo – Bluffin
10 Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer
11 Cazzi Opeia – I Can’t Get Enough
12 Medina – In i dimman
Bold are those that qualified from the semi finals.
Most notable of the final are several prior Eurovision entrants for Sweden, notably Anna Bergendahl (2010), John Lundvik (2019) and Robin Bengtsson (2017). All three haven’t brought their best, with Bengtsson’s Innocent Love the weakest of the trio. Robin mostly goes through the motions, as does the song itself, so Robin appears mostly for visual appeal. Anna’s Higher Power will need intervention from a higher power if she’s to get her second appearance on the Eurovision stage. While very listenable and I love the horses in the graphics, I always have a beef (or lentil burger for vegetarians) with expressions like “larger than life” in songs, and overall it’s overly cliche and formulaic. Änglavakt from John Lundvik is nice and seems a very personal song to him, if not a little indulgent. It’s held back by lacking any sort of climax.
As mentioned earlier, Theoz and Cazzi Opeia bring the weakest songs. While Som du vill is fun and catchy, it gets too repetitive by the end. Similar with I Can’t Get Enough and its hollow chorus. Faith Kakembo is Tusse in a dress, with Freedom a similar and cliche song to his Voices, albeit she has an impressive voice and the starting background graphics are awesome. Liamoo brings good energy and dance moves with Bluffin, and it was a close decision to leave him out of the top 5. After hearing it a few times now, it’s run its course a little and I found a bit more in other songs.
My Fab Five
05 Klara Hammarström – Run To The Hills
Yes, there’s the “run to the hills” expression that does bug me, and the song isn’t clearly superior to a couple of others I could have slotted here. The difference is that big, beautiful, wonderful, blonde super Swede strutting her stuff in a Wonder Woman outfit. Awesome!
04 Tone Sekelius – My Way
Where Klara doesn’t quite reach the highs, Tone sets the tone with this powerful, uplifting and energetic number, and she presents it so well. She might even have better legs than Klara too. It’s held back from a higher spot by being on the generic side.
03 Medina – In i dimman
The most fun you will have in 2 minutes watching this year’s Melodifestivalen final. Of course, songs last for 3 minutes, and it does lose some of its appeal by the end. Up until then it’s very engaging and the energy from the guys is fully felt.
02 Anders Bagge – Bigger Than The Universe
A renowned composer, writer and producer, it’s stunning we’ve never seen Anders and his magnificent voice on the Melfest stage before. That voice is the true feature of this song, as he showcases his several octaves. While the song is quite cliche and a little simplistic, it doesn’t matter when it’s presented like this, and that includes the background visuals, which I adore.
01 Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer
A lovely voice full of character and personality, it transcribes the feeling of the song far more effectively than the lyrics do. Of course, no one cares about a rubbish song transcribed, and here Hold Me Closer doesn’t disappoint. It’s the best of this year’s Melfest, and it’s not even close. It’s real and authentic, and that’s in stark contrast to much of the generic stuff on offer in this final. The presentation is spot on too. Cornelia has been around a while, appearing on Swedish Idol in 2008 and apparently gaining some notoriety by being mocked by the judges, which curiously featured Anders Bagge. If she wins Melfest, the joke will be on them.
Cornelia Jakobs should win Melfest 2022. No, she must win it, otherwise Sweden will be in big trouble, especially if she’s beaten by a man. It’s not even my fanaticism saying she must win; the buzz everywhere is for Cornelia Jakobs, including the betting market. She’s a dominant favourite there, with Anders Bagge next and Klara Hammarström in third. Those three are clear ahead of Liamoo, with the rest rated as almost zero chance. Also a good sign is her spot in the running order, where the producers have placed her tenth to perform.
Sweden, don’t let us down. It’s Cornelia or bust!