Friday, February 15, 2013

Melody Festival 2013, part two

Another week, another show. Just as expected, this week evoked several emotions and encouraged several opinions. The results were mixed and I'm slowly realizing that my musical preference might not be aligned with the public opinion at all. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, let's start from the beginning.

Anton Ewald
Despite his short 19 years on this earth, this is the third year he participates in the Melody Festival. This singer/dancer/choreographer competed in 2009 and with two different performances last year. But back in the days, he did not take center stage, but participated as a dancer behind Velvet (2009), Danny Saucedo and Andreas Lundstedt (both 2012). This year he's competing with an upbeat, dance-hit, I'm sure will play all around Sweden this summer. Something about him reminded me of Jedwards. Since I don't mind Jedwards, I didn't mind Anton Ewald either. I can't say it's the best things that's ever graced the stage, but it wasn't too bad either. The public agreed and he will get a second chance to prove his worth. The only thing that annoyed me was the voice-box he used. I would have preferred to hear his natural voice.

Felicia Ohlsson
I'll just come out and say it. This was my favorite, by far. I thought she was gorgeous, she had the right look and she had a really soulful voice. What more could I have asked for? This 18 year old performed a powerful and straight forward love ballad. It wasn't butchered by too much wailing or deconstructed to be edgy. It was just solid. It reminded me of ballads from yesteryear (80s and 90s), specifically it reminded me of Sam Brown's Stop. I loved that song, so how could I not love this? Unfortunately, the Swedish public were not as convinced. She ended up finishing in 5th place. At least it's better than last week, when my favorite finished last.

Joacim Cans
If you've read my posts about the Melody Festival from previous years, you know I have no problems deducting several points just because I don't like the artist, regardless of if they do a good job or not, I deduct point just for them being them. So, why not give an artist extra points for the exact same reason? This was Joakim Cans debute as a solo artist. But his heavy metal band, Hammerfall, has been a international success since the 90s. I really, really like Hammerfall. I really, really wanted to like this. But I really, really dislike country rock. If it was any other artist, I would have had endless opinions about everything that was wrong, but this time, I'll just say that I might not have agreed with the public that this was the worst of the night, but I'm not about to contest the decision to eliminate him from the competition.

Swedish House Wives
To be honest, I was dreading this from the get go. Individually, I respect each of the three artists, Pernilla Wahlgren, Hanna Hedlund and Jenny Silver. Between them, they have participated in the Melody Festival eight times but this was their first collaboration. Even if all three of them are well established artist with successful careers, something about the combination screamed of desperation. And the artist name they chose did nothing to help their cause. I was expecting something hopelessly dated. It turned out to be somewhat better than anticipated. Instead of hopelessly dated, it was just dated. Catchy, yes. Forgettable, yes. Tiresome, most definitely. And an extra minus for the wardrobe. Despite the popularity of the artists, the Swedish public wasn't impressed either. They left the competition finishing 6th in this round.

Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli
My next favorite song this round. And this time, the general public and I agreed more, even if not completely. Erik Segerstedt has participated in the Swedish Melody Festival before, with the band E.M.D. In 2009, they finished in 3rd place. But he had his breakthrough when he competed in Swedish Idol 2006. His partner in crime, Tone Damli made herself a name through Norwegian Idol 2005. She was the runner up in the Norwegian Melody Festival 2009, where she lost to Alexander Rybak, who went on to win the entire Eurovision Song Contest the same year. Together, in this year's Melody Festival, Erik Segerstadt & Tone Damli performed a nice little number. It was friendly and inviting and it is actually one of the few songs from this weeks competition I can recall from memory. As I said, the public and I almost agreed. I would have wanted to send them directly to the finale, but I will have to settle for seeing them again in the Second Chance.

Louise Hoffsten
Amongst many things, Louise Hoffsten is a fighter. Since her first album released, in 1987, until now, she has fought her way to a very successful career, with several albums, awards, international successes and published books. And she continues to fight, in her battle against multiple sclerosis. An admirable artist indeed, and her performance in the Melody Festival was solid, grounded and professional, a performance only a seasoned artist can give. The Swedish public embraced her and will continue to walk along her side, all the way into the finale. On a personal note, this was not one of my favorites. But is has very little to do with Louise Hoffsten, it was everything to do with the genre of her music. It simply is not my cup of tea. I can honestly say, "it's not you, it's me".

Rikard Wolff
Mostly recognized for his acting, Rikard Wolff has been a staple in the Swedish culture since the beginning of the 90s. With a very distinct voice and en equally distinct image, he delivered just about what was expected of him. He's performance would have been quite ok, if he was a part of an ensemble, performing a musical. But he was not. This is the Melody Festival and you only get 3 minutes to tell your entire story. This number felt out of context. In my mind, he was on a stage as a sad clown sitting infront of his mirror, after a show, solemnly removing his make-up. Or a bum waking up behind a dumpster, in the middle of the night, gazing up at the stars while singing a melancholy song about something slightly positive. Again, could have worked in another setting, but not in the Melody Festival. The Swedish public agreed. He finished second to last.

Sean Banan
Just like Jack in the Box (not the Burger chain, but the actual toy), he pops up out of nowhere. Well, maybe not exactly out of nowhere, he did participate in last year's Melody Festival. And he did this year what he did last year, but with different lyrics. But still. When Sean Banan takes the stage, the energy in the room raises and the whole show feels invigorated. Is his music childish, juvenile and over the top. For sure. But was I entertained. Yes, I was. However, I was not as entertained as I was last year, so it was disappointing when he was voted directly through to the finale, something he didn't even accomplish last year. But what's done is done, and at least the finale will be more colorful now.

Tomorrow, Melody Festival 2013, part three, commences. An interesting line up awaits. I can hardly wait. Just looking at the names of this year's participating artists, I have high hopes for some of competitors tomorrow (especially one). So tune in again soon, and I'll let you know how it all went.

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