Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen // Alma Bengtsson
Well we made it! The final of Melodifestivalen 2023 is upon us, and we’ll soon find out which artist will be representing Sweden at Eurovision in May.
With so much buzz around this years final, we better just get straight into it! Here are the ones to watch in Melodifestivalen 2023…
Maria Sur – ‘Never Give Up’
We saw Maria Sur sail straight into the final back in heat 2, and despite her chances at winning slipping as the competition continued, we can’t count her out just yet. Maria managed to beat tough competition from returnees like Wiktoria, Panetoz and THEOZ in order to qualify, but a very good performance of ‘Never Give Up’ helped her do just that. If you didn’t know, Maria is from Ukraine and fled to Sweden with her mother at the start of the Russian Invasion, and her song lyrically discusses the feelings and emotions that surrounded that time. It’s a powerful entry, and one that really could resonate with viewers at home who may connect to her story. She’s only 18 and seems to have an exciting future in music ahead of her, and whether or not a win is on the cards for her this year, this is an important moment for her as an artist. She’s also been having a bit of fun with the contest, recently posting a video about the hype her biggest competitor is receiving over on her TikTok, which was all done in good humour. Will Sweden go for the big power ballad for a second year in a row?
Marcus & Martinus – ‘Air’
Norwegian pop-sensations Marcus & Martinus burst onto the Melodifestivalen stage at the very end of heat 3, with a song that really did scream “clear winner” to those watching at the time. ‘Air’ is everything we’ve come to know Sweden as at Eurovision – a polished performance, performed by young male singers with great staging and vocals. Despite the twins catching a little bit of heat from their Norwegian fanbase for competing in Melodifestivalen instead of Melodi Grand Prix, their Swedish fanbase carried them straight to the final – and have been supporting them ever since. ‘Air’ is currently just behind the front runner in the odds to win, and like Maria, they also cannot be counted out despite their hype also dropping a little since their heat a couple of weeks ago. You cannot underestimate Marcus & Martinus’ young fanbase at all, and they deserve to be ones to watch – especially with the app televote being a huge part of the process. Will we be seeing ‘Air’ in Liverpool?
Loreen – ‘Tattoo’
There was no denying Loreen would once again be hyped up on her second return to Melfest after ‘Euphoria’ – seeing her come back after such a sensational run in 2012 will always spark conversation. However compared to ‘Statements’ in 2017 the hype surrounding her seemed a little different – there was more buzz, more excitement and more expectation on her to deliver – and she certainly did. Closing the heat stages two weeks ago, she blew everyone away with ‘Tattoo’ thanks to her incredible vocals, stage presence and staging. She not only became the favourite to win Melodifestivalen – currently sitting at the top of the odds with an astronomical 81% chance, but also catapulted Sweden above Ukraine to be the favourites to win Eurovision altogether – with a 35% chance despite not even being their chosen entry. ‘Tattoo’ became the most streamed Melodifestivalen 2023 song in just under two days, and is currently gaining almost a million streams a day. It was the biggest ever streaming debut for a Swedish song, just behind Avicii and Aloe Blacc’s ‘SOS’, the biggest debut for a Swedish song on Spotify in 2023 so far and it hasn’t left that number 1 spot on Sweden’s Top 50 Spotify playlist since it’s release after heat 4. She reached the top of SverigeTopplistan, charted across Europe on Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify, and even charted in the United Kingdom’s streaming and download chart ‘The Big Top 40’ at #37 – the first time for any national final song that hasn’t even won it’s contest. At the beginning of the week of the final, she received over 1 million streams within a day – boosting her up to 6.6 million (at the time of writing). Should she win, Loreen will be the first contestant to win Melodifestivalen twice since the turn of the new millennium, and if she wins Eurovision – which right now is looking like a huge possibility – will equal Ireland’s 7 win record, and become the second person ever to win twice, after Johnny Logan – and first woman ever to achieve this. There are a few concerns that she might not replicate that instant “wow factor” that ‘Euphoria’ had – though the reaction so far has been so overwhelmingly positive it’s hard not to picture her performing the winners reprise at the end of Melodifestivalen 2023. Is this once again Loreen’s year?
Despite these three being the front runners, there are also outsiders that we need to consider. Most notably, both Smash Into Pieces and THEOZ have been doing great on streaming platforms, with Smash Into Pieces sitting at 3rd for the most streamed finalist in 2023, and THEOZ at 2nd. THEOZ has been hot on Loreen’s heels on the Spotify Top 50 too, rising to #2 the week of the grand final – most likely boosted by his performance in the Semi-Final.
SVT have revealed the running order for the Grand Final, which you can see below.
The Grand Final of Melodifestivalen will take place on SVT live from Friends Arena, Stockholm at 7pm GMT // 8pm CET on Saturday March 10th 2023.