Rehearsals began today in Jönköping, Sweden for the first semifinal of this year's Swedish selection known as Melodifestivalen. esctoday.com was at the first rehearsal and can now give you a small preview of the first performances in Saturday's program. esctoday.com joins 177 accredited journalists from the Swedish and European media in bringing you full coverage of the entire Melodifestivalen selection.
Elin Lanto kicked off today's rehearsals at 10 o'clock this morning with her song Money; the performance was fantastic for this very well choreographed number reminiscent of a Max Martin production. After Elina rehearsed her song 5 times it was time for Andersson & Gibson to have a go with their 5 opportunities to sing Anything but you. Theirs is a very beautiful song, and a very nice performance.
Then it was time for the big comeback of Anna Book who entered the stage with 5 dancers and performeda very strong "Eurovision-style" Swedish schlager song called Samba sombrero. The performance was great. Although she had a few small vocal problems during the rehearsal, she was quickly back on track. This is a very strong entry and a good contender for the final.
After Anna it was time for some current music in the song Clubbin from the group Addis Black Widow. In the first rehearsals they seemed a bit lost on the stage and had a few problems. Perhaps this is a case of nerves; time will tell if they can get more comfortable and work through these issues.
Next came Andreas Lundstedt and his entry Move. Andreas delivered an outstanding performance with amodern uptemposong. If the rehearsal is any indication Andreas and his girls have a good shot at qualifying for the final in Globen.
Finally a few words on the stage design: it is fabulous. The design features a large staircase and a catwalk plus a huge video screen making it a perfect set for all the songs and performances. It is clear that the Swedish broadcaster SVT has once again demonstrated a large commitment to the Melodifestivalen selection.
The next 3 songs by Tommy Nilsson, Soifa Berntsson and Uno & Irma will rehearse after a short cofee-break. We will of course be back with more detailed news, interviews and photos later today and over the forthcoming days.
The opening party will take place after today's rehearsals at a place called "Twin City". esctoday.com will be there and will bring you details of the festivities tomorrow.