Måns Zelmerlöw is emerging as the artist to beat in Saturday night’s Swedish national final Melodifestivalen with his modern pop song Heroes.
A poll on Swedish broadcaster SVT’s website gave Zelmerlöw a commanding lead with 40% of all votes cast (at 9.20pm on Friday evening).
Måns’ performance of his song Heroes is helped by a hugely impressive stage act where Måns interacts with life-size line-drawings on a screen behind him.
His nearest rival, Colombian-born Sami reindeer herder Jon-Henrik Fjällgren had 15%, but is still tipped to score well when voting starts on Saturday’s live show. Fjällgren was adopted by Sami parents when still an infant, and his performance of Jag är fri (Manne leam frijje) has a touching authenticity and is in some ways an expression of love for his new homeland. It is likely to score a top-three placing from the televote at least, although it remains to be seen if the international juries “get” it.
Also in the running is Eric Saade’s Sting, which benefits from a forensically choreographed dance number and a convincing vocal performance.
All in all, the show has seen a welcome return to top form this year, and tomorrow night’s final looks like being something of a vintage edition. We think the winner is likely to come from one of the above entries, but there are others who could spring a surprise.
Hasse Andersson’s folksy Guld och gröna skogar may leave non-Swedes scratching their heads in bemusement, but it touches a deep chord of nostalgia with his countrymen who are used to dancing to this sort of song at their annual Midsommar celebrations. It’s likely to get a few televotes, although the international juries will probably ignore it completely.
Magnus Carlsson delivers a pleasing take on a classic Swedish schlager with his Möt mig i Gamla Stan, which will please many of the more “traditionalist” fans who have been disappointed by the move away from such entries in recent years. His popularity and the strength of the performance stand in his favour, but strangely enough the fact that the song is sung is Swedish may well count against him in the televote, as Swedes seem almost ashamed of their native language in this contest nowadays.
Other outsiders are Mariette with her ethereal, well-performed Don’t Stop Believing, and teenager Isa with the infectious bubblegum pop Don’t Stop.
The show starts at 7pm UK time on SVT’s website.
Join us on Saturday night for our liveblog where we’ll be translating live from Swedish into English to help you get even more out of the show.