Another week, another elimination round and another set of results. All in all, the second elimination round of the Melody Festival was... disappointing. Not because the results were particularly upsetting, but because I felt fairly indifferent. The Melody Festival is suppose to make you feel happy, euphoric, chocked or even horrified, not offer as bland mixture of bland things. Let me elaborate.
Ulrik Munther: He was the first one out. It sounded better than I expected and his voice didn't sound as juvenile as I feared. The song was ok and he made a solid performance. I was pleasantly surprised, but nothing more. However, by the end of the night, after comparing him to the other contestants, he turned out to be one of my favorites. Am not sure if the Swedish public came to the same realization as I did and that's why he was sent directly to the finale, but he did finish as one of the night's winners.
Top Cats: I knew from the get go that I would have an issue with this. I'm not a big fan of rockabilly, especially when it's done with a cheesy flair. Unfortunately, for me, Top Cats delivered a humongous cheese fest. The thing is that I don't even remember the song and I can't say that my brain even registered the song while it was playing. The band members threw me off completely. I could not tear my focus away from their cheesy grins. However, rockabilly inspired music have had a very good track record in the Melody Festival and apparently they still do. The Second Chance just got a whole lot cheesier.
Sonja Aldén: Ever so beautiful Sonja. There is something regal, yet vulnerable about her and it makes her approachable and full of integrity. She sang a typical Sonja power ballad. The smoke machine and the wind machine was working overtime to create the perfect backdrop to her performance. Unfortunately, the magic of Sonja didn't reach my ears. Unfortunately a very boring song sang by a shaky voice was all I heard. Sonja might be beautiful but if you sing a bad song poorly in a music competition, there is no room for you. The public agreed, and she finished 6th in this elimination round.
Andreas Lundstedt: From one disappointment to another. If Andreas Lundstedt was an unknown artist, competing in the Melody Festival for the first time, it would have been a decent performance. But with his experience and background, I expected very much more. It all felt very flat. Sure, it looked good, but his voice was really weak and it felt like I've heard his song many times before. If you don't have anything new to offer, maybe you should reconsider your participation instead of participating every other year. Apparently, I wasn't the only one expecting more. Only one artist received less votes.
Timoteij: Not great, not bad, not offensive. They delivered exactly what was expected of them. They also ended up getting a Second Chance, which also was expected. The only remark I have is that they seem to have gone to the "Look-pretty-but-loose-your-personality-school" since they made their last appearance in the Melody Festival. Just because you are young and pretty doesn't mean you need to look and smile like a Barbie.
David Lindgren: This was the biggest surprise of the night. By no means surprisingly good, but I was expecting something along the lines of show tunes, given David Lindgren's musical theatre background. Instead I got club pop and synchronized dancing. He was charming enough and he can sing but the song was one of a dussin. I would have preferred a song where he could have used his technical singing abilities, but if he would have done that, he probably wouldn't have been as successful in the competition. The Swedish public liked him and his performance and sent him straight through to the finale.
Mimi Oh: Mimi Oh turned out to be this eliminations round's loser. Frankly, I don't understand why. Sure, her voice was questionable at times, but at least she had something to show. Her 80s inspired disco pop was a welcomed splash of color and she was the first one who made me smile. I did absolutely not agree that this was the worst of the night and I would have wanted to give her a second chance. But when it came down to it, I wasn't too upset to see her go.
Thomas Di Leva: Speaking of people who made me smile. This was the highlight of the night. By no means was this the best song and Thomas Di Leva is not a particularly good singer, but he was, hands down, the greatest artist. He brought life to this week's competition. This wonderful and eccentric weirdo would have made the finale much more colorful, but unfortunately he did not manage to convince the general public. But then he has never appealed to the broad masses, so why start now, after 30 years as a successful and unique artist. He did however receive more votes than both Sonja Aldén and Andreas Lundstedt, who are all about the main-stream.
As you might have noticed, I wasn't too impressed this week. I would have wanted to see Thomas Di Leva in the finale and I wish I wouldn't have to see Top Cats again. But I don't care enough to be fired up about it. But to leave you on a positive note, I found it very refreshing to see how well the new and not yet established artists are doing. For some time, the Melody Festival has been about who's singing, rather than what they're singing. In that sense, I welcome, virtually unknown Ulrik Munther and David Lindgren, to the finale.