The Swedish national selections Melodifestivalen 2011 saw their third semi-final Saturday night, broadcast live from the town of Linköping in central Sweden. The most votes of the night were received by Eric Saade and The Playtones, being now qualified for the national final. Out of the two winning acts, the broadcaster SVT announced that Eric Saade received the most votes of the night.
The winners will participate in the national final on the 12th of March in the Ericsson Globe Arena of Stockholm. From the line-up in Linköping, Shirley's Angels and Sarah Varga will have a new chance to reach the final in a second chance round on the 5th of March.
Tonight's full running-order, qualifiers in bold:
1. Linda Sundblad – Lucky You
Songwriters: Linda Sundblad, Johan Bobäck, Fredrik Thomander, Anders Wikström
2. Simon Forsberg – Tid Att Andas
Songwriter: Fredrik Kempe
3. Sara Lumholdt – Enemy
Songwriters: Niclas Lundin, Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad
4. The Playtones – The King
Songwriters: Fredrik Kempe, Peter Kvint
5. Shirley's Angels – I Thought It Was Forever
(The group consists of Shirley Clamp, Vera Prada and Jessica Marberger.)
Songwriters: Robin Abrahamsson, Alexander Bard, Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström
6. Sebastian Karlsson – No One Else Could
Songwriters: Andreas Alfredsson Grube, Sebastian Karlsson
7. Sara Varga – Spring För Livet
Songwriters: Sara Varga och Fredrik Boström
8. Eric Saade – Popular
Songwriter: Fredrik Kempe
As usual for Swedish semi-finals, the competition was decided by televoting.
Saade: A costly favourite
Eric Saade closed off tonight's show with the last act in the running-order. Young Saade shot to fame in Melodifestivalen 2010 with the entry "Manboy", finishing in third place in the final.
His spectacle this time, with the song "Popular", features glass being shattered on stage and reportedly foots a bill of almost 30,000 euros. Eric Saade is generally considered one of the major favourites to win Melodifestivalen and grab the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest ticket.
Sara Lumholdt, performing the song "Enemy", is another artist who has been subject of attention in this semi-final. She was one of the members of the pop group A-Teens, achieving considerable international success performing updated versions of songs by the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest winners ABBA.
The other girl in A-Teens was Marie Serneholt, now hosting Melodifestivalen 2011 together with TV veteran Rickard Olsson. Pop artist Serneholt was the one to introduce her former colleague Sara in tonight's show.
Marie Serneholt: "A huge job"
For Marie Serneholt, the job as a TV host is a new profession. She competed herself in Melodifestivalen 2009 and was a surprise to many when she was revealed as one of the hosts for this year. The hosts of Melodifestivalen have always been successful in the Swedish entertainment business after completing the job.
Marie claims that the hosting job is the biggest thing she has ever done, despite all the international events with A-Teens, where she performed in shows featuring acts like Britney Spears.
"Melodifestivalen is the biggest TV show in Sweden. Before the hosts are revealed, there's always a huge buzz in the media, and to host the contest has become a huge job. It means a lot to do this," Marie says to Eurovision.tv.
But she still dreams of winning as an artist and representing Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest.
"I would love to, it's still a dream. As soon as I find the right song, I will enter it and cross my fingers to get to be part of the competition once again," she says.
Listen to the full Eurovision.tv interview with Marie Serneholt:
Photos: Jenny Staaf (moflostuteri.com)