Sweden: Loreen Wins Melodifestivalen 2023 With Tattoo – Review

12 March 2023

Melodifestivalen 2023 always looked like it would be a coronation, not a contest, for Loreen and her powerful song, Tattoo, and so it proved. Loreen was crowned the winner after she dominated both the jury vote and the public vote to win by 39 points over Marcus & Martinus (Air), with Smash Into Pieces (Six Feet Under) a further 26 points back in third. It will be Loreen’s second visit to the Eurovision Song Contest, after winning with Euphoria in 2012. If she wins in Liverpool in May, she’ll be only the second artist to win twice after Ireland’s Johnny Logan won in 1980 and 1987.

Loreen wins Melodifestivalen 2023 with Tattoo - Review - Sweden - Eurovision Song Contest
Loreen wins Melodifestivalen 2023 with Tattoo – Image: SVT / Alma Bengtsson


01 Loreen – Tattoo – 177 (92/85)
02 Marcus & Martinus – Air – 138 (71/67)
03 Smash Into Pieces – Six Feet Under – 112 (53/59)
04 Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods – Where You Are (Savezan) – 81 (23/58)
05 Theoz – Mer av dig – 78 (42/36)
06 Kiana – Where Did You Go – 76 (37/39)
07 Paul Rey – Royals – 57 (56/1)
08 Mariette – One Day – 51 (35/16)
09 Maria Sur – Never Give Up – 47 (10/37)
10 Panetoz – On My Way – 47 (22/25)
11 Nordman – Släpp alla sorger – 44 (8/36)
12 Tone Sekelius – Rhythm Of My Show – 20 (15/5)

Loreen was awarded 12 points from all eight juries except the Croatian one. They were the first to present their points, and that was probably designed to give some faint hope of mystery to the outcome. Loreen received only 8 points, with Theoz gaining the 12 and Paul Rey the 10. From then on it was a procession as Loreen finished with 92 points, with the only surprise was Paul Rey continuing to perform well. He finished third with 56 points, and not far behind Marcus & Martinus in second with 71.

As is common with these international juries, they can be a problematic lot, notably voting for the more derivative English language pop songs over those involving local language and culture, and here was the case in point. While Paul Rey did well, Nordman was their last place with Jon Henrik Fjällgren only eighth. Once the jury votes were all revealed, the English-language commentators then ironically reminded viewers that if you don’t like the jury vote, vote now. That you can “correct” any potential problems from the international jury not only nullifies their purpose to a degree, it could even have resulted in Rey’s solitary one point as the Swedish public figured he won enough votes already. Conversely, they boosted Fjällgren quite substantially following his low votes from the jury.


The general feel of the Melodifestivalen 2023 Final was that it was a bit flat. There were so many uptempo and party songs that much of it became a blur. Few could really stand out beyond each other, much less from a prevailing sense of mediocrity. Perhaps, individually, among a diverse crowd, some would have presented better. Otherwise it was all much the same.

01 Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods – Where You Are (Savezan) (4th)

Yes, this is officially the longest artist name in Melfest history. The Sami influence obviously made this one a bit more interesting and unique, except for the vocalist, presumably that’s Adam Woods, as his voice was as banal as a street sign. I’m not sure what the “featuring” part of the act really means. It would like be a boat featuring a leak. 6/10

02 Tone Sekelius – Rhythm Of My Show (12th)

This simply wasn’t in the same galaxy as Tone’s engaging entry last year, and while it’s not bad (it’s actually quite pleasant), in this sea of banality, someone had to wash up onto the beach, and Tone was it. 5/10

03 Mariette – One Day (8th)

What do I say? What do I say? What do I say? I say Mariette was one of the few artists to improve on their heat, as she really injected great energy into this performance. She was always accomplished in that regard; she just needs to find a really, really good song if she ever hopes to win Melfest. Eighth overall would have been below expectations for Mariette, and the Swedish public only rating her tenth was demoralising. Just 16 points from them, and still way off her best place of third in her debut year of 2015. An interesting titbit was Mariette competed against her former flame, Melanie Wehbe, in the semi final in which Mariette squeaked into the final and Melanie finished seventh of eight. Apparently they still get along, and I appreciated Mariette wearing a female symbol earring during the introduction interview. 7/10

04 Marcus & Martinus – Air (2nd)

It lacked air. No surprise these Norwegian twin pretty boys finished second, as they were always popular, and I even had them in my initial top 5 following the heats. Then watching it again, what little air that this song contained was quickly sucked out, leaving it fairly mundane stuff with some fancy lights and stale Backstreet Boys dance moves. 5/10

05 Panetoz – On My Way (10th)

Another entry that lost its gloss a little, and it always leaned to being a bit too repetitive. Still fun and the boys delivered an energetic performance. 6/10

