Sweden: Melodifestivalen 2023 Final – Preview & My Top 12

9 March 2023

When it was revealed that 2012 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Loreen, was competing in Melodifestivalen 2023, there was both excitement and trepidation as to not just the song that she’ll perform, also what it meant for the rest of the competition. With it placed in the fourth and final heat, and ultimately it was performed last, that portended a strong entry, and the chances of Melfest becoming a coronation more than a competition were looking a strong possibility. Now with the four heats and the second chance semi final complete, the final on 11 March 2023 really does look like Loreen is about to be crowned queen of Melfest again. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it does mean the remaining finalists are living somewhat in her shadow, and that’s sad, especially since there are some high quality entries this year.

Sweden: Melodifestivalen 2023 Final - Preview & My Top 12. Eurovision Song Contest.

The Heats and Semi Final

Over the four heats and the second chance semi final, there weren’t too many surprise eliminations. Victor Crone, who represented Estonia at Eurovision 2019 and reached the Melfest final in 2020, was eliminated in the semi final when finishing sixth. His entry, Diamonds, was solid enough. Probably too much Crone by the numbers. Seen it all before.

The one big surprise was Wiktoria, who competed in Melfest three times previously and qualified directly for the final each time, only finished fifth in heat 2 and so failed to even reach the semi final. While All My Life (Where Have You Been) was clearly not as good as her previous entries, to not even finish top four of seven for the second chance opportunity was a surprise.

Heat 2, along with heat 4, were the two strongest heats by far. The top four from heat 4 all reached the final, either directly (Loreen and Smash Into Pieces) or from the semi final (Kiana and Mariette), while Theoz in heat 2 found his way into the final via the semi final. Also in heat 2 were the duo, Tennessee Tears, who had this really powerful and uplifting country song, Now I Know. It only just missed the final when fifth in the semi final.

The Final

The playlist of My Top 12 in the Melodifestivalen Final

01 Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods – Where You Are (Savezan)
02 Tone Sekelius – Rhythm Of My Show
03 Mariette – One Day
04 Marcus & Martinus – Air
05 Panetoz – On My Way
06 Maria Sur – Never Give Up
07 Smash Into Pieces – Six Feet Under
08 Kiana – Where Did You Go
09 Nordman – Släpp alla sorger
10 Loreen – Tattoo
11 Theoz – Mer av dig
12 Paul Rey – Royals

Those in bold qualified for the final via the second chance semi final.

My Top 12

12 Paul Rey – Royals
11 Theoz – Mer av dig
10 Nordman – Släpp alla sorger
09 Tone Sekelius – Rhythm of My Show
08 Marcus & Martinus – Air
07 Panetoz – On My Way

Paul Rey gives us something royally formulaic, and no offence to Paul, he’s never been an interesting artist. Theoz is far more interesting, with a more catchy and energetic song, and will no doubt win plenty of hearts (and votes) from the Swedish teeny bopper brigade. Nordman has been around for as long as I can remember (mid 2000s) and the duo bring their usual folk-rock style. Their 2023 entry is probably the best of their three Melfest entries. It’s a catchy song and staged well.

Tone Sekelius made a splash last year with My Way; this year it’s only a ripple with Rhythm Of My Show. Sadly, when there’s a quick return by an artist, it’s hard not to make an instant comparison to their previous entry and then quickly move on when the comparison doesn’t engender those same emotions. It’s also a stronger year in 2023, which makes you forget it even more. Marcus & Martinus, or M&M, are Norwegian twin brothers that bring a decent trance/pop effort to the Melfest stage. It actually stood out in the heat, whereas, in the final, there’s just others to prefer. On My Way is another fun, party song by Panetoz that’s complete with their renowned infusion of various African sounds, hip-hop and a solitary white boy. It will get the crowd pumping.

06 Mariette – One Day

Mariette should have taken a longer break than she did, and only return when she found an absolutely classic song. This year will be her fifth attempt to win Melfest since 2015, with her 2023 entry unlikely to beat the third place of her debut year. It might even struggle to beat the tenth place of her most recent appearance in 2020, and therefore continue the downward trajectory of her results. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with One Day, there’s nothing overwhelming great about it either. It’s Mariette singing and performing a decent song to her usual high standard, and that’s really about it.

05 Kiana – Where Did You Go

Super voice, charismatic girl and a great song. That’s the combination that makes this the best of the dance entries in this year’s Melfest. Kiana is just 16 years old and was actually born in Perth, Australia, before moving to Sweden at the age of two. We won’t claim her yet… unless she somehow wins… and that will make it three Australian entries in this year’s Eurovision to add to Cyprus and Australia.

04 Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods – Where You Are (Savezan)

Jon Henrik Fjällgren has added DJ and producer, Arc North featuring Adam Woods, or is Adam Woods a separate addition? Who knows. Who cares! The song is the usual Sami-flavoured pop seen from Jon over the years, and the broader benefit of the other two is that they create more action and interest on the stage rather than exceeding musically any of Jon’s previous creations. Still good and infectious, and congratulations on the likely Melfest record for the most number of letters in an artist and song title combination.

03 Maria Sur – Never Give Up

An 18 year old Ukrainian refugee now living in Sweden with her mother, Maria Sur will obviously be a big story if she wins Melfest. A stellar voice, an empowering song, and delivered superbly. The ingredients are there, and she would be a very strong chance to win if not for another entry, especially when we know Sweden likes to promote a good story.

02 Loreen – Tattoo

The winner of Eurovision in 2012 with Euphoria, Loreen is back in 2023 after her failed attempt with Statements in 2017 (knocked out in the second chance round) with a song and performance that, on first impressions, looks clearly superior to anything else. While I’m not totally convinced about the song, it’s really the stage presentation that injects that wow effect. Evoking an alien world environment, the song pulsates as it and the stage effects build into a gigantic eruption. The song sort of rambles a bit by the end, lacks a quality bridge section, and Loreen’s vocals don’t quite have the power to fully deliver the crescendo. That’s picking at a few things, and when listening to the songs audio only. Overall, it’s obviously a stunning entry.

01 Smash Into Pieces – Six Feet Under

Where Loreen doesn’t completely hit the mark with vocals and song quality, Smash Into Pieces does. It also has a superb stage production with its cityscape appearance and lighting effects. Smash Into Pieces formed in 2008, released their first single the following year, and have produced seven albums since. With vibes of Blind Channel’s Dark Side two years ago for Finland, Six Feet Under is full of raw power and energy, and there’s so much variety to its structure. It really pounds, and pulsates, and pulverises! It’s the complete entry of this year’s Melodifestivalen.


Anything other than Loreen with Tattoo winning would be a monumental upset. It has all the hallmarks of a Eurovision winner, not just a Melodifestivalen winner. It’s a fan favourite, it’s the betting favourite, it’s almost everybody’s favourite! I actually prefer Tattoo much more to Euphoria, and you just can’t ignore that stage production. For the record, Marcus & Martinus are second favourite, then it’s Smash Into Pieces and Maria Sur, with Jon Henrik Fjällgren the only other one with even a long shot. At one stage I had M&M in my top 5 and they were good in the heat, so the top 5 consensus is really universal. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if Loreen can reach the Eurovision stage for the second time, or she gets smashed into pieces.

Watch the final of Melodifestivalen 2023 with English commentary here


One response to “Sweden: Melodifestivalen 2023 Final – Preview & My Top 12

  1. Pingback: Sweden: Loreen Wins Melodifestivalen 2023 With Tattoo – Review | Mr Eurovision Australia·

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