Sweden: The general rehearsal of the Second Melodifestivalen 2023 Heat! (Live)

The general rehearsal of the Second Melodifestivalen 2023 Heat has just started. We are happy to be watching it live, at Saab Arena in Linköping, Sweden. We will be covering this rehearsal, describing in detail what is happening during the show, for you to follow the entire process.

This article is being updated in real-time, all you need to do is hit the refresh button on your browser and all the rest is on us!

We will keep you up to date with all the latest information and images off this semi-final rehearsal, allowing you to get a glimpse of what you will get to see tomorrow February 11, at 20:00 CET, when you watch the actual show of the heat, on SVT and SVT Play.

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! With the next show of the contest on Saturday February the 11th, Melodifestivalen will take place in Linköping, then Lidköping, Malmö, Örnsköldsvik follow and finally the final show in Stockholm on the 11th of March.

Jesper and Farah are at the arena and everything is ready to begin! It’s time to face the music!

Initially they go 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’s vocally impeccable as usual, she begins the song alone on stage standing on a staircase prop. Later, two dancers join her but then they become four in total. The staircase moves away, and a large W shows up behind her.

What a glamorous stage look, pink and purple dominate the colour palette, lots of glitter and glow going on, but still, you can’t take your eyes off Wiktoria. At the same time the song also captivates you, the lyrics stick into your head and make you wanna get up and dance! Is she going to directly qualify to the finals? Let’s see!

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Eden –Comfortable

Next up on stage, it’s debutant Eden and her song “Comfortable”.

As a song, it gives 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 massively, compared to how she sounded like at her rehearsals yesterday.

Initially on stage sitting on a stool with a guitarist also sitting next to her and then a small orchestra appears 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 is happening. Not that the song makes you even think that anything wow would happen during this performance.

For me, from what I see, I’m sorry to say that, but I don’t think she stands a chance to even make it to the semi-final.

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Uje Brandelius –Grytan

Third performance of the show is 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 is not interesting, there’s no peak at any point, it’s totally flat.

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

Another non-qualifier for this week’s semi-final, poor debut at Melodifestivalen for Uje, in my opinion.

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Panetoz –On My Way

Fourth for their rehearsal, here Panetoz come 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 are also here, I see similarities in style with Medina but also with this year’s Elov & Beny. The setting is quite summery, if only we could sunbathe right now, the background on the LED screen makes you time-travel somewhere in July 2023!

Two female dancers join Panetoz and they altogether start 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! I had foreseen that their song would have a crowd-effect and here it is. I can see it happening! Maybe they will qualify to the semi-finals. Let’s see what happens tomorrow!

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Tennessee Tears –Now I Know

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

They give 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 are vocally great; they’ve also fixed some issues that they had with their harmonies in yesterday’s rehearsals!

The staging is simple, but warm and nice, fits the song and the image of the singers totally. Lights, colours and warm sunset and countryside sceneries and three kids playing dominate the backdrop LED screen. That’s the most aesthetically pleasing staging I’ve seen until now, in this Heat. For me that could be a surprise semi-final qualifier, but let’s not forget that there are Panetoz too claiming for that position.

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • Maria Sur –Never Give Up

Next up on stage, 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! At some points, though, she kind of lost it, maybe she’s anxious? In-ear problems? Tomorrow they will all be gone! Bow WOW! What a song ending! She gave it all!

The staging though, takes the song to another level! Much work has been done here. While it is nothing super-original, it is engaging! Initially alone but then the 6 backing vocalists appear behind her like halos! I could easily see this entry win the whole thing, but let’s not comment too much in advance, we have two more heats multiplied by seven songs to see. So I would hold my horses for now and I would say that Maria could dethrone Wiktoria from the direct finalist position in this Heat. Let’s see! (Farah interviews her right after she gets off stage)

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

  • THEOZ –Mer av dig

Last rehearsal 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. This year 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 absolutely love this. Vocally he is improved compared to his performance yesterday at the camera rehearsals.

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) join him up on stage, we see lots of Theoz signature moves here. It’s all about lights and camerawork and the LED backdrop plays a colourful mosaic pallete. And fireworks. And an eye wink. As this is a family rehearsal too, we could hear there are many of his fans in the arena going crazy over him. Now, will he qualify to the final show? I can see a direct-to-the-finals contestant here. For Theoz, Linköping is home, after all!

Oh, I almost forgot. We have one more key change. Nice! Ear-candy! Nu kör vi Theoz!

Photo: SVT/Alma Bengtsson

After all the performances are complete, the presenters interview the contestants and after that there’s a recap of all the numbers of the show, as usual.

A small tribute to Thomas G:son and the songs he had composed follows. Last weekend, 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 Saturday’s partial competition from Linköping, Thomas G:son joins the star-heavy crowd that has grown up in the years since the Hall of Fame was formed.

The first voting round

The virtual direct qualifiers to the finals are: Eden – Comfortable and Maria Sur – Never Give Up!

The Intervals

In addition, the Melodifestivalen veterans, Linda Bengtzing and Magnus Carlsson step 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 are fighting for space in a raging battle, during the second voting round.

Second voting round

Virtual winner of the age-band 3-9 years old is: Maria Sur – Never Give Up

Virtual winner of the age-band 10-15 years old is: Tennessee Tears – Now I Know

Virtual winner of the age-band 16-29 years old is: Wiktoria – All My Life

Virtual winner of the age-band 30-44 years old is: Uje Brandelius – Grytan

Virtual winner of the age-band 45-59 years old is: Panetoz – On My Way

Virtual winner of the age-band 60-74 years old is: Maria Sur – Never Give Up

Virtual winner of the age-band 75+ years old is: Tennessee Tears – Now I Know

Virtual winner of the televoting is: Wiktoria – All My Life

A prediction

I believe that Theoz (he’s got a super-dedicated fanbase in Sweden) and Maria Sur will directly qualify to the finals. For the semi-final qualifiers, it will probably be Wiktoria (who I foresee that might lose her DTF position over Maria Sur) and Panetoz (this week it’s a hard one, I want Tennessee Tears to qualify to the semifinalen too). It all depends on how Maria Sur will do. There’s only one day left, we’re less than 24 hours away from the actual show!

Which two of today’s competing artists do you think will be the direct qualifiers to the finals, on the 11th of March?

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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