Image Credit: SVT // Melodifestivalen // Alma Bengtsson
It’s the final week of rehearsals for Melodifestivalen 2023, which means all 12 acts will be running through their performances ahead of the jury show on Friday, and the live show on Saturday.
Here’s our review of the performances you can expect to see in the Grand Final of Melodifestivalen 2023!
Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North, Adam Woods – ‘Where You Are (Sávežan)’
Jon Henrik Fjällgren, Arc North, and Adam Woods performed ‘Where You Are (Sávežan)’ all the way back in the first heat on February 11th, and sailed straight through to the final as the winners of that evening. Tipped as a potential Melfest winner back then, as the contest has progressed it feels as though it may have fallen a little by the wayside due to the hype other competitors have received – however, seeing it be rehearsed proved once again that it would still be extremely worthy of the Songbird trophy on Saturday night.
In their final rehearsal, they’ve made a few changes compared to the first heat- including a bigger and more impressive stage prop, which has undergone some extra construction in the last couple of weeks. There’s also a lot more lighting too – the staging in the heats was pretty dark, but now the extra lights really brighten everything up and make it the perfect opener to this year’s Grand Final. Alongside these changes, they’ve also added some smoke jets alongside the smoke on the stage to give the performance that little extra boost it needs to stand out in such a stacked show. Jon Henrik Fjällgren and Adam Woods do a great job vocally once again, and it’s nice to see how the mix of styles have been seamlessly integrated by Arc North into this song. It feels authentic to all three performers, and they all have their moment to shine on stage. Will this win? Never say never, though Top 5 is probably the most in reach right now. You can see images from their rehearsal below.
Tone Sekelius – ‘Rhythm Of My Show’
We have our second finalist from heat 1! Tone Sekelius stormed her way to a win in the second round of voting and earned the DTF spot, and now she’s back with another performance of ‘Rhythm Of My Show’. As the saying goes, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it – and that’s exactly the approach her team have taken here. We have more fire pyro, which is now red and in keeping with the staging’s theme, but aside from that Tone performs with both the confidence and poise she had back in her heat. We saw her do well last year with ‘My Way’ and whilst this doesn’t seem to be gaining the same momentum at this point in the process, it’s a welcome addition to the lineup and one that viewers at home will enjoy. It keeps the energy high after the first song, and having the first two songs be those we saw the longest time ago is a good way to open up the final of Melodifestivalen 2023, as they get another early moment to shine.
Vocally, Tone was pretty good – though it’s worth noting she always seems to save her best vocal for when it really matters, so there shouldn’t be any worries ahead of the jury show or live show. This might not be the winner – which considering she starts her run on Dancing With The Stars mere days after this Saturday’s final, is probably for the best – but it’s definitely in contention to do well.
Mariette – ‘One Day’
It’s the third week in a row that we’ve seen Mariette on stage at Melfest 2023. She managed to just make it through the semi-final over Tennessee Tears with her entry ‘One Day‘, and despite an intense couple of weeks, it doesn’t seem to phase her at all. She performs again with perfect vocals, which only improved as she did her second run-through of the song. The backing vocals do seem a little louder, though this really helps in the bridge when we rely on those vocals as Mariette stops singing in order to make her way up the stairs to the top of her prop. Aside from that, there’s nothing else much to report on, the performance is pretty identical to what she presented in the semi-final.
This might not be Mariette’s year again, but it’s still a super strong entry – and she’s certainly never an artist that should fly under the radar in Melodifestivalen, so we could expect a surprise result – her song is more jury friendly than ‘Shout It Out‘ in 2020, and she’s one of the best vocalists and more seasoned performers we have in the final. You can see images from her rehearsal below.
Marcus & Martinus – ‘Air’
Marcus & Martinus’ placement in the running order came as a bit of a surprise for saying they were such an anticipated favourite to win, but they really make their mark early on in the final. Again we have another entry with no change between the heats apart from a few camera angles, but ‘Air‘ seemed like such an already realised concept staging-wise there wasn’t a lot that needed editing. They were having a lot of fun in their rehearsal, and we actually saw a lot more interaction between the brothers as they were performing – they just looked really happy to be part of the contest, and even though there were a couple of technical issues with the lighting in their first run, they didn’t let it phase them at all, carrying on with a lot of professionalism.
