Rotterdam 2021

🇸🇪 Melodifestivalen 2021 rehearsals – complete review of semi-final 1

With rehearsals for Melodifestivalen 2021, currently underway, the press were allowed to watch the rehearsals of the seven competing artists, who will take part in Saturday’s show.

In the lead up to Saturday’s show, you are now able to listen to the one-minute clips of the songs right here. Thirty-second preview clips of the performances have also been released.

Kadiatou – ‘One Touch’

Kadiatou performing ‘One Touch’ on stage © Stina Stjernkvist / SVT for Melodifestivalen 2021

Dominik: It’s a brilliant opener. Night club vibes, expected brilliant camera shots, great dancing, and a power song. It is one of those songs that you will love even more when you listen to it full volume with your headphones. The song isn’t growing much after the first chorus but the vibe is great and I can see the viewers vibing with that.

Tim: Looking at the music she has released so far, this is certainly something different from what we would expect from Kadiatou. This song is definitely a great opener. I am loving the use of the LED lights (kind of reminds me of Aly Ryan and Benjamin Ingrosso’s performances), and the overall vibe of the performance. In regards to the song, it’s more of a grower, but I will definitely be adding this to my playlist.

Lillasyster – ‘Pretender’

Lillasyster performing ‘Pretender’ on stage © Stina Stjernkvist / SVT for Melodifestivalen 2021

Dominik: Okay… I was kinda scared listening to this, because I did not expect to like it and rock is a risky genre with me. The pre chorus harmony is very soft and fits perfectly with the vocals. It really explodes during the chorus. Flames on stage during the whole time and very fast camera shots. Some on-screen effects fit with the overall graphic theme of the performance. The bridge has this classic clap vibe that would work great with an audience but I do not think it hurts the performance. Very powerful second song and a chance to stick out.

Tim: If I’m being honest, I did not know what to expect from Lillasyster. In the beginning thought, that they were going to just bring the same old rock style performance. However, they managed to put in a structure to it, and when they turned it up a notch when the chorus hits. Factoring this, along with the staging (lots of flame, and the use of the camera angles), this is very impactful, and could potentially break the curse of performing second.

Jessica Andersson – ‘Horizon’

Jessica Andersson performing ‘Horizon’ on stage © Stina Stjernkvist / SVT for Melodifestivalen 2021

Dominik: Jessica is great and I really enjoy this. It is very uplifting and has some small performance gimmicks at the beginning that work well with the song. From the pre-chorus, she gets joined by four dancers and from that, the song builds and builds. The performances get brighter and the song really gets power with more time. The chorus lyrics get repeated very often, which is not a bad thing. You can sing along to it very easily. She is giving us great vocals and everything that needs a schlager banger. Maybe not as dance-influenced as “Party Voice”, but still a good Jessica song, that will have many fans on Saturday.

Tim: Jessica is giving us something different from ‘Party Voice’, and you know what, I am here for it! The song is very anthemic, and you can easily sing along to it. She manages to bring us a spectacular performance while giving us great vocals. The staging is very artistic and looks like something that Celine Dion would undertake in one of her shows. In addition, I would also give her Eurovision points for the long dress and the use of the wind machine! (Carola vibes indeed!)

Paul Rey – ‘The Missing Piece’

Paul Rey performing ‘The Missing Piece’ on stage © Stina Stjernkvist / SVT for Melodifestivalen 2021

Dominik: I looooooooove “Talking In My Sleep” from last year and all his other songs so it was obvious I will like this. In the beginning very guitar-driven, which gives a bit of a country vibe. For the first chorus, some modern sound elements get added. He has different pieces on stage. He starts on one and leaves that to get to another one and spend most of the performance on them and goes to other pieces (three in total). The bridge is very uplifting with gospel vocals in the background. For the last chorus, he stands on the prop but all pieces are not separate on the stage anymore but one piece. Very strong entry. Different from last year but maybe even stronger. Good chance in the semi-final.

Tim: When I spoke with Paul, he told me that the song is more intimate than his Melodifestivalen 2020 entry ‘Talking in My Sleep’. True to his word, I felt this, as I was watching his performance. Lyrically, the song is dedicated to his newborn daughter, and I felt the emotion from his performance. You can really see the growth since his participation in Melodifestivalen 2020. The staging is also very interesting and unique, where you have all these props all over the stage, to create one piece at the end.

Arvingarna – ‘Tänker inte alls gå hem’

Arvingarna performing ‘Tänker inte alls gå hem’ on stage © Stina Stjernkvist / SVT for Melodifestivalen 2021

Dominik: I mean what do we expect here. Uplifting Swedish banger and yes here we go. The props remind a bit of Australia 2015. They have their perfect dance routine. The lights are very colorful. This is a lot of fun. A big crowd pleaser and this would go off with an audience. I hope this will connect with the viewers at home. Super catchy and 100% what you expect.

