In the weeks leading up to the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, I’ll be reviewing each of the 37 entries competing this year. Today I’m looking at Sweden, who are performing fourth in the first semi final. They will be represented by Sanna Nielsen and the song ‘Undo’. 

Sweden Flag

Sweden: Sanna Nielsen – Undo

Followers of Sweden’s hugely popular qualification series ‘Melodifestivalen’ – up there with Italy’s San Remo as a contest that’s such an institution in its own right that it could probably survive without Eurovision – will know that Sanna Nielsen has waited a long time to represent her country. Despite still being only 29 years old, the singer has competed no fewer than seven times, always doing well but never quite picking up the momentum for a win, until now.

Some followers of the contest have complained that Sanna’s overdue victory was a triumph of sentiment over good sense – Sanna narrowly triumphed over Ace Wilder and her brash, Icona Pop-esque hit ‘Busy Doin’ Nothin‘. That song sounds like it could be a hit outside Eurovision, while ‘Undo’ is a little more conventional. However, with Sweden currently sitting a comfortable second in the betting, they look to be in safe hands. Personally, I think ‘Busy Doin Nothin’ would have been a riskier choice that could just as easily have fallen totally flat as given Sweden another win.

Sanna Nielsen - Undo (Sweden)Besides, Undo may be a little more less envelope-pushing, but it’s still a clear standout in this year’s field. The production is actually very modern, with just a hint of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ (though mercifully we can expect no hammer licking from Sanna) while the chorus packs an absolutely enormous punch, building to a climax that really lets Sanna’s vocals soar. Unfortunately, the key lyric in the chorus is awful (“Undo my sad / Undo what hurt so bad”) but the vast majority of viewers won’t pick up on that.

Is it a winner? It might just be. Scandinavia have already won three of the last five contests, and another victory for the region is likely to cause some grumblings, but there’s nothing sinister at play – they just seem to have the right approach to the contest and a wealth of singing and songwriting talent to draw from (so much so that their songwriters are in high demand from other countries, five non-Nordic countries this year have songs co-written by musicians from the area). This is really going to stand out on the night, and while I wouldn’t call it the one to beat at this stage (that’s still Armenia), I do think it’s highly likely to enjoy a strong top ten finish.

As for this semi final, it has an early draw but is well placed between uptempo songs from Estonia and Iceland. Really though, I think it’d sail through from anywhere. Definitely one of the key players this year.

Prediction: Qualifier