The Scoop

The race to Melodifestivalen begins to heat up

In news that will surprise absolutely nobody, Ace Wilder is seemingly in the hot seat to lead Sweden onto home turf in Stockholm. According to Aftonbladet, familiar faces are afoot with another former finalist returning in Oscar Zia, as well as an upcoming début appearance by Idols winner Lisa Ajax.
In case you’re new to the Eurovision scene, on her Melodifestivalen début Ace Wilder was the runner-up to seven-time entrant Sanna Nielsen back in 2014. Losing by only the most slender of margins, in fact it was the smallest margin of victory in Melodifestivalen history (2 points), “Busy Doin’ Nothin'” went on to spend four weeks at number one on the Swedish chart, Sverigetopplistan.

If Aftonbladet is to be believed, we’ll be seeing Oscar Zia for a third participation, his second as the lead gentleman. Eighth place is becoming a thing for Oscar as after finishing 8th place on The X Factor 2012, “Yes We Can” came eighth in 2014 as Zia’s first solo entry, heading straight through to the final from semifinal 3 before he became a juror for 50% of Sweden’s vote at the Copenhagen contest. The previous year, Zia was involved in Behrang Miri’s performance of Jalla Dansa Sawa which finished fourth in both its semifinal and Andra chansen.

A name which is perhaps new to Eurovision fans and certainly new to Melodifestivalen is Lisa Ajax. However, she is no stranger to the Eurovision branding. After participating in Lilla Melodifestivalen 2012, not successfully earning the right to represent Sweden at Junior Eurovision, Lisa then geared herself up for the Idols experience. In 2014, her Idols dream came true when she won the whole competition and released her début winner’s single, rather appropriately titled “Unbelievable”.

Now, you may think this is all that Aftonbladet have to say, given we are yet to see a list of songwriters participating in the competition next year, however… they have seemingly rumbled SVT’s choice of host for Melodifestivalen 2016 or should I say hostess. Yes, not that it will not come as a surprise to regular viewers of the selection process, Gina Dirawi has supposedly been handed the reins for a third competition as the main presenter. It is also reported that she will be joined weekly by different guest hosts famous in the rotating host cities as Melodifestivalen celebrates its fifteenth year touring around the Swedish nation. The complication with Dirawi leading Melodifestivalen again? Hosting Eurovision remains fairly near the top of her wish-list.

Gina Dirawi
Gina Dirawi, ©

A Swedish hosting story isn’t a Swedish hosting story without the inclusion of the name Sarah Dawn Finer and yes, supposedly talks have included her name in relation to hosting at least one leg of the Melodifestivalen 2016 journey. We are yet to see official confirmation from SVT.

Sarah Dawn Finer as Lynda Woodruff
Sarah Dawn Finer as Lynda Woodruff
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