Live: Melodifestivalen Andra Chansen

It’s week five of Melodifestivalen in Sweden and that means it’s time for the always exciting Andra Chansen stage of the competition, where the acts who haven’t yet bagged their place in the grand final of the competition will be given one last shot at the prize.

2136: That is it! We have our winners, we have all 12 finalists! The fight for the title of champion of Melodifestivalen starts now. One week to go until the final of the biggest TV event of the year in Sweden where we will find out who will represent our host country at Eurovision 2016 in Stockholm in May. Thanks for sticking with the liveblog and we’ll be back next weekend for the final! Don’t miss it!

2128: Time for the result, winner of duel 1 is: PANETOZ duel 3: SARAHA duel 2: BORIS RENE duel 4: SAMIR & Viktor.

2123: Last year’s Andra Chansen finalist Hasse Andersson is next to perform “Guld och grona skogar” as part of the interval act! He achieved fourth place in Melodifestivalen 2015: the highest position of any artist to qualify from Andra Chansen last year. He makes me so happy, he’s like Santa Claus.

2118: We’re now in the greenroom having an interview with one of Sweden’s top music critics where we look at the finalists who have already made the final of Melodifestivalen. She makes note that there are no groups or duos: all of the finalists so far are soloists! She also talks about the lack of schlager in this year’s Melodifestivalen and that it doesn’t worry her, pointing out also that Sweden hasn’t voted for any rock music either, it indicates a change in the style of music people listen to and to adapt, Melodifestivalen must also follow suit.

2114: Peter Joback and Ola Salo perform an original song as the interval act called “Sing it out”. Any particular reason this couldn’t have been one of the entries for Melodifestivalen 2016? Money’s on them to be back in 2017. Alcazar did it.

2112: Christer Bjorkman makes an appearance to tell us about the running order for next week’s show: all will be revealed later tonight! Who can believe we’re almost at the final of Melodifestivalen 2016?!

2104: Here we go: It’s the hot favourites of the night Samir & Viktor with “Bada Nakna”. By a mile the most popular act in the entire competition they’re also by large probably the least talented. It’s their personas on and off stage which arguably carries them through. That said, the song is catchy, fun, and appeals to the younger audience. The performance is the same as in the semifinal with the dancers, the fountain and the guys jumping in to the fountain shirtless at the end of the song. I believe that this is the only act in tonight’s semifinal that, based on their influence, could go on to win the competition in the grand final.

2054: Last Duel now! Dolly Style v. Samir & Viktor. Dolly Style are first up to perform their song “Rollercoaster”. You have to feel for these girls going up against favourites Samir & Viktor, anyone who is going up against the pair is bound to lose tonight. It was at this point in the competition last year that Dolly Style were eliminated. In their childish/japanesey style of performance, the doll-inspired, colourfully haired trio take to the stage. I have to give a shout out to the purple one: she looks and sounds awful and drags the whole thing down, who invited her? The song is exceptionally catchy in the same way that popular ring tones in the mid 2000’s were catchy: not good. The performance is much the same as their semifinal performance with LED poi, how exciting! The energy here is high but I feel the talent is not, the token “joke” act perhaps?

2049: SaRaha is next to perform “Kizunguzungu”. This is an English/Swahili song with African influenced beat’s written by Azerbaijan’s 2009 Eurovision entrant Arash. Her performance remains the same as the semifinal with bright lighting and colourful outfits for her and her dancers. It’s toe tappingly  infectious, however she is the newcomer against the more experienced and arguably more vocally talented Isa. It could be an interesting battle: unpredictable. Towards the end of the performance fireworks light up the stage: in a contrast to the confetti she featured in the semifinal. It’s a cute song, tough choice.

2039: Time for the third duel: Isa v. SaRaha. Isa is first up with the song “I Will Wait”. As the breakout star of Melodifestivalen 2015, it was surprising that she never made it to the final this year and has ended up in Andra Chansen tonight. This love ballad is vocally flawless. Everything Isa does is flawless. The staging remains the same with the lights and silhouettes in front of what looks like a large floating sheet? The wind machine is also out in full force for this one. One thing she has dropped however is the henna tattoos she sported in the semifinal. It’s very sad to see her in Andra Chansen actually, almost disappointing.

