Melodifestivalen has worked itself into a good place with an exceptionally high general level of songs and performances, but maybe it came at the expense of some edge and some originality.
There was always Loreen, of course, but our final lineup is pretty void of surprises. Most of the songs are clearly better than most of the other songs selected for the ESC this year while none of them feels strong enough to win.
But then again - Sweden won twice since 2012 and maybe it is good for them to take a tiny step back this year and leave room for something else. And to come back next year with more quirk and more surprises.
What about tonight's entries, then? One thing is clear: if the international juries have a clear favourite, then they will decide the winner and could possibly fully run over the televote results.
01. Ace Wilder / Wild Child
Ace is my girl and she never lets me down - also tonight she is my personal favourite and the one I secretly hope for the juries to sprinkle their top points over. It seems to totally lack momentum, though, and being the cheerful opener is seldom a way to MF success these days.
02. Boris René / Her Kiss
The first of many songs impeccably put together in order to score a radio hit. This one is happy and inoffensive and would be absolutely nothing without Boris and his energetic presence.
03. Lisa Ajax / I Don't Give A
A sharp young performer like Lisa would really deserve better material than this. Despite the attempt of a climax by the end it never takes off. Not a contender.
04. Robin Bengtsson / I Can't Go On
Contrary to many others, I find this song too generic to suit Robin's personality. He just feels replaceable - like a visitor in his own entry. The song in itself is ok but far from the smash hit I had hoped for. A potential winner, nevertheless.
05. Jon Henrik Fjällgren & Aninia / En värld full av strider
Jon Henrik is very easy to like and this entry has its moments, but above all it would have needed to make its mind up what kind of entry it is. Is it a duet? Is one of them the guest star? If so - who is the guest and who is the star? Not coherent enough but not a bad song.
06. Anton Hagman / Kiss You Goodbye
This is where Loreen was supposed to come in. Instead we have a delightfully charming young man with a guitar. I can deal with that but Anton is here to gather experience, not to win.
07. Mariette / A Million Years
My second favourite to win, but it is not going to happen. Too polished and too chilled. Plus Mariette apparently sang badly yesterday when the juries were listening. But it is a beautiful number and a very good song.
08. The FO&O / Gotta Thing About You
A really solid album track / third single made it into the final and why not? The boys dance well and sing quite well - most of the time at least - and got a radio hit out of it. That will have to do.
09. Nano / Hold On
A brilliant contemporary soul/gospel-flavoured pop song that would have needed a stronger live performance to fully shine. Nano doesn't really have what it takes. A shame.
10. Wiktoria / As I Lay Me Down
She improved her entry from last year and is the big favourite to win. I have a feeling she will, but for me this song outstayed its welcome too soon. After three listenings it just felt hollow and empty. But then again - I never understood the thing about Fame back in the day either.
11. Benjamin Ingrosso / Good Lovin
Smooth and pleasant - another made-for-radio-effort. Despite good vocals and a good performance, this doesn't really seem like a contender at all but could be a surprise in the making.
12. Owe Thörnqvist / Boogieman Blues
The comedy break if you so wish. Owe is a true legend and should have won Melodifestivalen hands down back in his heyday. In 1959 or so. Will come nowhere near a victory but could end surprisingly high up in the televote. Brace yourselves.
So how will this end? This is what I think:
2) Robin Bengtsson
3) Jon Henrik Fjällgren & Aninia
But if I got to choose freely, I'd send Mariette or Ace Wilder to Kyiv. They'd live the place up more than I fear Wiktoria's song will.
As per usual, I will live tweet during tonight's show. Feel free to follow and to talk back at me.