Eurovision 2022 national selections: Sweden preview – Melodifestivalen final

The final of Melodifestivalen (Melfest) signals both the biggest/most watched of all the national finals, and also marks the (near) end of the national selection show season (though Portugal has honour of being the last national selection show to broadcast). Christer Björkman departed the show last year but while there has been criticism of some format and tone changes, we’re once again left with a final that includes several former Eurovision entries and other strong fan favourites.

Every Melfest sees the return of familiar faces – artists who have either competed in previous shows, and indeed, may be previous Melfest winners (and hence former Eurovision entrants). This 62nd edition of the competition is no exception, and three Eurovision alumni have successfully reached the final: Anna Bergendahl (2010), Robin Bengtsson (2017) and John Lundvik (2019). Of these, John Lundvik has the best chance of winning, but the two front runners have not competed at Melfest before (at least not as solo artists).

The two frontrunners (+ my favourite)

All the fan polls and betting odds are pointing to a two-way contest between the two following artists – and both these entries went direct to final from their respective semi-finals. International juries might throw some curveballs, but it does seem likely it will be between these two.

Cornelia Jakobs “Hold Me Closer”

The VERY clear fan favourite is Cornelia Jakobs with her first solo effort at Melfest (she has twice been a participant as part of a girl group). The fandom (and provisional betting) seem to think that this is a potential Eurovision winner. I do think that the fandom tend to elevate their views of Swedish songs higher than if the song came from a different country – but so do the national juries it seems, so you can certainly see this getting another big chunk of votes if it makes it to the contest.

Anders Bagge “Bigger than the Universe”

While the fandom is fully behind Cornelia, her biggest rival may get huge support from the Swedish voting public and it’s fair to say this would be a less popular result (among Eurovision fans – but that’s not to say that follows for a general audience). Anders Bagge is new to Melfest, but not to the Swedish and international music scenes, or indeed Eurovision. He’s written songs for Westlife, Janet Jackson and Celine Dion to name a few, and was producer and then writer of two Eurovision entries for Azerbaijan. This entry is exactly the sort of mid-tempo song with uplifting/cliché lyrics and chorus that the UK would get slated for if it was their entry, yet Sweden might (and I stress might) get away with. Anders himself seems a lovely soul though – so I hope if it does win he doesn’t face a stream of online invective – no artist deserves that.

My favourite: LIAMOO “Bluffin”

My own personal favourite might seem a little odd since I have in the past railed against Sweden sending this sort of male solo, catch, slick but somewhat soulless (but effective) pop – but there is something a bit less polished and more joyful about LIAMOO‘s performance and I think we are missing this sort of more uptempo male bop in Eurovision this year – and this would fill that perfectly. I think that seems unlikely sadly – it won’t be third time lucky for him – though he has twice reached the Melfest final before, most recently finishing third in 2019 as part of a duet. Fourth time’s a charm maybe in future?

The final takes place from 7pm on Saturday 12 March. You can watch the show on broadcaster SVT’s website.

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