Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen // Janne Danielsson
Melodifestivalen is back! The 2022 edition kicks off on Saturday, February 5th in Stockholm, with a host of returning acts and new faces taking to the stage for a chance to reach the final in March.
Two songs will go directly to the final, and two will go to the Semi-Final (formerly known as Andra Chansen), where they’ll perform again for a chance to get to the final.
The songs aren’t available to stream until after the heat (unless they go directly to the final, in which they’re uploaded after heat 4). Therefore, we’ll only know snippets of what the songs sound like prior to each show.
But who will be competing? Find out about the artists and songs below.
Malou Prytz – ‘Bananas’
Opening Melodifestivalen this year is Malou Prytz. If patterns of previous Melodifestivalen’s were to suggest anything, it’s that the songs that usually open are considered to be contenders. In 2021, one of Melfests most well-known artists, Danny Saucedo, opened with ‘Dandi Dansa’, and in 2020 eventual winners The Mamas were on first with ‘Move’ – therefore, Malou has a lot of pressure to live up to expectations.
However, it shouldn’t be an issue – she’s only 18 years old and yet has already got two previous Melfest entries to her name. In 2019, her song ‘I Do Me’ reached the final, and in 2020 ‘Ballerina’ reached Andra Chansen, losing to Paul Rey despite having more votes, purely due to how the voting system works.
‘Bananas’ is different to both her previous entries. Think Olivia Rodrigo – it’s classic teen pop, that’s all about breaking the rules. Malou is a very charismatic performer, and she carries this song incredibly well. Staging-wise, it’s pretty colourful, and a little like an upscaled version of what Mari Bølla had in Heat 3 of MGP. You can hear a snippet of Malou’s song by clicking here.
Theoz – ‘Som Du Vill’
Newcomer Theoz is Melodifestivalen’s youngest participant this year. At 16 years old, he’s already seen incredible success in music and acting. He’s been a prominent figure on social media ever since he was 12, and now has 2 million followers on TikTok. He already has a strong national and international fanbase and has previously played shows to sell-out crowds.
His young Swedish fanbase is sure to be on his side, and with the Melfest voting system splitting by age, it wouldn’t be a shock if younger viewers were drawn to ‘Som Du Vill‘.
You wouldn’t believe Theoz was a newcomer, as he performs ‘Som Du Vill’ with incredible energy and professionalism. His vocal is near perfect and doesn’t falter at all when he’s dancing. It’s accessible, with slick staging and a very catchy hook. It’s a classic Melodifestivalen audience pleaser and one that is likely to be heading to the final, even if it has to go through the semi-final first. You can hear part of Theoz’s song by clicking here.
Shirley Clamp – ‘Let There Be Angels’
Shirley Clamp is a Melodifestivalen veteran. This is her 7th entry into the contest as the lead performer, and 8th if you include the song she composed for Pandora in 2003. She has never won, but has achieved 2nd in 2004 with ‘Min kärlek‘, and 4th in 2005 with ‘Att älskar dig’. She has been to Eurovision however, providing backing vocals in 2001 for ‘Die For You’ by Antique. You may also recognise her as the host of Andra Chansen in 2021.
This year, she’ll be hoping ‘Let There Be Angels’ will win her the ticket to Turin. It builds to a great final chorus, and you cannot fault her vocal performance. Whether it will be able to hold its own amongst the other performers is sadly in doubt, but it’s still a great effort. You can hear a snippet of Shirley’s song here.
Omar Rudberg – ‘Moving Like That’
A pre-contest favourite, Omar Rudberg will be hoping to live up to expectations with ‘Moving Like That’. He first appeared in Melodifestivalen in 2017 when he was part of FO&O with Felix Sandman and Oscar Enestad. Their song ‘Gotta Thing About You’ came last in the final. In 2019, he came back solo with ‘Om Om Och Om Igen’, which didn’t make it out of the heat. This year, however, things are likely to be different.
