Melfest 2017 Kicks Off in Gothenburg

Selection season for Sweden started Saturday with the first heat of the annual Melodifestivalen competition. Let the pop music battle royale begin!

The competing acts in the first heat of Sweden's Melodifestivalen 2017. (Photo: SVT) The competing acts in the first heat of Sweden's Melodifestivalen 2017. (Photo: SVT)

Sweden’s Melodifestivalen (aka Melfest) began Saturday with the first of four preliminary heats. Round one took place in Gothenburg with the following seven acts performing:

  1. Boris Rene – “Her Kiss”
  2. Adrijana – “Amare”
  3. Dinah Nah – “One More Night”
  4. De Vet Du – “Road Trip”
  5. Charlotte Perrelli – “Mitt Liv”
  6. Ace Wilder – “Wild Child”
  7. Nano – “Hold On”

After the seven acts performed, the first two eliminated based on public voting were Adrijana and Charlotte Perrelli. “Amare” could be a good club hit, but it might trend too close to Iggy Azalea’s style to be attractive to a wider audience. Despite representing Sweden at Eurovision twice (and winning the first of those two times), Perrelli’s ballad got lost in the power pop shuffle of Saturday’s show.

In the second round of voting, Nano earned the first slot in the Melfest finals with “Hold On.” While the vocals fall into the white blues/soul category, the instrumentation has electronic dance patterns. The camerawork uses a lot of tricks from last year’s entry “Human” from Oscar Zia, which might not be helpful for the overall success of this song.

Also borrowing a lot from last year is Melfest veteran Ace Wilder, who earned the second final slot. “Wild Child” is a typical Ace Wilder song, with lots of layered vocals and shouting at the audience that would be annoying if it weren’t so darn infectious. The floor and stage graphics seem to be pulling from the surplus heap from Sweden hosting Eurovision last year, including using the same collapsing cliff image from Latvia’s performance. This isn’t my favorite song, but I’m not surprise that it advanced.

The two songs advancing to the Andra Chansen round in four weeks belong to Boris Rene and De Vet Du. “Her Kiss” is a more straightforward song than Boris Rene’s entry last year and he has stepped up his stage performance skills. I’m a fan. Meanwhile, this year’s beefcake band De Vet Du has a rather boring VW ad of a performance for “Road Trip.” If someone doesn’t make a few fan videos mashing up this song and scenes from FFXV, I will be disappointed. That means Dinah Nah’s “One More Night” has also been eliminated from the competition. Her song would have been current in 2009, but it felt dated and cliched among this year’s crowd.

Next week Melfest moves to Malmö and features the return of Mariette, Roger Pontare, and Lisa Ajax to the competition.

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