Melodifestivalen (Sweden) 2022 Reviews: Semi-Final 2

Liamoo and John Lundvik (Sweden’s 2019 representative) were the two direct-to-final qualifiers, while Alvaro Estrella and Tone Sekelius made it through to semi-final 5.

Samira Manners — “I Want to Be Loved”
This guitar ballad reminds me a bit of songs by young Scandinavian singer-songwriters like Lene Marlin back around the turn of the century in its simple pop appeal. Obviously, this is not as chirpy, and Manner’s accent has that quirky quasi-British inflection we heard from Lena Meyer-Landrut when she won Eurovision for Germany in 2010. All this is to say that this is a competent ballad, but I think Manners is still finding her musical identity, and I’m curious to see how it works out for her.

Niello & Lisa Ajax — “Tror du att jag bryr mig”
I love Lisa Ajax’s voice in this — it is the highlight of the track. Niello’s voice sounds rather thin next to hers, and when they get to the chorus, its her tones which stand out more. Musically this has a decently catchy synth-pop sound: I quite like it, but I get that’s not the most original composition. The staging was aiming for a retro look with its pastel colours, but I think that just made the song seem more dated than it really was.

Browsing Collection — “Face in the Crowd”
It’s refreshing to have something like this mixture of punk and metal, even if somehow it still manages to sound palatable to a fairly wide audience. The band definitely bring a lot of energy to their performance, but there’s something about this song that feels safe. I guess they may have had to tone down their sound and perhaps even their attitude for a family-friendly show like Melodifestivalen, but this still has plenty of pop sensibilities about it, and I’m not sure if that’s an insult to the band or not.

Alvaro Estrella — “Suave”
Fairly cliched Latin-pop which employs some in-fashion synth sounds in an attempt not to sound like it was written twenty years ago when Ricky Martin and Shakira ruled the charts. It does what it sets out to do, both in the song itself and the staging with its red roses and smart suits. However, unless this is really your thing it’s nothing we haven’t heard before at the contest and beyond many, many times.

Tone Sekelius — “My Way”
The uplifting/empowering song of this semi-final. Sekelius combines EDM clearly influenced by the late Avicii with some classic, classy staging (including a neat costume reveal). There’s a wonderful moment where she sings “true colours” and the colours of the trans flag are projected on to her dress. It’s a song full of confidence gained by finding oneself and living your life accordingly. At the very least, it deserved its place in semi-final 5.