Yay! February is here at last, and we're all glad that January is finally out of the way.
Of course we are now presented with a new challenge: how to keep up with all those heats, semi-finals and finals which have been packed into this new month, and fit in the Winter Olympics as well!
Tonight is the first "Super Saturday" including the Finnish and Swiss finals. I'll probably catch these later as I had a listen to the songs and found them pretty underwhelming. It would be nice to see Softengine's "Something Better" making it to Copenhagen although I can't see it winning. Switzerland is all a bit 'meh' but they might go for that "Hunter of Stars" song by Sebalter which is at least quite quirky.
There's heats and semi-finals going on tonight in Latvia, Lithuania and Hungary, and let's not forget Iceland. A Magni-free Iceland this year :(((((( it just won't be the same for me!
However tonight at 7.00pm UK time, the laptop will be connected to the TV and it will be time for the first of six weeks of Melodifestivalen madness. Bad news mum....!
As usual, SVT posted one-minute clips of rehearsal performances to give us an opportunity to hear what the songs sound like. So here are my foolish predictions about who's qualifying and who isn't. I'm not even going to guess if it will be the final or Andra Chansen!
YOHIO: "To The End".
I have a real problem with YOHIO, because he seems to have built up this whole image and myth around himself when in fact he's just a pretty average singer. This is an anthemic and lively opener by the Johnson/Kvint team however it just sounds like a lot of other songs and there's nothing making it special. Fan power will ensure its qualification though.
Mahan Moin: "Aleo"
Maybe they didn't show the best bit of the song but sorry Mahan, this is a mess for me. I think her vocals could let her down on the night. It's a Latino-by-numbers song which will probably come 7th or thereabouts.
Linus Svenning: "Bröder"
Judging by his YouTube clips, we know he can sing, but will the nerves get the better of him on this emotional song? The balance between power and emotion will be crucial if he is to make it out of this heat.
Qualifier? DON'T KNOW
Elisa Lindström: "Casanova".
OK plug in the wind machine and stand well back. It's mega-schlager time. But it's not a particularly good one, and the problem I have with this is that it's too "old" for her - you could imagine Lotta or Kikki rocking up onto the stage with this rather than a young woman like Elisa.
Alvaro Estrella: "Bedroom".
So maybe I'm just getting old but I've read the lyrics of this one and they're seriously mucky. Basically they were at it all over the place and never made it to the bedroom. Nice. Anyway he's working the Anton Ewald blueprint and it all sounds very modern and contemporary. The only thing probably stopping him is the recognition factor as he's an unknown name, but then so was Anton Ewald.
Ellen Benediktson: "Songbird".
From the title to the satellite staging, this is obviously influenced by Anouk's "Birds" however is closer in style to Marie Lindberg's "Trying To Recall" and we know that did very well. I'm not a ballad fan and this is boring on first listen, however the less-is-more approach could stand out among the wind machines and dance routines. Again though, the recognition factor could hold her back.
Qualifier: DON'T KNOW
Sylvester Schlegel: "Bygdens Son".
Now this is a strange one. I liked parts of it, but he has a rather irritating voice. It's very lively though. I don't have much else to say about the clip apart to mention that he was previously a member of The Ark. Now if only Ola Salo could get back up on that Melodifestivalen stage...
Helena Paparizou: "Survivor".
I've never been a fan of her and never understood what all the fuss was about. This has shades of a Bond theme about it and the subtle verse gives way to a big anthemic, this-is-qualifying chorus. I don't know if the Swedes will still love her as much as her loyal Eurofans do, however a decent vocal performance should be enough to get her direkt-till-Friends in what, on first hearing, is an underwhelming heat.
Three definite qualifiers and two 'don't knows', well of course I'm a Libran and therefore indecisivess is guaranteed :) What else is guaranteed is that my predictions will be way off beam as usual. I'm underwhelmed by this week's songs, but I always feel that the whole Melodifestivalen viewing experience is always greater than the sum of its parts, the production values are always second to none, and on a Saturday night where the only alternatives on British telly are "Splash!" and "The Voice" (enough said) then I would imagine there will be many more people heading for that SVT live stream and we shouldn't be too surprised to see it trending on Twitter at some point tonight!