Sweden: Maria Sur and Panetoz are the two direct finalists of the Second Heat of Melodifestivalen 2023!

Ninety minutes ago, the show for the Second Heat of Melodifestivalen 2023, started off on SVT and SVT Play. And we are here to share the results of the night with you!

The two numbers that qualify directly to the finals are Maria Sur – “Never Give Up” and Panetoz – “On My Way”  which we will get to see perform their songs live, on the 11th of March, when the finals will take place at Friends Arena.

But how things developed during the night?

The show

Jesper Rönndahl and Farah Abadi will present Melodifestivalen 2023. The heats are following the touring concept again, after SVT had pulled back last year due to health restrictions in Sweden, with the finals being held at Friends Arena!

Today, SVT welcomes us in Linköping at Saab Arena, with the next show of the contest taking place on Saturday February the 18th in Lidköping, then Malmö and Örnsköldsvik follow and finally the final show in Stockholm on the 11th of March.

Initially went through the direct finalists and the semi-finalists and then they show us this show’s contestants! Of course, when Theoz‘ name was heard, the entire crowd went manic! Linköping, Theoz’ hometown is this week’s host city of the show!

The performances

  • Wiktoria –All My Life (Where Have You Been)

First up on stage, Wiktoria with her song “All My Life (Where Have You Been)”.

It’s a typical modern pop Swedish song, with a few 70s/80s elements. She was vocally impeccable as usual, she began the song alone on stage standing on a staircase prop. Later, two dancers joined her but then they became four in total. The staircase moved away, and a large W showed up behind her.

What a glamorous stage look, pink and purple dominated the colour palette, lots of glitter and glow went on, but still, you couldn’t take your eyes off Wiktoria. At the same time the song also can captivate you, the lyrics stick into your head and make you wanna get up and dance!

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Eden –Comfortable

Second contestant was the debutant Eden and her song “Comfortable”.

As a song, it gave me Samira Manners vibes from her participation last year with “I Want to Be Loved”, which of course I consider less powerful and interesting than Samira’s song. A ballad with an acoustic style Eden’s vocals have improved a bit, compared to how she sounded like at her rehearsals.

Initially on stage sitting on a stool with a guitarist also sitting next to her and then a small orchestra appeared in the background consisting of three violins and a bass, in a minimalistic (but not so much in a good way) staging where not much was happening. Not that the song can make you even think that anything wow would happen during this performance.

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Uje Brandelius –Grytan

Third performance of the show was another debutant, Uje Brandelius, with his song “Grytan”.

By no means is that a bad song, but since we’re talking about potential Eurovision contestants, I personally got bored within the first ten seconds. The song was not interesting, there was no peak at any point, it’s totally flat.

Regarding its staging, the only interesting feature of it, were the colors of the Swedish flag that dominated the props and the clothes of the people on stage. Three ladies who are his backing vocalists, joined him too, perhaps that was the only highlight of this participation, their perfect harmonies.

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Panetoz –On My Way

Fourth number for today, Panetoz with their song “On my Way”, their third participation in the Swedish national final, seven entire years after their last participation, which was back in 2016.

The title makes you think that you will listen to a full English song, but it’s not. It is entirely in Swedish with a few English words and phrases here and there. They’re quite good vocally, I must admit!

The party vibes were also here, I saw similarities in style with Medina but also with this year’s Elov & Beny. The setting was quite summery, if only we could sunbathe right now, the background on the LED screen makes you wanna time-teleport somewhere in July 2023!

Two female dancers joined Panetoz and they altogether started a party on stage. It’s a very joyful and uplifting song, which makes you wanna dance to its beat even if you don’t understand exactly what the lyrics say!

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Tennessee Tears –Now I Know

The duo Tennessee Tears debuted at Melodifestivalen with their song “Now I Know, and they were the fifth performance of the Second Heat show.

They gave me “Calm After the Storm” by the Dutch country rock duo The Common Linnets that placed 2nd at Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen. They were vocally great; they also fixed some issues that they had with their harmonies in some of their rehearsals!

The staging was simple, but warm and nice, fitted the song and the image of the singers totally. Lights, colours and warm sunset and countryside sceneries and three kids playing dominated the backdrop LED screen. That was one of the most aesthetically pleasing stagings I’ve seen today.