Tim: I will start off by saying, Arvingarna, I think Guy Sebastian wants his staging back. Moving on with the song, I expect nothing less from Arvingarna, whatever they compete in Melodifestivalen, we always get an uplifting and feel-good vibe from them. With the current situation, this track is definitely needed. It’s super-catchy, it’s got great colorful staging. Even tho there is no audience, this will easily connect with the viewers.

Nathalie Brydolf – ‘Fingerprints’

Nathalie Brydolf performing ‘Fingerprints’ on stage © Stina Stjernkvist / SVT for Melodifestivalen 2021

Dominik: She starts off alone center stage with a white dress and just one spot in the background and everything is black. The song starts very calm. For the first chorus, some lights get added but not much until everything turns back to black for the second verse. The song is not building much compared to the first verse. It builds during the second chorus and cloud effects get added on the back LEDs. Calm bridge again and the song really goes off for the last chorus. Very bright lights, wind machine, smoke, wide camera shots, and everything. I feel like this could do anything on Saturday. From nothing to everything. The build is great I just hope it won’t take too long for the viewers. So everything is possible here.

Tim: What I really love about ‘Fingerprints, is the simplicity of the songs, it does not need a grand staging with props, and everything. The song itself is enough, and let the vocals do the work. I got to be honest, when it was announced that she will be participating, I did not know what she could bring. However, after watching her performance, I am blown away. It’s very powerful, very emotive and it shows her off as an artist.

Danny Saucedo – ‘Dandi dansa’

Danny Saucedo performing ‘Dandi dansa’ on stage © Stina Stjernkvist / SVT for Melodifestivalen 2021

Dominik: Danny is coming with something I have never seen on a Melfest or Eurovision stage before. Super brave to try something totally new and also something he can risk with his long and successful career and I really enjoy this. When the number of camera shots was published and it said 17 for Danny I thought it was a mistake and should mean 170. But no. There are around 17 camera shots. There is one camera shot till the end of the second chorus. Danny is in a box/cube of cartons and the whole box gets rolled around on stage so motion gets created. Dancers leave the box and new ones come in. In the box, it all starts very brown (the boxes) with normal white light. The white light turns to flashing white light during the pre-chorus and then to pink and everything gets colorful for the chorus. The same repeats for the second verse and second chorus. Danny’s dancing affects them and they also start dancing. This is not getting boring even though it’s just one camera shot. Tho the stage has these small different pieces, so when they roll the box around the camera gets kinda shaky, because it’s part of the prop and no cameraman is holding it. During the bridge, he leaves the cube and is walking around it for one time before Danny and all dancers come together in front of the cube and the back of the cube now has an LED side. They spend the third chorus dancing in front of the cube and it is very energetic. The song gets easily stuck in your head and you can totally vibe to it. This is a song that totally fits with his latest releases but adds this Melfest touch.

Tim: I’m just looking at the overall performance, and it is very unique and it definitely stands out!, it seems Danny is giving Margaret a run for her money in terms of how many camera shows you have. I do love the vibe of the performance, Danny shows off his capability as a performer. However, I do acknowledge that more work needs to be done with the camera shots to make the transitions more smoother. This will definitely look great on screen.

Our Predictions:

Based on the performances we saw today, we are predicting the following result on Saturday’s show:

ResultDominikTim
Direkt til finalenDanny Saucedo
Dandi dansa
Paul Rey
The Missing Piece
Direkt til finalenPaul Rey
The Missing Piece
Nathalie Brydolf
Fingerprints
Andra ChansenJessica Andersson
Horizon
Danny Saucedo
Dandi dansa
Andra ChansenArvingarna
Tänker inte alls gå hem
Jessica Andersson
Horizon

About Melodifestivalen 2021

As previously reported, due to COVID-19, all the shows will take place in Annexet in Stockholm. You are able to find out more about this week’s show, by reading our guide here.

The first semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2021 will start 20:00CET on Febrauary 6. Two songs will qualify to the final and two songs will be sent to the andra chansen (second chance) round.

Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest

Sweden has participated in the contest 59 times since its debut in 1958. They have missed only three contests since their debut (1964, 1970 and 1976). Since 1959, the Swedish entry has been chosen through Melodifestivalen. In 1997, Sweden was one of the first five countries to adopt televoting, and have continued to innovate the technology behind the contest whenever they host.

Sweden is one of the most successful countries at the contest, winning six contests so far. Notably, their wins span their participation history; their victories span five decades with ABBA (1974), Herreys (1984), Carola (1991), Charlotte Nilsson (1999), Loreen (2012) and Måns Zelmerlöw (2015). They currently have the second-highest number of wins, behind Ireland’s seven.

What are your first impressions to the competing songs this week? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the news in the upcoming months.

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