No real surprises with Sweden; Benjamin’s performance is almost identical to the one in Melodifestivalen, except it’s even better. The live backing vocals, and a slightly different mix that brings the vocals further forward improve this immensely. The biggest criticism of this in the lead-in has been that it’s ‘clinical’, but it feels much more alive here. Perhaps MFs move to permit pre-recorded backing voices is part of what’s making that show feel a little flatter? This feels like it’s now got space to breathe.
The camera keeps close focus on the lightbox platform, and only once, about two and a half minutes in, shows that this is placed in the middle of the stage. It gives the performance a feel of a music video rather than live on stage. It’s a relatively new development at Eurovision: Azerbaijan used it to great effect last year for the first half of their boxed-in-room performance, but after Loreen and Måns, Sweden is the undisputed master of this technique. My only criticism is whether they’re at risk of typecasting themselves.
I’d have given this a top 10 placing even before we started, maybe even a top 5, but now it has the potential to go higher. We might, just might, be looking at a seventh Swedish win. It certainly feels more like an authentic attempt to do a contemporary pop song than we’re getting from potentially his biggest rival, neighbouring Norway’s Alexander Rybak.
Image Credits: Andres Putting.