She took the hearts of Sweden & Europe all the way back in Heat 1 of Melodifestivalen, and now Cornelia Jakobs will be heading to Turin for Eurovision 2022.
Cornelia will be the first woman to represent Sweden at Eurovision since 2014’s Sanna Nielsen (if we exclude The Mama’s win in 2020).
After a disappointing – well, for Sweden – 14th for the nation in 2021 with ‘Voices’ by Tusse, all eyes were on Sweden to deliver, and ‘Hold Me Closer’ seems to have done just that.
Who Is Cornelia Jakobs?
Anna Cornelia Jakobsdotter Samuelsson – known better as Cornelia Jakobs – is a singer from Stockholm. Her father is Swedish singer & frontman of band The Poodles, Jakob Samuel.
She started her career in 2008 with an audition on the Swedish version of the Idol franchise but ended up being rejected – ironically by Anders Bagge, who she beat in the final of Melfest 2022.
She made her first debut into the musical world professionally in 2010 as a member of Love Generation. Love Generation had moderate success & made music a world away from Cornelia’s current style – they were a pure 2010’s Dance Pop infused girl group. In 2011, they entered Melodifestivalen with ‘Dance Alone’, which lost out in the final Andra Chansen duel. They returned to the contest in 2012 with ‘Just A Little Bit’, but didn’t make it out of the heat. They then changed their name to Stockholm Syndrome, but there hasn’t been much more music from them since 2016.
Cornelia’s solo career started back in 2018, and in 2021 she made her return to Melodifestivalen as a writer for Efraim Leo’s song ‘Best Of Me’, which reached Andra Chansen.
Melodifestivalen 2022 & The ‘Hold Me Closer’ Hype
In 2021, the list of names for Melodifestivalen was revealed & Cornelia wasn’t initially on anyones radar. She was set to perform in Heat 1 alongside more established & well-known artists such as 2017 winner Robin Bengtsson, actor and former FO&O member Omar Rudberg, TikTok star Theoz & Malou Prytz.
When the song clips came out prior to the show, Cornelia suddenly found herself a new fanbase. However, it wasn’t until Heat 1 that Sweden – and European viewers – realised that there really was something special within ‘Hold Me Closer’ – the fact it won that heat rather unexpectedly really sparked interest. Over the weeks momentum only grew despite strong offerings from LIAMOO, Klara Hammarström & Medina. The only hurdle was to beat Swedish national treasure Anders Bagge, which did provide some mild panic from fans that he would take the trophy instead.
The final of Melfest 2022 really was a battle between Anders & Cornelia. Anders won the televote by a landslide, but thanks to the jury it was Cornelia who took the overall lead and won the contest. Sweden’s choice to send a woman with an authentic, self-penned song was welcomed & Cornelia’s selection received one of the most positive receptions to a Melfest winner in years.
How Well Will Cornelia Do At Eurovision?
Well, if you’re willing to, I’d say book a hotel somewhere in Sweden right now for May 2023. It’s the favourite to qualify from semi-final 2 and third in the overall odds to win, so everything seems to be aligning for a Swedish win.
There is slight criticism that fans have been able to build a connection with the song over the course of Pre-ESC season & the reaction solely is based around the new direction for Sweden that casual viewers won’t care for, which is valid. There’s also talk about Cornelia’s vocals & her singing style, but this criticism is subjective to the listener.
Sweden are often a jury favourite and have only started to do badly with the televote since the infamous ‘21 points’ Benjamin Ingrossso received in 2018 – although, Tusse actually did better with the televote last year. ‘Hold Me Closer’ is exactly the type of song that fits the juries criteria & with a probable chunk of around 40+ points heading it’s way from nations like Denmark, Norway, Finland & Iceland, SVT may need to start preparing their finances to host Eurovision now. If it can capture Europe and Australia like it did during the first heat of Melfest, who knows what could happen.
Sweden will perform 17th in SF2, after Belgium & before Czech Republic. Belgium is a borderline qualifier to say the least (you can read more about them by clicking here) & the Czech Republic have a song that is a lot more upbeat, which really could help ‘Hold Me Closer’ standout.
The only two songs really challenging Cornelia right now are ‘Brividi’ from Italy & ‘Stefania’ from Ukraine. Ukraine obviously will do well, not only because it’s a good song but especially in the midst of the Russian Invasion of their country & Italy are sending big stars in Mahmood (2nd place with ‘Soldi’ in 2019) & Blanco, which is sure to spark interest. There is also potential competition from Spain, the UK, Poland & Greece. It is important remember you don’t have to win either jury or televote to win Eurovision, which means if it all goes well, Sweden may end up the middle ground winner & I don’t many people could argue against it.
Will Ireland be losing their title as the sole country with the most wins this May to Sweden? We’ll find out on May 14th.
You can listen to the Swedish entry for ESC 2022 below!
What Do You Think Of Swedens Eurovision 2022 Entry? Do you think we’ll be heading to Stockholm in 2023? Let us know in the comments!