Report from the first stage rehearsals of Melodifestivalen 2016!
The excitement ran high as the press took their seats in the Scandinavium arena in the city of Gothenburg, preparing for today’s first stage rehearsals of the first heat’s songs in Melodifestivalen 2016. Each act were given 30 minutes of rehearsal on stage, performing in the same order they will in the live show on Saturday.
Samir & Viktor
The ecstatic duo of Samir & Viktor were the first act to enter the stage. Samir had a minor setback with some mic malfunction. However, that was soon fixed and the dancers entered the stage showcasing a high phased and energetic dance routine, choreographed by the highly experienced, when it comes to Melodifestivalen, choreographer Thomas Benstem. Thomas also choreographed their act last year.
Samir and Viktor took it to the next level by taking off their shirts just in time for the last chorus. Going in to the last run-through, Viktor could not hear the music in his in-ears and the music was stopped halfway into the intro. After some fixing, they carried on and delivered a great last run-through with all pyrotechnics and special effects. This is guaranteed a spot in the final if you ask me!
The second act to enter the stage was the calm Pernilla Andersson. Her act looked like any other gig you could see on stages around the world. Pernilla stood center stage during the entire song, with her guitar and microphone. On her right was a classic band consisting of a drummer, guitarist, and bass player, and on her left sat a harpist.
To spice it up, a gigantic piece of art was hanging behind them with an abstract motive of a woman holding a child, transforming into a tiger. The gigantic frame was of course golden! Pernilla delivered flawless vocals, however, the entire act left me untouched and I would not be surprised to see this not advancing in the contest.
After a short break, Mimi Werner entered the stage with a guitar. However, the guitar did not stay for long. As soon as the song starts to take-off in the first verse, six male dancers enter the stage, throws the guitar away, and deliver an enthusiastic choreography mixing commercial street dancing with the old school style of line dance.
The choreographer for this act is Daniel Koivunen, who has great experience from Melodifestivalen, as well as the Eurovision Song Contest, which shows. Daniel found Mimi’s strengths as performer and created an interesting and high phased routine, which left the well-trained dancers gasping for air after the second run through. Throughout the entire rehearsal, Mimi and her entourage delivered a strong performance. To me, this could take her straight to final.
Albin & Mattias
The fourth act on stage today was Albin & Mattias. They kept it simple, being the only two on stage during the performance. I’m all in for that idea, however, their first run through left me with a feeling of “that’s it?” It was very shaky and the two of them appeared to be almost unprepared, and these are experienced and well-known names in the Swedish music industry.
They worked with different camera angles and used one of the stage walls to display a special effect. They did the most changes to the performance of all of the acts today when it comes to staging and by their last run-though, the changes for the better were dramatic. However, I would not be surprised to see this act missing out on a spot in the final or the second chance show.
(EDIT: As of 14:00 CET today, Anna Book has been disqualified from Melodifestivalen)
After a second break, the household name Anna Book took to the stage and delivered an act that could have been a part of the contest back in the happy and glory days of the 80’s. Placed center stage, in the back is a huge pink heart lit up in the style of a true Las Vegas wedding chapel. The microphone stand is pink and everybody is dressed in glitter.
With her on stage are two female backing vocals and four male dancers. For the second time today, the choreography is by Thomas Benstem, who really went all out with the schlager style. Yes, it’s a huge overdose of cliché. In my opinion, this is a huge failure and should take home the sevent and last placing on Saturday. However, all of the schlager traditionalists out there might place this much higher. Over all, the media places this higher than I personally do.
The second-to-last act up on stage today was Robin Bengtsson. He is taking the stage completely solo, placed center on a rectangular platform. Maybe the same one Loreen used back in 2012?
In the first verse, an interesting close-up camera angle is being used, giving an interesting focused and zoomed in effect on Robin. As the song goes by, the stage goes from being almost pitch black to golden. Throughout the routine, Robin stays in the same place and only switches angles. It all feels very contemporary and fresh. The only concern I have is whether or not he will deliver a spot-on performance and vocal on Saturday, due to him being a new name to the business. If so, I have a feeling that this could move on to the second chance show.
The seventh and last act up today was Ace Wilder, who had a smaller building built on the stage. It was a huge pyramid consisting of gigantic boxes, five to the count. Ace starts off in one of the middle boxes, while digital doppelgangers of herself appear randomly in the other ones. As she moves on to the stage floor, she is joined by four female dancers, performing a groovy choreography. It really feels like she is taking it to a new level with this act.
However, having being such a huge success last time she appeared on the show, being a “no one” and ending up only two point from total victory, you never know what expectations the voting audience have. If you ask me, this is a final piece.
Tomorrow, all of the acts will rehearse again on stage, before the first dress rehearsal with a live audience takes place in the evening.
Photos: Zara Zeidlitz for ESC Reporter