Vocally, there was a big improvement too, which really helped make their live vocals stand out a lot more from the pre-recorded backing. They have a big Swedish fanbase (especially with the younger generation) and are doing well on streaming platforms, so they’re definitely ones to watch going into Saturday night. There’s no Norweigan jury in Melodifestivalen this year, which many predicted would rate them highly in the final (Marcus & Martinus are from Trofors, Norway), so they’ll be relying on the international jury and televote to push them up the scoreboard. This may well be the winner. You can see images from their rehearsal below.
Panetoz – ‘On My Way’
How do you make ‘On My Way‘ even more enjoyable? You add pyro! Panetoz really gave us those summer vibes in heat 2, seeing them qualify directly to the final for the first time after only reaching it via the semi-final in 2014 and 2016. Their song has a great sing-along-chorus and anthemic feel, and watching them perform can’t help but make you smile – you can tell they’re having great fun, and their energy is infectious. Aside from the added pyro, they haven’t changed too much of the performance at all, but the last chorus is really lifted by said pyro which really brings it all together. This song is just pure joy, and no matter how well it does it will definitely get people in the audience and at home dancing along for the full 3 minutes. This also has the potential to surprise – it’s a complete earworm, and despite being sandwiched between two of this year’s favourites it’s completely different to both of them. You can see their rehearsal images below.
Maria Sur – ‘Never Give Up’
Maria Sur won heat 2 with ‘Never Give Up’, and became an early favourite to represent Sweden at Eurovision this year. Her song is about seeing light at the end of the tunnel, hope and strength – something that resonates clearly with her and those at home. Maria is from Ukraine and continued pursuing music in Sweden in 2022 after fleeing her homeland during the Russian invasion, and she looks to have a promising music career ahead. Despite being just 18 years old, she’s a confident performer and in her rehearsal she looked a lot more comfortable on stage, relaxing into the song and hitting the big note at the end in both run-throughs perfectly. There are no changes to the staging or the lighting, and Maria is again front and centre of the camera. This performance allows you to focus just on her and the lyrics, and there’s still a huge chance she could be lifting the trophy at the end of the show. There is no Ukrainian jury this year, and just like Marcus & Martinus, she’ll be hoping to impress both the international and national audience enough to see herself in Liverpool in May. You can see images of her performance below.
Smash Into Pieces – ‘Six Feet Under’
Probably the biggest shock this year, Smash Into Pieces has been doing extremely well since heat 4 – being one of the top 3 in terms of streams for this year’s contest, and making it the first time a rock song has gone DTF since 2014. They’ve changed some things around for their final performance, which really helps to give ‘Six Feet Under‘ a lot more impact. Firstly, the camera cuts are a lot cleaner, really allowing us to focus on every member of the band at some points. We have more lighting which gives the staging a lot more atmosphere and falling red pyro ‘stars’ as well. They’ve really gone all out for their final performance at Melodifestivalen 2023, and their momentum currently may see this sneak its way into the top 5. It’ll appeal to those viewers who want something a little edgier than the huge amount of pop songs we have in this running order. It’s also a huge contrast to Maria Sur too, which really switches up the vibe of the final as we enter the second half. You can see images from their rehearsal below!
Kiana – ‘Where Did You Go’
Kiana is another artist we’ll have seen 3 weeks in a row – she reached the semi-final in heat 4 and qualified last Saturday in the semi-final for the grand final. She’s kept the same staging as the last couple of weeks, and although it would’ve potentially been beneficial to add a couple of changes to really give ‘Where Did You Go‘ an extra push, clearly what they already have is working. Vocally, Kiana has been great in almost all of her rehearsals, and with every run this week she got better at controlling her notes and harmonies. This has the potential to do well, and as she’s only 16, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Kiana became someone we’re likely to see returning to the contest in the next couple of years. This is also her debut single, and her journey to the final has been impressive for someone who was a predicted borderline qualifier just a few weeks ago. Her televote in both the heat and semi has seen all ages really enjoy this, so she could be in for a great result. You can see images of her rehearsal below.
