Eurovision First Listen: Sweden Selects Sanna Nielsen’s “Undo”

Sanna Nielsen is finally getting a chance to represent Sweden on the Eurovision stage.

After weeks of competition, Sweden has crowned Sanna Nielsen as winner of this year’s Melodifestivalen and as their representative for Eurovision this year.  I don’t often know too many of the artists going into the national finals, but this was an exception – I remembered her performance from the 2011 contest with the song “I’m In Love”, which came in fourth that year (which produced Eric Saade’s whiny “Popular” as the winner).  As it turns out, she’s participated in Melodifestivalen a whopping 7 times since 2001 – this has clearly been a goal she’s wanted to complete.  Now that she’s finally claimed the prize, how’s the song?

Power ballads tend to not be my thing, but this feels like a good one.  There’s a nice emotional and melodic crescendo as the song works to the end, and Sanna’s voice is well-suited to the material.  The chorus’ main lyric of “Undo my sad” feels a little clunky to me (as far as grammar goes), but it gets the point across and fits with the rest of the song.

As far as the performance, I think this is where Sanna’s years of experience with the whole Melodifestivalen system will be an advantage.  She’s a fantastic singer live and can sell the material, which gives her a lead on groups that sound great in the recording but may not be able to produce the same effects live.  The staging for “Undo” seems a little specific to the Melodifestivalen setup – it’ll be interesting to see if the hanging crystals that open the song before rising up make it to Copenhagen.  With a solid performance, I think this has a great chance of getting into the finals.  We’ll see whether Europe agrees with me come May.

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