Image Credit: Melodifestivalen // SVT // Janme Danielsson
This week, Melodifestivalen returns to our screens for it’s second heat of 2023!
Last week saw Tone Sekelius and Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North & Adam Woods make it directly to the final, whilst Elov & Beny and Victor Crone will head to the semi-final for a second chance.
Saturday will see another seven artists take to the stage, all hoping for a place in the final. But who will make it?
Let’s meet the competitors taking part in Melodifestivalen 2023 Heat 2!
Wiktoria – ‘All My Life (Where Have You Been)’
Kicking off the second heat we have returnee Wiktoria. She’s no stranger to Melodifestivalen – going directly to the final in 2016, 2017 and 2019, whilst being a fan favourite in each year. Born in Brämhult in Borås Municipality, Västra Götland in 1996, her career in music started when she took part in Lilla Melodifestivalen back in 2011, coming 4th with ‘Jag behöver dig’. 5 years later, she entered the adult Melodifestivalen with her debut single ‘Save Me’ – her best result to date, which also came 4th. ‘As I Lay Me Down’ (2017) and ‘Not With Me’ both came 6th in their respective years.
This year, Wiktoria’s stepping away from that country-pop sound viewers have come to know and love, going full pure pop on her entry ‘All My Life (Where Have You Been)’, which is much more in-keeping with her current style, most recently displayed on her debut album ‘EXPOSED’ in 2021. The song is written by Wiktoria herself, and the team behind The Mama’s 2020 winning entry ‘Move’ – Herman Gardarfve, Melanie Wehbe (who will compete as an artist in heat 3) and Patrik Jean (Melfest 2021 – ‘Tears Run Dry’). This is what she had to say about her song:
The best thing that’s happened since I was there [Melodifestivalen] last time is that I’ve fallen in love, and that’s what the song is about. It’s a very happy and warm song. Viewers can expect a real show filled with dancing and joy. I’ve probably never been this excited about being involved.Wiktoria, Mellopedia
You can hear part of Wiktoria’s entry here.
Eden – ‘Comfortable’
Note: Eden is Bigender, and uses both he & she pronouns – telling QX: ‘Bigender stands for two genders, both girl and boy. So I prefer both she and he as pronouns. You can simply mix both’. See interview with QX for more (in Swedish)
22 year-old Eden hails from Skåne and lives in Bromma. She made her musical debut back in 2019, appearing on Idol in the same year and making it to the final top 20. Ahead of this years contest, Eden told QX that competing in Melfest is ‘a dream come true’, and that despite competing in the same heat as Wiktoria, Panetoz and Theoz, the competitive aspect wasn’t important – it’s all about the opportunity.
Eden’s music is written from personal experiences and emotions, which he touched on when explaining why ‘Comfortable’ will be in English, believing that songs are more about the feeling than the language they’re in.
I wrote the song with some great people this summer. It’s a very calm song with a lot of emotion, a little sad. The number will also be very stripped down and calm.Eden, Mellopedia
You can hear part of Eden’s entry here.
Uje Brandelius – ‘Grytan’
Born and raised in Gävle but now living in Stockholm with his family, Uje Brandelius has been making music for coming up to 30 years, beginning as a singer & songwriter in the 1990s for the band Doctor Kosmos, before moving on to solo work in 2007. In 2015 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which inspired him to create the stage play ‘Spring Uje, Spring’ (Run, Uje Run), which then became a radio drama and film. This won him best screenplay and best male lead in the Guldbaggegalen Awards in 2021, with the film winning the award for Best Swedish Film. He’s a children’s author and radio presenter outside of music, but will return to the stage at Melodifestivalen 2023.
Uje will present the song ‘Grytan’ which is set to be something definitely marketed towards some of the older Swedish audience. He described his song by saying:
My contribution is called ‘Grytan’, and it’s about […] food and conflict management, and love. The audience can expect a pompous ballad … well, quite pompous. […] But it is most beautiful. The lyrics are a little more important than the music, although the music is very nice. What I’m looking forward to the most is getting to sing my song, and then going home and watching the final!Uje Brandelius, Mellopedia
You can hear part of Uje’s song here.
Panetoz – ‘On My Way’
Guess who’s back! After 7 years away from Melodifestivalen, Panetoz are ready to take to the stage for the third time. Long-term Melfest viewers may recognise them from the contest in 2014 with ‘Efter Solsken’, which came 9th, or 2016 with ‘Håll om mig hårt’, which came 8th. The group formed as a trio in 2001, and in 2008 put themselves forward for Hitmakers, but opted not to sign with a record label after the shows offer from the Danish label fell through, seeing the band go independent for future releases. Their single ‘Dansa Pausa’ reached the top of the charts in 2009, and their popularity in Sweden has remained ever since.
Panetoz are made up off members Pa Modou Badjie, Nebeyu Baheru, Johan Hirvi, Daniel Nzinga and Njol Ismail Badjie.
