This weekend sees the start of the 61st edition of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen.
This year marks the end of an era with the competition’s producer Christer Bjorkman stepping aside after 20 years in charge of Sweden’s flagship entertainment program. Christer won’t be leaving quietly. Not only will he be producing this year’s competition; he will be the primary host throughout this year’s series of shows. Joined by a cavalcade of the show’s best loved stars.
The semi-finals would normally be held in different arenas around the country, however due to the COVID-19 situation engulfing the continent, all shows will be held at the Annexet in Stockholm and will be, sadly, staged without the ever-enthusiastic Swedish crowds.
Even with these unusual set of circumstances, the powerhouse that is Mello still promises to be one of the highlights of the National Final season and Semi Final 1 delivers a lot of acts that fans will be familiar with and excited by.
Below we preview the artists taking part, while their songs won't be available to see until the show itself.
1. Kadiatou – ‘One Touch’
Opening the show is Melodifestivalen debutant and Idol 2018 Runner-up Kadiatou. The 19-year-old from Stockholm won hearts in Sweden with her R&B sound and dynamic live performances. Her debut single was a cover of ‘Say Something’ by American duo A Great Big World. It peaked at No.39 on the Swedish charts.
2. Lillasyster – 'Pretender'
Gothenburg-based rockers Lillasyster formed in 2006 and have been a staple of the rock scene in Sweden since. Although renowned for the hard rock / heavy metal music, their biggest impact has come covering songs by pop artists Rihanna (Umbrella) and Katy Perry (Roar). The band makes their Melodifestivalen debut and will release their 5th studio album in 2021.
3. Jessica Andersson – 'Horizon'
Jessica needs no introduction to fans of Mello or Eurovision. 2021 marks Andersson’s 8th Melodifestivalen appearance and her first since 2018 when her song ‘Party Voice’ went to direct to the Final. Jessica has already graced the Eurovision stage as a member of Fame in 2003 and finishing in a creditable 5th place. She has had three Top 10 albums and a string of hits on the Swedish charts over the last 15 years.
4. Paul Rey – 'The Missing Piece'
Paul Rey returns to Melodifestivalen after finishing 6th in last year’s competition. His song ‘Talking In Your Sleep’ progressed to the Final via the Andra Chansen round and peaked at No.8 on the Swedish charts. The 28-year-old started his career in the United States being mentored by music industry legend Quincy Jones.
5. Arvingarna - 'Tänker inte alls gå hem'
The legendary Swedish dansband make their 6th Melodifestivalen appearance in 2021. They won the competition in 1993 with their song ‘Eloise’ and went on to finish 7th at the Eurovision Song Contest in Millstreet. Their 2019 Mello entry ‘I Do’ saw them reach Final and finish in 7th place and chart at No.6 on the Swedish charts.
6. Nathalie Brydolf – 'Fingerprints'
25-year-old Nathalie is the 2nd of our Idol 2018 alumni to make her Melodifestivalen debut in this Semi-Final. Nathalie’s soulful voice and charismatic performances saw her finish in 6th place in Idol and win plenty of admirers amongst the Swedish public and music industry.
7. Danny Saucedo – 'Dandi Dansa'
Already well-known to Melodifestivalen audiences, Saucedo has twice been runner up in 2011 to Eric Saade’s ‘Popular’ and again in 2012 to Loreen’s ‘Europhia’. He even came back to host the competition in 2013. Since emerging from the 2006 edition of Idol, the 34-year-old has forged a successful television and music career, including a long list of Swedish chart hits in the last few years.
You can tune into this weekend's first Melodifestivalen semi-final on Sunday morning 6:00am Australian Easter Daylight Saving time via https://www.svtplay.se/ or https://www.svtplay.se/genre/melodifestivalen