Is Wiktoria the Favourite to go to Eurovision 2017?
Tonight Europe and the world will be watching the Swedish selection show Melodifestivalen. Touted as the best Eurovision selection show, with always a great line up of artists, we can except a true nail biter. Stockholm, the host of the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2016 will host the final tonight as over 4 million Swedes are expected to tune in and vote.
What the Audience Says
In their public poll last night by the Swedish OGAE (Eurovision Fan Club) it was Wiktoria who came out on top. This poll is conducted by asking the audience members at the rehearsal show on Friday. This is usually an ok indication, however this year the audience poll has been way off such as predicting Loreen's easy path to the finals from Andra Chansen, and Jasmine Kara going straight to the finals. However it is clear that although Wiktoria is in the lead, Nano is not too far behind.
What the Betting Sites Says
The betting sites seem to also have Wiktoria in the lead taking into account all the different factors and sources out there, again we see Nano just behind Wiktoria.
What the SVT Press Jury Says
SVT asked a mix of international journalists how they would award points to. These were based off personal opinions, views from previous performances therefore before any of them saw any staging on the Friends Arena stage.
We can clearly see a mix here as Robin seems to be the favourite going in, however we see Mariette take second place. Mariette came in second with the International Jury with Don't Stop Believing in 2015 so there is a chance she could place well again.
The surprise here is that Wiktoria does not lead in this statistic, and what is even more interesting is the fact that again, some people gave her 0 points, even though she got the most amount of 12 points. This was an almost similar situation last year, so could we see history repeat itself?
Most Unpredictable Melodifestivalen in Years
This really is the year that juries will decide the winner, since we can expect the tele votes to be split all round, especially with a clear top five. It could be a case that the jury puts the televote winner fourth and vice versa that can lead to a second or third place contestant taking the crown, making this dangerous for someone the heavy favourites like Wiktoria, Robin, and Nano.
The Final Contestants
Ace Wilder - Wild Child
With the very catchy song Wild Child, Ace is back on the stage since going direct to the finals six weeks ago in Gothenburg. Wilder is in her element with this song, and you can see she just enjoys it compared to the pressure she faced last year. It's great to see her just having fun on stage and nailing the choreography and vocals. This is a fun song to dance to and will surely be played in the clubs throughout the summer. During the Jury Show Ace technically had the best performance of the night, will this swing to jury to give her the ticket to Kiev?
We talked to Ace right after the Jury Show.
Boris René - Her Kiss
You can't help but smile every time you see Boris perform. Her Kiss will get you dancing like Carlton from Fresh Prince, and it is just a happy song. Showing a bit more fancy footwork, after having toured with a Mo Town production, Boris is a natural on the Friends Arena Stage. However because of his placing in the polls and odds, it would be a shock if Boris won this year, but with this much showmanship, it will only be a matter of time before Sweden sends Boris to Eurovision.
We talked to Boris just after the Jury Show.
Lisa Ajax - I Don't Give A
Swedish Idol winner Lisa Ajax returned again after a successful debut on the Mello stage last year. This year the pop starlet got a bit edgier by dropping the F bomb into her number with the song I Don't Give A. In the Jury Show, she does change fuck to damn, however will go back to fuck for the live Saturday show. Lisa always nails her vocals and camera angles and no doubt will continue to see success in the music industry beyond the Melodifestivalen stage. The sky is the limit for this 18 year old.
Check out our interview and karaoke with Lisa before she hits the Friends Arena stage.
Robin Bengtsson - I Can't Go On
One of the strongest songs in the contest, with probably one of the most creative use of staging, Robin is a contender for the Song Bird Trophy . Finding huge success with Constellation Prize last year, Robin ups his game on all levels this year with I Can't Go On . He isn't a dancer, but the clever use of the treadmills, and basic choreography plays to this. Every element just works for this song and all elements work for Robin. This is one of the favourites to win for obvious reason, but will the nerves get the better of him?
See what Robin had to say about being a favourite to win, with a bit of karaoke fun.
