Sweden: YOHIO and Ellen Benediktson through to the final in Melodifestivalen 2014

The popular national selection Melodifestivalen started tonight when Sweden picked two out of the ten finalists in the first heat that was held in Malmö Arena. In the end it was the favourite YOHIO together with the more unknown Ellen Benediktson who were the ones with most votes from the viewers.

The first out of five heats that are leading up to the final were held tonight in Malmö Arena. Two songs goes straight to the final while the third and fourth placed songs are getting a place in the fifth heat.

The songs: (You can read more about the participants in our Get to know article)

1. YOHIOTo the End (Music & Lyrics: Andreas Johnson, Johan Lyander, Peter Kvint, Yohio)

Both visually and songwise YOHIO has changed a lot from last year. He is wearing a black and golden leather jacket and pants. Three band members are with him on the stage. The stage is dark with blue spotlights and five big tv-screens in the background with flashing lightnings during the refrain. The song is a pop song, not that far from Ulrik Munthers Tell the World I’m Here from last year and sounds nothing like last years Heartbreak Hotel or the Visual Kei rock he normally sings. Towards the end of the song YOHIO makes a sudden move with his arm and a ball of fire leaps from Yohios hand as he throws it cross the stage. This is the start for a starts a fountain of flames shooting out around the stage.

2. Mahan MoinAleo (Music & Lyrics: Mahan Moin, Anderz Wrethov)

Mahan Moin performs an energetic modern dance song with a distinct hook that goes "Get up, get up, get". Think Shakiras Waka waka! Mahan starts singing alone on stage but is soon joined by five dancers dressed in black. She is wearing a black robe with slits on the sides and the stage goes in orange-yellow colours. This is a show and dance number which creates a good party feeling. But is it enough party to reach out to the viewers and make them get up and vote for it?

3. Linus SvenningBröder (Music & Lyrics: Fredrik Kempe)

Linus is singing a moody and moving song dedicated to his passed away brother. The refrain is distinct and goes "Dear brothers, what can one do when your heart is bleeding" and the song is a bit in the same slow style as some of the songs that was written by the popular swedish rock band Takida. When the song starts Linus is standing in the crowd, he is later walking up on the stage singing. Linus is wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans. The TV-screens behind Linus are showing pictures of Linus together with his brother. You get the feeling that Linus is really fighting to hold back the tears while singing and this is something that could really go straight the hearts of the viewers.

4. Elisa Lindström Casanova (Music & Lyrics: Ingela "Pling" Forsman , Bobby Ljunggren, Jimmy Jansson)

Elisa is performing a song that is typical for what you hear in Melodifestivalen from time to time – an uptempo song performed in swedish or what some people would call a good old schlager. This one flirts with dance band music and has lyrics that sometimes could be described as a bit ridiculous. Elisa is wearing a daring outfit in black and white that looks almost like a bodysuit. No less than six dancers wearing suits accompanies Elisa on the stage in this number. These kind of schlagers sometimes work and sometimes don’t, mostly the later in the last years so Elisa will have to depend on her charisma and singing skills

5. Alvaro EstrellaBedroom (Music & Lyrics: Jakke Erixson, Jon Bordon, Lauren Francis, Kristofer Östergren)

Alvaro does a fast pop song with a modern r’n’b sound, reminding us a bit of something that could have been sung by Justin Timberlake. The lyrics are of some rather obvious sexual character. Alvaro is wearing a blue shirt and black pants. He starts the song standing on a ramp. He then slides down on a moving floor before he is joined by his dancers on the stage floor. Alvaro finishes the song standing on a gladd box. These kind of fast pop songs worked well in the past years with the likes of Danny and David Lindgren. Will Alvaro keep up the trend?

6. Ellen BenediktsonSongbird (Music & Lyrics: Sharon Vaughn, Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren)

The teenager Ellen sings a ballad accompanied by the sound of a guitar. Elin is performing the song standing on the platform that is at the end of the catwalk out in the crowd with six big lamps throwing out a yellow light behind her creating a nice atmosphere. Ellen is wearing a blue and black dress. The song stands out from the rest since it’s a ballad and that could obviously be an advantage tonight.

7. Sylvester SchlegelBygdens son (Music & Lyrics: Sylverster Schlegel)

The former the Ark band member Sylvester sings a pop song with lyrics about growing up, leaving home for the city and to dream about success in life. Sylvester starts the song by one of the sides of the stage. He is playing a red guitar and wearing a jacket with red and black stripes, a black hat and black jeans. In the middle of the song he moves towards the centre of the stage to join the band members. There is a confetti rain by the end of the song. The lyrics plays an important part of the song and has to reacah out if this is going to stand a chance to succeed in the competition tonight.

8. Elena PaparizouSurvivor (Music & Lyrics: Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström, Karl-Ola Kjellholm, Sharon Vaughn)

Last out is the Eurovision 2005 winner Elena Paparizou with her mid-tempo song. Elena is wearing a black dress standing alone on the dark stage in a blue spotlight and with a microphone stand. As the refrain starts the stage lights up in a blue colour. Elena drops the microphone stand after the first refrain and moves towards the stage. At the end of the song the stage is lighted up by yellow spotlights there is a big golden firework behind Elena. This is a very slick and professional number from Elena. Is the song strong enough to take her all the way to the final?

The show:

The opening act features a pre-recored sketch where the two hosts, Anders Jansson and Nour El Refai, are watching the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 together from their home. They get upset when Denmark is declared as the winner and starts a campaign to get the ESC-trophy back to Sweden with the motto "crush the flute". A mob comes marching into the Malmö arena where a bonfire of flutes is being prepared on stage. This symbolizes the start of Melodifestivalen and the hunt for a new Eurovision victory to Sweden.

After the eight performances there’s a quick runthrough of the songs for
the TV-viewers. The host Anders Jonsson then holds a speech to the nation (all in a humorous way) where he points the importance of voting tonight and that there has not always been a right to vote.

After having the first results where the top five songs goes through to
the second round of voting we are are treated with a second runthrough of
the remaining songs. Then we are having another swedish-danish joke where we take a look at the danish preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest. 

The result:

Five songs went through from the first round of voting:

Song 1: To the End by YOHIO
Song 3: Bröder by Linus Svenning
Song 4: Casanova by Elisa
Song 6: Songbird by Ellen Benediktson
Song 8: Survivor by Elena Paparizou

After the second round of voting ended the first finalist to be announced
was Yohio. The second finalist was Ellen Benediktson.

Linus Svenning and Elena Paparizou were 3rd and 4th and goes to Andra chansen (the second chance heat).

The rest of the results:
5. Casanova by Elisa Lindström
6. Bedroom by Alvaro Estrella
7. Aleo by Mahan Moin
8. Bygdens son by Sylvester Schlegel
(Note: who came 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th is not revealed until after the final in March).

Source: EuroVisionary
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