As press, we got to see the contestants rehearse before the live show. Seeing the behind-the-scenes work was very interesting and informative. It was cool seeing how every single person had an important task to do, and made a difference on the show, from fixing the lights, removing the sawdust from the stage, getting water to the contestants and making sure people were on the right spots at the right time.
Samir & Viktor are one of the acts that have a greater amount of support from before but they also receive a lot of hate. For those who don’t know who they are, Samir & Viktor are a duo that release fun, clubby music. They might not be musically trained, but their charisma and energy is a huge selling point, as it makes them very likeable. Also, they are known for their behaviour which is not very “Swedish”. Many people don’t take them seriously, and recently they have received a lot of hate after their participation in Melfest. But they've also had a lot of love from fans and new supporters!
Some people don’t think they work hard and that they just happened to get famous. But I must tell you, I was very impressed with Samir & Viktor during their rehearsals. They were working very hard and made a lot of effort in getting the performance right. They were very sweet and giving tips to each other on what things they should think about during the performance such as, “Don’t forget to breathe”, “On this beat you should do that”, and also just giving some encouraging comments.
If you would have asked me three years ago what I thought about Samir & Viktor’s song, I probably would have said, “I don’t like it.” But as I’ve grown and become more open-minded, I actually really like “Bada Nakna”. The production of the song is current and very catchy. I'm not so sure about the lyrics but do I like the deeper message of them: togetherness. Also, Samir & Viktor deliver a very charming and energetic performance of the song.
During the rehearsals Pernilla Andersson did her set, and I wasn’t paying as much attention because her music isn’t my cup of tea, if you know what I mean. I did like her staging with the lights and the cool portrait she had in the background. For her sake, it was not the best heat for her to compete in since her performance got lost and forgotten amongst all the up-tempo performances.
Mimi Werner was one of the surprising acts. I got to hear the studio versions of the songs before the actual live show, and was pleasantly surprised by her song, "Ain't No Good". I did not expect the song to be as good as it is. It’s a very up-tempo song with some attitude to it. During the earlier announcements of the contestants, people were saying it was a country song but it was more of a pop-song with country influences. I really liked it!
Her performance starts off a bit edgy and I loved her energy on stage! The song was catchy and her vocals were good! If she was in an another semi-final, she would have had a great chance to advance to the finals, but since she was a newcomer in a heat with a lot of acts that already had their name out there and had a big following behind them, the odds were not in her favour. But I’m so happy for her to have gotten 5th place in such a strong semi-final!
Albin & Mattias was an act I was excited to see from the beginning. When I first heard the song in the press room, I was a bit unsure about what to think. But after a while, it became one of my favourites! The fact that the two of them have made the song all by themselves is impressive since a lot of the acts get in the competition with songs that have been written for them by someone else.
The performance is very energetic as well, and I absolutely love their chemistry with each other! It was cool seeing them work since we got to know a bit about their story from the interview we had.
The fifth act in the line-up was supposed to be Anna Book, but since an English version of her song had previously competed in Moldova's 2014 national selection, her song got disqualified. It was sad to hear since she had worked a lot on her performance but I think because of it, everyone gave her so much more attention and love than if she had just been competing in the contest.
So during the rehearsals Robin Bengtsson did his rehearsal right after Albin & Mattias. I had only heard the studio version of the song, but once Robin came out on that platform and started to sing, I was amazed! There are not a lot of things going on during the performance, but as Robin said in our interview he wanted it to be simple and not have dancers because it wouldn’t suit the song. I understood what he meant when I was watching the performance the first time.
The staging with the lights elevated the performance, and his vocals gave it greater impact that made the song even better! Also I love the harmonica in the melody! I think he has a great chance to place top 3 in the finals.
Last out was Ace Wilder. To be honest, at first I didn’t like her song that much. I think it was a bit too much dance music for my taste but after hearing the song a couple of times and seeing the performance, I started to like it more! Ace is a brilliant artist, and she really thinks about the whole package, such as the song, staging, choreography and the outfit. I’m impressed by her work ethic and love that she takes it a step further. I think her song can be a bit too edgy, or I don’t know how to say it, but Swedes might have a hard time to take it in and like it? But I still think she has a really good chance of winning Melodifestivalen!
During Friday and Saturday, we got to see the dress rehearsals of the show, which was the first time members of the general public were able to see and hear the performances. Despite having been a fan of Melodifestivalen for as long as I can remember, I’d never seen a live show or dress rehearsal before. It was very cool doing so for the first time, and I love the energy, happiness, and excitement the audience filled the arena with!