Nordman – ‘Släpp alla sorger’
Nordman has a clear experience in performing, appearing completely relaxed each and every time they’ve been on stage. They’ve really picked up a lot of fans, nearly getting the second DTF spot in heat 3 and winning the semi-final last week. In their rehearsal they took everything in their stride, interacting with each other and having a lot more movement around the stage. It’s also vocally improved since we first saw them rehearse two weeks ago, and is another break from the pop-heavy final that we’re faced with, this time bringing some folk to the lineup. They haven’t changed anything with their staging, but have kept the changes they made for their semi-final. This has all the momentum it needs to get up the scoreboard, especially with the televote who have really warmed to it. The only issue this has is that it comes before Loreen – which is certainly not the most ideal place, but they seem completely unphased by this and still give it their all. You can see images from their rehearsal below.
Loreen – ‘Tattoo’
Already tipped to win by more than 80% in the odds, Loreen has the very successful position of 10th in the running order. Cornelia Jakobs won from this spot in 2022, as did Eric Saade in 2011, Frans in 2016 and John Lundvik in 2019. ‘Tattoo’ became the most successful Melodifestivalen 2023 song within 2 days of its release, and Loreen’s momentum ahead of the final has only gotten stronger as the weeks have gone by. Her rehearsal for the final is a lot lighter – which really helps illuminate her a lot more than what we saw back in Heat 4. Aside from that, her staging stays the same – she’s also completely consistent throughout all three run-throughs, but we know we can always rely on Loreen for some class vocals.
There is probably likely to be a break before or after this, as it takes quite a lot of time to set the stage up, meaning that the wait and anticipation for the song on the night might be a little more extended. Is this the winner? It’s looking like it could be. It’s worth considering that it’s not a foregone conclusion just yet that she’s going to Liverpool – there’s some tough competition here, but it would be no surprise if she was holding that trophy at the end of the show. You can see images of her rehearsal below.
THEOZ – ‘Mer Av Dig’
THEOZ always puts on a stellar performance of ‘Mer Av Dig‘, no matter whether it’s a live show or rehearsal. He has kept his performance pretty consistent since qualifying for the semi-final in heat 2, but each time they’ve gone to town with the pyro – and today is no different. He switched from his green jacket to a red one , but we don’t know if this is what he’ll be wearing for the final – last year, he changed the purple outfit for ‘Som Du Vill‘ to white for his rehearsal, and then switched back to purple for the live show, so we’ll have to wait and see what he chooses on Saturday night! ‘Mer Av Dig’ is a super catchy song and has been doing incredibly well on streaming platforms, and is currently the 2nd most streamed song of this final – could it work in THEOZ’s favour? He came 7th in 2022, and this is an arguably stronger package with a bigger fanbase, so we may see it reaching into that top 5 at the end of the evening. You can see pictures from his rehearsal below.
Paul Rey – ‘Royals’
Paul Rey closes off Melodifestivalen 2023 with ‘Royals‘ – his first entry to ever go DTF. There has been some noticeable changes in this performance, specifically at the start. Paul starts crouched down with a single spotlight on him for the first verse and then walks towards the camera with his back to the audience as we reach the pre-chorus – which could really lend itself to some great camera shots if the audience get involved. There’s also a small change in the choreography and lighting, incorporating red lights in more sections which breaks up the monochrome and yellow theme. There are extra backing vocals added to the final chorus too, which has really made a difference, helping to boost Paul’s live vocal over the music. There’s also a lot of pyro which certainly see’s the heat end with a bang. Paul has had a pretty mixed run result-wise with his previous Melfest entries, and it’s hard to predict how ‘Royals’ will do – but it’s great to see him bringing something a lot more upbeat – and getting rewarded for it too! You can see images from his rehearsal below.
That brings us to the end of Melodifestivalen 2023 ahead of Saturday’s grand final. On March 11th 2023, viewers at home will be able to see the show in full live on SVT at 7pm GMT // 8pm CET.
Find out who the ones to watch are in our artice: 🇸🇪 Melodifestivalen 2023: One’s To Watch
Thank you to SVT, Melodifestivalen & Alma Bengtsson for all of the images from this weeks rehearsals, and thank you to SVT for our accreditation for the show!