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Maria Sur –Never Give Up

Sixth number for today, the highly anticipated Ukrainian contestant Maria Sur, debuting with her song “Never Give Up”.

Maria got widely known in Sweden after she participated in a concert helping raise money for Ukraine, then she got signed off by Warner Sweden and everything after that is history. The song is a mid-tempo power ballad, one could say that it is not that modern as it reminds me a bit of the ballads of the 10s, but I can totally understand why the voting viewers could potentially like this.

Maria has a big voice and, unlike her surname which in Swedish means sour/mad/angry she is very very sweet! Today she totally nailed her performance! WOW! What a song ending! She gave it all!

The staging though was what took the song to another level! Much work had been done here. While it was nothing super-original, it was engaging! Initially alone but then the 6 backing vocalists appeared behind her like halos! I could easily see this entry win the whole thing, but let’s not foresee things too much in advance, we have two more heats and fourteen more songs.

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • THEOZ –Mer av dig

Last number for this heat of the week, the Linköping sweetheart Theoz, with his (Swedish once more) song “Mer av dig”. Last year somewhere around mid-March, in the interview we’ve done together, he was not sure if he would ever participate in Melodifestivalen again. Now we already see him in his hometown, Linköping, competing for a second year in a row!

As for his song, it’s a happy and uplifting Swedish pop song entirely in Swedish, Theoz distinctive style and I’m sure his fans in Sweden will stream it like hell when it gets released. Vocally he was quite good, taking into account that he has an intense choreography that he has to perform at the same time.

Regarding the staging, he initially appears to be alone but eventually the in-house Melodifestivalen dancers and his choreographer (who almost always takes part in his performances) joined him up on stage, we saw lots of Theoz signature moves here. It was all about lights and camerawork and the LED backdrop plays a colourful mosaic pallete. And fireworks. And an eye wink. We could hear there were many of his fans in the arena going crazy over him. He also served a nice key change. 

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

After all the performances were complete, the presenters interviewed the contestants and after that there was a recap of all the numbers of the show, as usual.

A small tribute to Thomas G:son and the songs he had composed followed. Last Saturday, Thomas G:son was suddenly expelled from the Greenroom during Heat 1 in Gothenburg. The whole thing was staged before the Melodifestival profile is now elected into the Melodifestivalen Hall of Fame. In today’s heat in Linköping, Thomas G:son joined the star-studded crowd that has grown up in the years since the Hall of Fame was formed.

The first voting round

The first direct qualifier to the finals is: Maria Sur – “Never Give Up”

The Intervals

In addition, the Melodifestivalen veterans, Linda Bengtzing and Magnus Carlsson stepped up on stage in a real song duel. Linda and Magnus have both competed eight times each in Melodifestivalen. Now, through a medley of their competition songs, they fought for space in a raging battle, during the second voting round. 

Winners of viewer age-bands

Winner of the age-band 3-9 years old is: THEOZ – “Mer av dig”

Winner of the age-band 10-15 years old is: Panetoz – “On My Way”

Winner of the age-band 16-29 years old is: Panetoz – “On My Way”

Winner of the age-band 30-44 years old is: THEOZ – “Mer av dig”

Winner of the age-band 45-59 years old is: Panetoz – “On My Way”

Winner of the age-band 60-74 years old is: Tennessee Tears – “Now I Know”

Winner of the age-band 75+ years old is: Tennessee Tears – “Now I Know”

Winner of the televoting is: Tennessee Tears – “Now I Know”

Final Results

·       Direct qualifiers

First voting round winner: Maria Sur – “Never Give Up”
Second voting round winner: Panetoz – “On My Way”

·       Qualifiers at the semi-final

First qualifier: THEOZ – “Mer av dig”
Second qualifier: Tennessee Tears – “Now I Know”

See you next Saturday, after the third heat, when you will have the chance to be informed in detail about the results, as soon as they are announced on TV!

Stay tuned at Eurovisionfun, for all the latest developments regarding Melodifestivalen 2023 and the Swedish entry for Eurovision 2023!

Source: SVT
Photos: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

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