In 2021, Omar appeared as one of the main characters in Netflix’s ‘Young Royals’. The show became extremely popular amongst viewers and has seen the casts followings skyrocket. Now, Omar has 1.3 million followers on Instagram and gets well over 100,000 likes per post. He’ll be hoping his Swedish fans give him support, and it’s no doubt they will.
‘Moving Like That’ is one of the few English songs in his discography, but it’s an excellent addition. It’s exactly what you’d expect from Omar – it has energy from the very first second, and it doesn’t drop at all throughout the performance. If there’s one thing he knows how to do, it’s dance, and he does a lot of that throughout this song. He’s also vocally very strong – impressive, considering how much he moves whilst singing. The song is nothing like either of his two entries, yet still feels authentically his. You can hear some of Omar’s song ‘Moving Like That’ here.
Danne Stråhed – ‘Hallabaloo’
Danne Stråhed is new to Melodifestivalen and has mainly seen success in southern Sweden over his career spanning almost 60 decades. He is best known for his 1993 song “När en flicka talar skånska“.
‘Hallabaloo’, whilst not being seen as a threat to qualify, is a welcome addition in the running order. Danne is clearly having a great time, and he can definitely be proud of his performance whatever happens. You can hear part of his song here.
Cornelia Jakobs – ‘Hold Me Closer’
Cornelia Jakobs is another artist making her debut (as a soloist). She used to be a member of girl group Love Generation, who took part in Melodifestivalen in the early 2010s. She’s been dreaming of becoming a musician since the age of 7, and it’s something she’s achieved. She’s currently in the process of creating her debut album, with songs she herself has written.
‘Hold Me Closer’ begins pretty intimately, and the staging is kept simple throughout, but she commands the performance well so she doesn’t seem lost. Her song builds up to the last chorus, which manages to convey the emotion and power perfectly. You have to really listen to the lyrics on this one, as they’re beautifully written – you can tell Cornelia herself had input in the writing and it makes the song feel all the more personal. You can hear part of her song here.
Robin Bengtsson – ‘Innocent Love’
Robin Bengtsson needs no introduction. If you’ve watched Melodifestivalen in the last 6 years, or watched Eurovision 2017, you’ll know who he is. He is one of the most successful Melodifestivalen contestants of the last decade – if he gets through, he’ll have made it 4 straight qualifications to the final. In 2016, ‘Constellation Prize’ came 5th, In 2017 he won with ‘I Can’t Go On’, and in 2020 ‘Take A Chance’ placed 8th. He’ll be hoping this year will bring him similar success.
‘Innocent Love’ also has a successful writing team. One of the writers is Victor Crone, who won Eesti Laul in 2019 and placed 20th in the Eurovision final with ‘Storm‘. Victor has also appeared in Melodifestivalen – in 2015, he featured on the Behrang Miri song ‘Det rår vi inte för’, which reached Andra Chansen, and in 2020 with ‘Troubled Waters’, coming 9th in the final. Back in Estonia, he also has another song competing – ‘Interstellar’ by Stig Rästa.
Robin’s song is, if it was to be compared to any of his past entries, probably closest to ‘I Can’t Go On’. It’s anthemic, and will definitely benefit from having an audience present. He once again has great vocals, and they continue even with the key change. It’s catchy and stronger than his 2020 effort. No doubt this will be a contender for the final. You can hear part of ‘Innocent Love’ here.
What changes have been made to the Melodifestivalen format?
Firstly, the way voting works has been modified. As mentioned in Aftonbladet, the winner will be announced after the first round of votes. Then, the vote will open again. The age-group vote will then be used to decide the second finalist, and the two runners up will enter semi-final 5. There will be no winners reprise for either artist that goes directly to the final.
Semi-Final is also “new”. Previously, the 8 songs that qualified to Andra Chansen would compete in 4 duels, with the winner of each going to the final. Now, there will only be two duels consisting of four songs. Two songs from each duel will then reach the final.
Melodifestivalen will be streamed live at 8pm CET/7pm GMT on SVT.
Which songs are you excited to hear in full? Have you already got a favourite? Be sure to let us know!