Jon Henrik Fjällgren feat. Aninia - En värld full av strider
A different song, Jon Henrik is back and ups his game from his previous go with the 2015 song Jag är frid. The song En värld full av strider features Aninia who adds more of that mystic touch to the entry with her haunting and beautiful vocals. This song really stands out from a final dominated by pop songs and therefore could be the surprise winner if the tele votes and jury are split. If both can show their chemistry on stage stronger than their performance during the Jury Show, this could be the one representing Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Anton Hagman - Kiss You Goodbye
Perhaps getting attention for the wrong reasons, we can't under estimate that this is just a good song with a good artist. Anton debuts on the Mello stage with Kiss You Goodbye, and going to Friends Arena by beating Loreen the week before in a duel. This is great exposure for Anton, who has built up a solid fan base via YouTube, and in an unpredictable contest like this year, it would be shocking, but not surprising if Anton does take the crown, showing the power of building yourself through social media.
We talked to Anton about his journey to the finals and his fans just after the Jury Show ended.
Mariette - A Million Years
The most visually spectacular out of all the entrants, Mariette hits the stage with A Million Years. As always its very haunting, and shows the hard work put in by the artist to go for the win. Being a favourite with the juries in 2015 with Don't Stop Believing, this could place well again leading her to that ticket to Kiev in may.
We talked to Mariette about the pressure and how she would represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest.
FO&O - Gotta Thing About You
We get to see the band a third time on the Mello stage after they they were sent to Andra Chansen. Always continuing to evolve the number, this time we see more cleaner vocals with less trails, and a focus on keeping the choreography tight. There is an added backflip by Felix, but in a final dominated by male pop artists, the votes will be too split to say how well FO&O will place in the end. Either way they are going places after this contest has ended.
We get some choreography tips and learn how the band started when we spoke to them before they hit the finale stage.
Nano - Hold On
A strong debut in the first week, out of all the artists new to the Mello stage, Nano is the favourite. His song Hold On is very passionate, and this ex-convict turned loving family man dives deep to bring all those emotions. The song is well produced with meaningful lyrics which Nano gives all too, especially as it builds after the first verse. This has been a favourite with audiences and polls, but the jury has not been so friendly to artists that are too hidden behind shadows, however will the power of the song propel him to the Melodifestivalen victory this year?
We spoke to Nano about how he feels about this recent success before he got up on the Friends Arena stage.
Wiktoria - As I Lay Me Down
Going into the contest with the highest song streaming rate out of the favourites, and topping pretty much all the polls and odds, the pressure is sure on Wiktoria. As I Lay Me Down continues her journey into the country genre and with a bit more of an upbeat tempo, we get to see more of the loveable artist. The change in costume to a red outfit has drastically lifted the already great number, and all eyes will be on her to deliver. She has all the hallmarks to be a huge international success, and being on the Eurovision stage would do more for her career than any artist in the contest this year. However it will be how the jury votes that will determine if Wiktoria is right for that honour this year.
We spoke to Wiktoria about the stress of being the favourite to win at Friends Arena.
Benjamin Ingrosso - Good Lovin'
Bringing pop soul to the contest Benjamin shines with Good Lovin. There are some changes to the number such as the walls of aluminium opening up now to reveal the audience in the background, and an outfit change as well, now sporting a pink sweater. Coming from a showbiz family, it seems Benjamin was born for this, but because of the heavy number of male pop artists in the finals, it will be hard to predict just how he will place. However we can except a great show none the less.
We talk to Benjamin about his early success and have a Model Runway Duel with him to see who best can strut their stuff on the runway.
Owe Thörnqvist - Boogieman Blues
The most surprising story for a debuting artist, the 87 year old Owe went direct to the finals in Växjö and what a ride it has been. This super charismatic musical legend in Sweden is still giving his all and going strong after being in the biz for 60 plus years. All you younger artists take note, this is how longevity works. He is using this platform to re-connect with the younger generation who might already be familiar with one of his hundred plus songs. It is not really fair to compare him to Hasse Andersson as Owe has his own unique style of taking a story and turning it into a song, but he as surprised as all doing so well in the contest this year.
We talk to Owe as to why it took him so long to enter Melodifestivalen.
Overall Performance in Jury Show
Almost all artists were not as strong in their performance as they were in their respective semi-final heats as the nerves of an unpredictable contest set it. It will be interesting to see how much of this the jury takes into consideration, and how much Loreen's exit last week will have them re-thinking on how they awarded points.