There is a trend in music, in popular music, in musical contests, that I’ve always hated, and that’s the trend that the pretty young boy with very few redeeming musical features, a reedy voice, very little tune and a repetitive music track, gets through with total ease no matter what he’s singing. And hence you’ll all know my opinion on Benjamin Ingrosso. Kid seems nice enough but he has one of the worst tracks and should not have gone any further. This is no isolated incident, Anton Ewald and Oscar Zia have also done this with similarly awful and reedy tracks in recent years. The one saving grace is that they normally tend to come back for their second try with their balls dropped and a slightly passable song (or indeed, rather rousing in the case of Oscar Zia) instead of a totally awful one.
That he knocked out one of the best tracks from Melodifestivalen so far, possibly even the best, is what makes it worse. I felt genuinely roused while watching Roger Pontare’s Himmel Och Hav and while I have loved his previous MF entries When Spirits Are Calling My Name and Silverland, and consider the former to be one of Sweden’s best entries, I wasn’t expecting him, 17 years on from his win, to deliver a huge, fantastical, Lord-Of-The-Rings style epic. The heart went so wild for him I allowed myself to believe he might be through which just made it all the more crushing when Sweden rejected this beauty. I’m going to keep this one on my playlists and next all the other reasons why Swedish old men are the best people alive. God Roger looks magnificent with his beard and dress.
Anyway, that aside, this was a heat of two halves. Along with Benjamin, the two songs that went straight out were awful. Etzia’s Up, was a mess of a song that could have been good if it had been written better and with a limp performance coming after Roger’s rousing one, I’m not surprised it missed. Meanwhile Allyawan sent fears into me of my other currently disliked trend in popular music making waves in Sweden, that of Drake’s awfully boring RnB music making its way into popularity here, thankfully he was sent completely packing.
Otherwise, Lisa Ajax had a rather generic but pleasing pop track, coming right in the centre of this heat. Better than her last one but I thought it could have been a shock out for her and it probably would have been so before the app vote, in favour of Roger, which would have been such a superior result it’s another reason in my long list of why the app vote is producing worse Melfest results. Every heat.
Thankfully the other two songs in this heat got through to a further stage and I really enjoyed them. Despite putting on an image that shouts ‘we raided our mother’s makeup boxes for this gig’, Dismissed served up a good glammy rock song and unlike the token rock entries from the last two years, actually got through to a further stage. It’s by no means the best or most exciting rock entry, last year’s Runaways has it definitely beat to say nothing of the ones from the glory days of 2012-14, but I’m pleased to see it do well. And it’s repping for the LGBT crowd too, which is always nice.
And there’s no stopping her, Mariette has come back with a huge pop stormer, I love it, it seems Sweden loves it, and that’s really great to see. I hope she destroys Benjamin in the final.