06 Maria Sur – Never Give Up (9th)

Clearly the voters gave up on Maria. Second last with the jury and sixth with the Swedish public for ninth overall. Super vocals and a dramatic ending wasn’t enough to compensate for a rather simplistic song. She got her big moment on the Melfest stage and it will be an enduring memory, even if it comes from the sad reality of living as a refugee Sweden with her mother due to the ludicrous war in Ukraine. 7/10

07 Smash Into Pieces – Six Feet Under (3rd)

Måneskin winning Eurovision for Italy in 2021 is what inspired these rockers to enter Melfest. It’s a shame it had to be a year that contained an entry like Loreen’s, as Sweden sending a rock song to Eurovision would be a treat and a different dynamic. That’s especially for something of this quality, as I’m not thinking of the trashy The Ark in 2007. Smash Into Pieces did nothing wrong, reprising their powerful performance from the heats. Third place is good encouragement for other bands to try. 8/10

08 Kiana – Where Did You Go (6th)

Easily the nicest voice this year and with effortless vocals. A bubbly girl and performance, she was hampered from being a major threat due to the simplistic nature of this song, even if its arrangement was strong. 7/10

09 Nordman – Släpp alla sorger (11th)

The bird effects were great, and it was an entertaining song, especially with its folk influences. It’s just that two stiff, older geezers mostly standing around in smoke will never make it beyond novelty status. 6/10

10 Loreen – Tattoo (1st)

This is the one song that did improve from the heat, and let’s say that melody hook is fast becoming tattooed on my brain. Despite seeing the performance several times, the staging is still mesmerising. Too much smoke was added for this particular performance, which obscured Loreen a couple of times and broke moment, and it will be curious if Eurovision allows the extended time to set up the stage as was required at Melfest. The limit is meant to be 45 seconds, albeit that could be extended if Sweden performs following a green room break. Beyond any of that, Tattoo was clearly the entry that stood out most this year. 9/10

11 Theoz – Mer av dig (4th)

From Loreen, you’re really on a downhill trajectory and credit to Theoz, or “The Oz” is how I was reading many of the “THEOZ” signs, for keeping it to a slight downhill gradient. Like many of the other uptempo entries, the energy just couldn’t overcome the repetition, and no doubt his pretty boy status was a big part of finishing fourth. 6/10

12 Paul Rey – Royals (7th)

As much as the background graphics were cute and Paul Rey performed well, this was a derivative plodder to finish the show. The crazy points from the jury can only be explained as they forgot much of everything that came before Loreen. The single point from the public was obviously harsh. As stated earlier, part of it was probably a response to the high points from the jury, and the rest were prioritised to direct competitors like M&M and Theoz. 5/10

The average score of 6.4 represents another very good Melodifestivalen. It scored 6.5 last year and 6.1 the previous two years. It compares well to the other two national finals I reviewed this year, being the 7.1 for Finland’s UMK and the 6.7 for Estonia’s Eesti Laul. UMK is aided by containing only seven songs, so they can keep the selection diverse and at a high quality, while Eesti Laul featured two songs that scored nine out of 10. None of the three national finals contained any weak songs to drag down the score. Where Melfest did suffer is there were just too many songs that were too similar to each other, so made it difficult for more than a couple to stand out.

My Top 12

12 Paul Rey – Royals (-)
11 Tone Sekelius – Rhythm Of My Show (-2)
10 Marcus & Martinus – Air (-2)
09 Theoz – Mer av dig (+2)
08 Panetoz – On My Way (-1)
07 Nordman – Släpp alla sorger (+3)
06 Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North feat. Adam Woods – Where You Are (Savezan) (-2)
05 Mariette – One Day (+1)
04 Maria Sur – Never Give Up (-1)
03 Kiana – Where Did You Go (+2)
02 Smash Into Pieces – Six Feet Under (-1)
01 Loreen – Tattoo (+1)

Quite a few little changes from my preview, with the most notable the top two switching places and Kiana jumping two spots to third. At the lower end, Nordman made the biggest jump due to it being different. Mostly, it was quite even between many of the songs, and watching the final a further few times would probably produce further variations.

As we head to Liverpool for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest and Sweden already at short odds to win, the question now is does Eurovision follow Melfest and become a coronation, not a contest, for Loreen. That resentment is already building, and it would follow last year’s situation when Ukraine easily won based on an overwhelming sympathy vote. Of course, the big difference will be, if Loreen does win, it would be due to music and this obviously excellent entry. Other than missing a potentially exciting finish to the voting, there can be no complaints about that.

Sweden: Melodifestivalen 2023 Final – Preview & My Top 12


4 responses to “Sweden: Loreen Wins Melodifestivalen 2023 With Tattoo – Review

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