Melody Club: This band formed in 2000 and have had some major radio-successes. Their sound is heavily inspired by synth-pop and glam-rock. There is a retro feel around them, while their sound is still unmistakably modern. I expect their performance to be solid and interesting. I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of their sound, but I'm certain it will be refreshing and that they will bring some originality and quality to the table. But that might also be their downfall. This far in the competition, being generic seems to to be the way to success.
Julia Alvgard: This is the second "web-joker" in the competition. She and Jonas Matsson (from elimination round 1) won their spots in this year's Melody Festival after gaining most votes on the Melody Festival's official website. Being totally unknown there is not much published information about her. Due to the way she earned her spot in the competition, I have heard her song once before. I don't remember it, not even a little bit. So, apparently she was not very memorable. However, I did find some of her music on Youtube. Regardless of what she will perform, there is always reason to be a bit worried when artists have as limited experience as she has. Hopefully she will prove me wrong.
Lasse Stefanz: ...and the winner is... Actually I will not be too surprised if Lasse Stefanz ends up doing great on Saturday, but believe you me, I'm not saying it because I like them, I'm pretty sure I will hate it, or, at least, very much dislike it! Lasse Stefanz is a Swedish country-styled band. They have been around for ages (specifically since 1967). I will give them this much, they have been immensely successful the past three decades. They have sold many times platinum and received countless awards. One of their greatest hits was on the Swedish Hit-list for 65 weeks straight! So yes, they have their fan-base and no, not everyone voting is under 40, so my guess is that they will advance beyond this round.
Linda Pritchard: Yet another Idol alumni. She participated in 2008, but unlike many of her fellow Idol-contestants, she actually didn't make it to the final stage of the competition, she only made it to the qualification round. However, she has done some impressive gigs. As a back-up singer and dancer she has worked with Swedish Artists like Magnus Uggla, Velvet and Ace of Base. She has also been back-up singer to Celine Dion. And this will not be her first time in the Melody Festival. She competed last year with the song "Your Making Me Hot, Hot, Hot". She did not qualify from her elimination round. She has a cool voice and I'm looking forward to see what she will bring on Saturday.
Anders Fernette: Ok, so this guy didn't compete in Swedish Idol, but he did however compete in one of the predecessors, Fame Factory, in 2003. Actually, he won it! Back then he was Anders Johansson and I didn't realize it was him until this very moment, when writing about it. So, in 2003, I really liked him and loved his hits "If it's all I ever do" and "Without you"... a wave of nostalgia is washing over me... After his initial success, he took some time off to start a family. In 2008 he returned to the limelight and has had a few successful singles since then. However, I don't appreciate what he came back as. He's always been a bit cheesy but now he's "club-cheesy". He totally butchered "Hungry Eyes" (from Dirty Dancing) last year. However the general public loved it so he might do ok on Saturday. For old times sake, I'm choosing to show two of his old songs.
Linda Bengtzing: What can I say? I've sang, danced and partied to her previous contributions in the Melody Festival. Linda Bengtzing is crazy energetic and has great charisma. She actually had her breakthrough in Fame Factory. Some might remember her from tv game-shows but everybody knows her from the Melody Festivals of 2005, 2006 and 2008. She has always made her way to the finale and her best result has been 5th place. Her songs has always been in Swedish, her sound is very traditional Eurovision and it's always catchy and upbeat. I know I will like it and sing to it in the future, but I already know I won't be ruling for her to go to Eurovision. However, I hope and believe she will end up in the finale.
Nicke Borg: If you would ask people on the streets if they know who "Nicke Borg" is, most of them would answer "no". However, if you ask them about "Backyard Babies" they would at least say it sounds very familiar. Backyard Babies formed in 1987. In the beginning their music was very much influenced by glam-rock and sleaze rock. Over the years they have dabbled with punk, hardcore and rock n' roll. They made it fairly big in Sweden as well as internationally, e.g. you can play one of their tracks, "Minus Celsius", on "Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock". Given Nicke Borg's background I'm hoping and expecting a good rock performance on Saturday. There has always been one or two rock songs in the previous competitions and this year's contribution has the potential to really, really good!
So, what do I expect..? I'm absolutely most intrigued by Melody Club and Nicke Borg. The oppressed Eurovision geek in me is looking forward to see Linda Bengtzing. Both Anders Fernette and Linda Pritchard might surprise me. I'm dreading to see Lasse Stefanz. My prediction is that Linda Bengtzing will make it to the finale and Lasse Stefanz will survive this elimination round.
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