Idol takes over Melodifestivalen

The power of the international Idol franchise was demonstrated again in Saturday's heat of Sweden's Melodifestivalen song festival: both the winning songs were performed by artists who made their names in the Swedish version of Idol.

Måns Zelmerlöw with Cara Mia and Sebastian with When the Night Comes Falling won the viewing audience’s votes, leaving veteran and favourite Magnus Carlsson empty handed.

In contrast to earlier heats, traditional schlager music was conspicuous by its absence, with even Melodifestivalen regular Nanne Grönvall securing a place in the second chance round on the back of the energetic ‘Jag Måste Kyssa Dig’ (I Have to Kiss You).

The other repeat Melodifestivalen performer in Saturday’s competition, Magnus Carlsson, despite being hotly tipped by critics and generating enthusiastic applause in the arena in Örnsköldsvik, was thrown out of the contest by the voting public.

His song, ‘Live Forever’, with the falsetto refrain surprisingly well carried off and a catchy Eurodisco beat, inexplicably failed to make either the final or the second chance round.

The influence of dance music was also audible in Måns Zelmerlöw’s ‘Cara Mia’, but it worked better for him than for Carlsson. He goes straight to the final in Stockholm.

Zelmerlöw shot to fame thanks to Idol, which was also true for fellow finalist Sebastian. His ‘When the Night Comes Falling’ was more soft rock than disco pop, however, with shades of Andreas Johnson, who came second in last year’s contest.

The other song to go forward is Sonja Aldén’s ‘För att du Finns’, a power-ballad with touches of Celine Dion, although the song failed to be really catchy. Still, sandwiched between the disco beats and the rock of the other contenders, she managed to attract a big enough constituency to take her through to the final.

The next round is held next Saturday, 24th February, in Gävle. The Second Chance round is held in Nyköping, 3rd March. The final is to be held at Globen in Stockholm on 10th March. Apart from those sent forward on Saturday, a further four acts have so far made it to the final: Anna Book, Tommy Nilsson, Marie Lindberg and The Ark.