Half way done, half way to go. This week's elimination round will take place in Leksand and it promises to bring us the young, the old, the new and the established. Here's a short presentation of each artist. Remember that I haven't heard or know anything about the songs they will be performing on Saturday.
Youngblood: Talk about very young AND very new! This group was created last year and the four young men were handpicked by Melody Festival veteran composer, Fredrik Kempe. It's difficult to say how successful they will be, both because they are so new to the public and to each other, but also because the Melody Festival is already littered with young and good looking guys. Will there be room for more? I'm expecting a heavy dose of cheese, that's unfortunately not a good thing, as long as it's not served at the dinner table with a nice glass of wine.
Maria Benhajji: Each year the artists and songs competing in the Melody Festival are selected by a panel of experts. But for those artist and songwriters without an impressive resumé, there is another way to make yourself visible, the internet. Leading up to the Melody Festival, there is a web competition. Viewers can cast their votes and the song with most votes will be crowed the Web-joker of the year. This year, her name is Maria Benhajji. Although new as a solo artist, she as been singing as a backup singer to some very well known artist, such as Robyn. I can't seem to find any previous material of hers, so we will all have to wait until Saturday to hear her sing.
Mattias Andréasson: What would an elimination round be without a former Swedish Idol-contestant? This week, we will be watching Mattias Andreasson, who came 5th in Swedish Idol 2007. He is best know as one third of the boy-band EMD. It was also with EMD he came 3rd in the Melody Festival 2009. Now he's competing as a solo artist. I'm feeling a bit nervous, he should too. As a contestant in Swedish Idol he was almost forgettable. In EMD he was the weakest link, with the weakest look and voice. Maybe he will perform better singing solo? Doubtful...
http://youtu.be/xzdKywTGSNI (he's the first guy singing)
Love Generation: This is an all female group who competed in last year's Melody Festival, where they reached some success, ending their journey in the Second Chance. Curiously, this is the second group in this elimination round that has been created through carefully picking each one of the three individuals. But unlike Youngblood, they have performed together for almost two years. If they are as they were last year, they will be pretty mediocre. Or maybe they will have ignited something new, now when they have gone from four group members to three.
Carolina Wallin Pérez: Those who know her, know her for her heartfelt interpretation of the rockband Kent's songs. Her signature genre of music is pop and jazz. She has a crisp and delicate voice and I'm curious to see what she will deliver. Since she hasn't released her own music, it's difficult to know anything about what kind of music she will be performing and how well she will do on stage. Hopefully it will be something great.
Andreas Johnsson: Here is a man with an impressive resumé, in and out of the Melody Festival. He had his break through in 1999. His single "Glorious" topped several charts in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. It even made it onto the American Billboard. Since then he has competed in the Melody Festival four times, each time making his way to the finale. He has never won, but in 2007 he finished second. He is a solid performer and he always delivers a professional quality. I can't say he has the most exciting music, but it's usually ok. Unfortunately I like his music better than I like him, but I'll try not to hold it against him.
Molly Sandén: As sure as there is an former Swedish Idol contestant in each elimination round, is that there will be an Barbie-looking, fake-smiling, female artist to annoy me. This week her name is Molly Sandén. I haven't seen much of her since her last appearance in the Melody Festival 2009 and my fingers are crossed that she has matured into a better artist. Very doubtful, but please prove me wrong! I might not like her, but the Swedish public saw something in her in 2009 where she managed to make her way to the finale.
Björn Ranelid feat. Sara Li: Hm... either I can write a lot or there is not much to write about. Björn Ranelid is a multi-talented man. He is foremost known and acknowledged for his literary work. He has won several literary prices since 1983 and has since ventured into other areas in the entertainment business. I have no idea how he will do in the Melody Festival, I don't even know if he can sing. But to help him, he has recruited Sara Li. She is an avid stage performer and has been a part of different entertainment groups, but has never released any material of her own. This very unexpected duo has never worked together before and I fear the worst. I will be chocked if I end up liking this. I have no previous material to share, so let us share the surprise on Saturday.
What are my hopes and expectations on Saturday? I have none. I'm curious to know more about Maria Benhajji and Carolina Wallin Pérez. Else from that, I don't think I will care. The only thing I'm suspecting is that one or more of the artist will horrify me and that is always better than feeling completely indifferent.