It was Andra Chansen (Second Chance) time at Melodifestivalen last night – the last pre-finals qualifying round in which the eight songs that finished 3rd and 4th in the previous four heats battled it out for the two remaining places at the grand final. Any chances of upping the femme factor were dashed as the twinktastic Anton Ewald and pouting Idol runner up Robin Stjernberg completed the cock-heavy lineup. Rather than repeat old moans (weak songs, uncharismatic performers, etc), here’s a look at the ten songs we’ll be seeing again next Saturday – one of which will be representing Sweden on home turf in May.

1. Ulrik Munther – Tell The World I’m Here

Ulrik Munther

 

For the second year in a row, popular guitar-strumming pretty boy Munther entered the competition on a wave of buzz, and for the second year in a row the moment he got on stage everyone went “oh, that isn’t actually very good at all, is it?” Although he managed to qualify straight to the finals, the feeling is that Tell The World I’m Here has gone from hot favourite to also-ran. It’s good, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not great and he doesn’t have anywhere near the charisma or stage presence to make a mediocre song like this really fly. On account of it being quite 2013 sounding, it might do the business with the international juries, which may in turn spur on Swedish voters – so it isn’t a total write off, but I think he’s going to have to settle for Bronze again.

My score: 7/10

Prediction: 3rd

 

2. David Lindgren – Skyline

David Lindgren

 

Poor old David is another example of a hotly tipped returnee who found his momentum evaporated as soon as he hit the stage. On paper Skyline should have been an easy sell, he’s basically taken the his entry from last year and cranked it up a couple of notches. Unfortunately even with more expensive production it’s just too much of a rehash, and coupled with a shouty, badly-choreographed performance in his heat David was considered lucky to get to the finals at all. He’s now sitting at the bottom of pretty much all of the major polls, and shoved into the second-position of doom to boot.

My score: 6/10

Prediction: 7th

 

3. State of Drama – Falling

State of Drama

Readers, let me take you back to week three of this contest. After two dire semi finals, the show has finally thrown up some decent song, and with the final five announced three of them were still in play – Janet Leon’s Heartstrings, Martin Rolinski’s In & Out of Love and Caroline af Ugglas’ Hon har inte. “Just watch that State of Drama rubbish go through now” I snarked. And it bloody buggery did and all!  I’m still slightly agog. This is one of those songs you could be locked in a padded cell and forced to listen to on a constant loop for six months, only to emerge and minutes later be completely unable to hum it. Utter filler in other words.

My score: 2/10

Prediction: 10th

 

4. Anton Ewald – Begging

Anton Ewald

 

Like a realistic but eerily dead-eyed CGI avatar of his predecessor Eric Saade, Anton showed impressive dancing ability but virtually nothing in the way of live vocals in his semi final, but his song went straight to #1 on Swedish iTunes despite his failure to progress directly to the finals. Therefore it was no surprise that he sailed through Andra Chansen yesterday. It’s probably too late for him to gather any serious momentum, but expect him to be back as a front-runner next year. Maybe he’ll use the intervening time to learn to sing.

My score: 6/10

Prediction: 4th

5. Louise Hoffsten – Only the Dead Fish Follow the Stream

Louise Hoffsten

 

The only female artist to make the finals, singer-songwriter Louise Hoffsten certainly wins the award for the most idiosyncratic song title of the year. Despite this, Only The Dead Fish is a strong bluesy number and a my personal favourite from the finals. Last year’s token singer-songwriter Lisa Miskovsky came last with the public and 9th overall, but while this is no winner, it’s a more dynamic song and should pick up a few points from jurors and televoters.

My score: 8/10

Prediction: 6th

 

6. Ralf Gylenhammar – Bed on Fire 

Ralf Gyllenhammar

 

As surely as night follows day, so rock grumblers follow pop contests they claim to be above. So it is with Ralf Gyllenhammar, who came to Melodifestivalen on the pretext that the vast majority of songs in the contest were a load of pop shit, and only he in his infinite realness could inject some credibility into the contest. So colour me stunned when his song turned out to be one of the few this year with the kind of infectious chorus, vocal showboating and overall sense of occasion that harks back to the glory days of Shirley Clamp, a comparison he would surely not welcome. A sign of the weakness of the year more than anything, but nevertheless  it’s Ralf who effortlessly upstaged Ulrik Munther in the fourth semi-final, and he could yet be a winner that nobody saw coming. I think it’s likely to be close but no (flaming) cigar, but the Swedes will be flushing away their best – nay, only chance at doing the double if this unlikely highlight doesn’t win.

My score: 8/10

Prediction: 2nd

 

7. Ravaillacz – En riktig jävla Schlager

Ravaillacz

 

Yeah… no.

My score: 5/10

Prediction: 9th 

 

8. Sean Banan – Copacabanana

Sean Banan

 

Two novelty entries in a row – oh Swedish TV producers, how you spoil us. He had one of the biggest hits of the contest last year, and he’ll have the same this year, but when it comes to voting for an actual Eurovision representative Sweden usually errs on the side of sanity (in the finals, anyway…). So while his sizeable fanbase will throw him a few points, this is going to go down like a bucket of cold sick with international juries and casual voters. Remember, after this he probably won’t be back again for a very long time. I find it helps to focus on that.

My score: 0/10

Prediction: 8th

 

9.  Robin Stjernberg – You

Robin Stjernberg

 

Among the many curious decisions of the Melodifestivalen producers this year, putting two strong and very similar male-sung MOR tracks by popular singers in the last heat definitely ranks highly. Ulrik had the hype, but Robin had the better song and voice, and although he had to take the long way around via Andra Chansen, he made it to the finals too. Now that his song has had time to bed in, it should be well received, although the fact that it’s never been considered a serious contender may put Swedish voters off from picking up the phones. It’ll be interesting to see how the international juries feel about it though. I have a suspicion this may surprise.

My score: 8/10

Prediction: 5th

 

10. YOHIO – Heartbreak Hotel

YOHIO

 

And so to the likely winner. It isn’t as cut and dried as in previous years, but when the dust settles I’ll be very surprised if YOHIO isn’t holding the trophy. What exactly is is that Sweden is seeing in him escapes me somewhat – but despite the fact that he can’t really sing and has the stage presence of a background character from ‘Glee’ getting his moment to shine while the lead actors are tied up in pay disputes, he’s emerged as the only true breakout star of this disappointing year. A style over substance victory that  bombs in Malmö would be a fairly fitting end to this year, so at the risk of sounding bitter, knock yourselves out Sweden. And for God’s sake get Linda Bengtzing on the phone for 2014.

My Score: 5/10

Prediction: 1st