The group are also linked to Vänga Ut, a multicultural music project based in Haninge and Stockholm, which encourages young people to increase their self esteem, reduce juvenile delinquency and create music in a supervised studio.
‘On My Way’ isn’t in English despite what the title suggests – it’s a classic Panetoz song, a great track you can dance to. They’re definitely back with a bang, and their fans will be excited to hear this song in the lineup – especially with this weeks running order. Written by the same team behind 2020’s ‘Piga och dräng’ by Drängarna, we can expect an energetic performance.
It’s a really cool love song, community song and party song with a Panetoz vibe. (Nebeyu)
Viewers can expect party, dance, joy, color… (Daniel)
And especially community in the love party that only we can create together. We want to party with you, and hopefully it will last all the way to Eurovision. We are on our way. (Pa Modou)Panetoz, Mellopedia
You can hear part of their song here.
Tennessee Tears – ‘Now I Know’
Jonas Hermansson and Tilda Feuk are the pair behind Tennesse Tears, beginning in Nashville 8 years ago. They’re currently based in Åseda, but still travel back to Nashville to create music and work with some of the biggest names behind hits from other country music artists such as Keith Urban and Lady A.
Their entry therefore, unsurprisingly, is a country song, written by the duo alongside Thomas Stengaard, who wrote ‘The End’ for Angellino in 2022, and frequent Melodifestivalen writer Anderz Wrethov. They had this to say about their entry ‘Now I Know’:
I hope we will be able to put on one hell of a show with this song. I love it. (Tilda)
We’re doing country music, so we always try to put quite a lot into the lyrics of our songs. This is a song that tells a story, and we hope you feel something, as we do. (Jonas)Tennesse Tears, Mellopedia
You can hear part of their song here.
Maria Sur – ‘Never Give Up’
18 year-old Ukrainian singer Maria Sur is originally from Запоріжжя (Zaporizhzhia) in Ukraine, and fled to Sweden with her mother to live with her aunt after the on-going Russian invasion began in 2022. At the time, she was taking part in The Voice Ukraine. When she got to Sweden, she caught the attention of Sarah Dawn Finer, who recommended her to perform at the Hela Sverige Skramlar gala. She sang ‘Survivor’ by Destiny’s Child, and was signed to a Swedish label allowing her to begin her professional career. Maria studies at a music school in Stockholm, and is doing a course provided by the University of Arts in Kyiv.
This year, Maria will sing ‘Never Give Up’, written by Anderz Wrethov and Laurell Barker (who is competing in heat 3). The song is all about strength and really taps into Maria’s current situation.
When I came to Sweden, I started to build my career here, but then of course I didn’t think that I would be able to participate in Melodifestivalen. I am very, very happy about it and incredibly grateful. My song will tell my story. See you at Mello 2023!Maria Sur, Mellopedia
You can hear part of Maria’s song here.
THEOZ – ‘Mer av dig’
Theodor Haraldsson – known simply as THEOZ – is back for his second year after entering in 2022 with ‘Som Du Vill’ – which came 7th overall. He was also the child who appeared on the pre-recorded video during Samir & Viktor’s 2018 performance of their song ‘Shuffla’.
He’s only 17 years old, but has been active publicly since 2016 after creating content on Musical.ly, and then moving on to TikTok. Not only is the pressure on for THEOZ after a successful first year, he’s going in as a favourite – and will be performing to a home crowd. With Melodifestivalen back on it’s usual tour again, this week the show will be heading from Gothenburg to Linköping – where THEOZ is from.
‘Mer av dig’ is exactly the type of song we can expect from THEOZ. It’s pure pop, with lots of energy and a great way to close the heat. The song is written by Axel Schylström (who will perform in heat 4), Jakob Redtzer (behind ‘I Can’t Get Enough’ by Cazzi Opeia in 2022), Peter Boström (who wrote ‘Euphoria’ for Loreen – as well as her 2023 song ‘Tattoo’, which she is performing in Heat 4, ‘Manboy’ for Eric Saade, and ‘Amazing’ for Danny Saucedo) and an icon in the world of song writing for Melfest – Thomas G:Son. Here’s what he had to say about his entry:
This time it will be an even more fast-paced song in Swedish, and I would actually say that it is better than last time. When it has to do with me, of course it’s going to be dancing, but it’s a very cool number too.THEOZ, Mellopedia
You can listen to part of THEOZ’s song here.
There we have it! This week’s Melodifestivalen entries – two of which will qualify directly to the final, and two more will go to the semi-final for a second chance of qualification!
Saturday night will also see Melodifestivalen veterans Linda Bengtzing and Magnus Carlsson return to the stage for an interval where they’ll battle it out in a song duel.
Melodifestivalen Heat 2 will take place on SVT live at 7pm GMT // 8pm CET on Saturday February 11th 2023.