2035: “Put Your Love On Me” by Boris Rene is the next song to be performed and this is more or less a carbon copy of his semifinal performance. Boris is wearing a purple suit and a black bowler hat and joined by five dancers. The song is funky and extremely catchy. Unfortunately I’ve been listening to the studio version of this song and it’s actually kinda disappointing live. Boris himself is actually a professional footballer so he’s done very well to get this far at Melodifestivalen.

2029: Moving on to duel 2 now it’s Albin & Mattias v. Boris Rene. Albin & Mattias are first up with “Rik”. Very unfairly have these guys earned the reputation of not being deserving of their place at Andra Chansen with many Eurovision fans branding this act as “boring”. They’ve switched from the black outfits they wore in the semifinal to white outfits tonight. It’s an upbeat and bouncy song and Mattias has some really good vocals. Again should this go through this could also be one of the few Swedish language songs to be featured in the final of Melodifestivalen 2016. I feel like Matthias needs to come back solo with a stellar song, his 2012 effort was exceptional and a comeback with some interesting new solo material could prove to be lucrative in Melodifestivalen. As for Albin, I feel many people would prefer this act without his feature. A strong performance nonetheless.

2026: Whilst we let the Swedish public make up their mind, we’re treated to a throwback! Helene Bergstrom who co hosted and produced the skits for Melodifestivalen 2012 has reprised her role for a brief comic appearance! Good times!

2020: Next up is Molly Pettersson Hammar with “Hunger”. We’re seeing the darker side of this song tonight! She’s switched up her floor length white dress for a darker, shorter dress and dark make up. Her vocals are equally as impressive as they were in the semifinal. The climax of this uptempo song is incredible and makes me wanna yell “YAAAAAAAAAAS” but unfortunately I worry she may be out of her depth here.

2013: So it’s time for the first duel and it’s Panetoz v. Molly Pettersson Hammar. Panetoz are first up to perform their entry “Hall om mig hart”. Bringing their traditional “cool runnings” energy, these guys are the favourites to win this duel: perhaps unjustly some might argue, as they’ve previously been to the final in 2014, whereas Molly failed to qualify in 2015. Their performance it bright, colourful, upbeat, and full of energy. Throughout the second half of the song they run out into the audience and dance with the crowd just as they did in the semifinals. If they were to make it through this duel, this would be the first Swedish language song to qualify for the final of Melodifestivalen this year.

2009: I don’t speak Swedish but I’m pretty sure Peter Joback just called Andra Chansen “Melodifestivalen’s sweatiest heat”. Nice.

2000: The show is opening with all three hosts covering the popular Adele song “Skyfall” in a tribute to James Bond. For absolutely no particular reason whatsoever but hey ho, it’s on with the show!

All eight of tonight’s acts have made it through the semifinals but they did not receive a top 2 placing in their respective semifinals, giving them the slot in tonight’s Andra Chansen show. So how is tonight’s show going to work? The eight acts have been paired up into four “duels” where two acts compete for the votes of the Swedish public and the act which gets the most votes wins the duel and earns their place in the grand final of Melodifestivalen 2016 in Friends Arena in Stockholm next weekend: Simple?

So who are the eight acts dueling tonight to earn their place in the final? The four duels taking place in tonight’s show are:

DUEL 1: 1 Panetoz “Håll om mig hårt”
                2 Molly Pettersson Hammar “Hunger”

DUEL 2: 1 Albin & Mattias “Rik”
                 2 Boris René “Put Your Love on Me”

DUEL 3: 1 Isa “I Will Wait”
                 2 SaRaha “Kizunguzungu”

DUEL 4: 1 Dolly Style “Rollercoaster”
                 2 Samir & Viktor “Bada nakna”

The show tonight is being hosted once again by our dear Gina Dirawi and this week she’s joined by Ola Salo and Peter Jöback as co hosts. The show is being broadcast live on SVT in Sweden and online here. The show kicks off at 2000CET so be sure to check back and read our liveblog with all the action from tonight’s show.