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  • Writer's pictureMike Jones

Melodifestivalen: The best semi-final entries not to advance

With the start of five weeks of Melodifestivalen semi-finals starting tomorrow, we wanted to celebrate the quality songs that don't leave this stage of the competition.

After each semi-final, two advance to the final, two go through to Andra Chansen (the second chance round) while three songs remain never to be seen again.

But with the quality of Mello songs, we know there are some gems. We got members of the Aussievision team to nominate their favourite entry not to make in past the semi-finals:

Emma: 'Running with Lions' - Alice

Running with Lions’ was 25-year-old Alice Svensson’s debut Melfest entry in 2017. Her charismatic performance showed a love for the song with a beaming smile on her face throughout the performance.

Alice looked amazing in her beautiful silvery/blue thigh split ball dress accompanied by a dazzling light show and the obligatory wind machine!

After her performance I really thought she had a chance to make it through to Andra Chansen, however it was always going to be tough as she was up against the likes of former Eurovision winner Loreen and Melfest veterans Wiktoria and Jon Henrik Fjallgren. Sadly she missed out on progressing to Andra Chansen by a mere 0.17%, narrowly beaten out of fourth place by Axel Schylstrom.

On re-watching her performance, I feel some dancers and perhaps a more contemporary outfit may have suited the style of the song better but nevertheless she did a wonderful job and I hope we get to see her again at Melfest one day.

Mike: Kamferdrops – 'Solen lever kvar hos dig'

Kampferdrops was always an intriguing choice of artist for Melodifestivalen 2018 and she brought her unique brand to the stage in spades. ‘Solen lever kvar hos dig’ is a charming little song that perhaps lacks the impact required for success in such a competition. However it was the staging choices were the Norwegian singer made the real impression.

Something akin to camp and quirky magic show, The performance included her disappearing behind props and reappearing on different parts of the stage and in the crowd, her singing while detached from her body, and saxophone solo with a dangerous-looking blaze of sparks emanating from it. It all ends with singer being joined on stage by four other incarnations of herself. To this day I’m never quite sure if or when Kampferdrops was actually on stage.

Kyriakos: 'Cry' - Dotter

The song is absolutely amazing!! 'Cry' is emotional, it takes you places, and I totally get why her Melfest performance was very pared back and simple, to allow the emotion of her performance to shine, along with some 'Euphoria' staging feels, which don't hurt. I think the song was ahead of its time! She was ROBBED!!!! Laura: 'Snurra min jord' - Krista Siegfrids

This song had me convinced that 'Snurra min jord' was Swedish for "snatch my wig" because that's exactly what Krista Siegfrids did. The performance of 'Snurra min jord' was flawless, the choreography was on point, the tune is a bop, the Kristaleidoscope is awesome and those whistles still get stuck in my head to this day. HOW did this not qualify? Ok I'm not that good at Swedish, so I looked up the translation of the lyrics and they make her sound like a Stage 5 clinger, so that might have been why, but I still stand by my love for this song and that Sweden unjustly robbed her (and this wasn't the only time either). I mean come on, that did NOT deserve last place in the semi! Justice for Krista!

Cooper: 'I Love It' - Oscar

Many countries would've loved to have an entry has good as 'I Love It' representing them at Eurovision. 'I Love It' has everything to be a perfect Eurovision pop number; incredible staging, extremely catchy hook, easy to sing along too. For me, I thought it was a clear qualifier to the second chance round or even direct to final. But alas, it placed last in its semi-final.

I definitely believe a part of the reason Sweden didn't take to the song is to do with its lyrical content. Oscar, who was 21 at the time sings about his relationship with Cecilia Dahlbom who is twenty-nine years older than him. This public relationship wasn't very well liked in Sweden, so writing a song about it may not have been his best move. Two years on, I still play this song regularly and remains one of my favourite Melodifestivalen entries of all time.

Steve: 'The Girl' - Charlotte Perrelli

'The Girl' is everything you'd expect from a Charlotte Perrelli Melodifestivalen banger: a high-octane dancefloor filler with upbeat lyrics performed with gusto with the ever-smiling, once more iconically-dressed Ms Perrelli. Whilst it's no 'Take Me To Your Heaven' (one of my all-time favourite Eurovision winners), I'm a little surprised it managed only fifth place in 2012, missing out on the Andra Chansen round by only some 3,000 votes. Play this at a future OGAE Australia event or EuroClub, and I'll be there strutting my stuff.

Ford: 'Somebody Wants' - The Lovers of Valdaro

How this song failed to make it past the semifinal stage is beyond me. The song was beautiful and catchy, the costumes and the staging were interesting and futuristic, and it was a fan favourite to win. The song really struck a chord with me, and when watching the performance at university, it led some of the people sitting around me waiting for class to show an interest in it, and allowed me a chance to tell them of my unending love for the Swedish singing competition Melodifestivalen. I would have been incredibly excited if this song had made it all the way to final and then to the Eurovision stage, and I would very much like for the Lovers of Valdaro to return to the Melodifestivalen stage in the future.

Dale: Sonja Aldén – 'Sluta aldrig gå'

This is such a beautiful Swedish ballad sung by a four-time Melfest legend. I really enjoyed it during last year's shows but will admit Mike playing it many times since really grew my appreciation for it. It does have a throwback quality, (it does sound like it could have been 3rd at Eurovision in 1997), but a performer of Sonja's maturity is needed for such a song of hope after or during difficult times. She sings (English translation):

"Never stop walking / Dare to trust / They will lead to the end / Oh you it might take a while / Before the light came on / Before it leads all the way out"

I believe every word she says and this song needs to be appreciated much more! She finished 5th in a tough semi-final in 2020 behind The Mamas, Robin Bengtsson, Malou Prytz and Felix Sandman

Josh: Margaret - 'Tempo'

Margaret knew she was onto a winning formula when she recorded her pitch perfect Scandinavian pop song Tempo. Yes, it might be sugary sweet and devoid of lyrical genius, but this song does everything that you should expect of it and more. I find it to be the perfect saccharine pop treat that Margaret seems to be the professional server to us ever since 2016.

She didn’t progress past the semi finals in a huge upset - in my mind at least. This song deserved so much more. Pristine high pitched vocals and a catchy hook that while not showcasing anything particularly unique, show that she has an adequate voice and an increasing stage presence. I believe that Margaret has the developing charisma to finally reach her true potential in years to come.I await the day that she performs at the stage of a Eurovision Final. Until then, she will forever be an unsung Eurovision goddess, along with the likes of Ace Wilder and Dotter.

So which entries will join the long list of quality Swedish songs not to advance? Tune in to Melodifestivalen tomorrow from 6:00am AEDT via


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