Typically Swedish

Let’s get the Eurovision party started: Melodifestivalen

Melodifestivalen, the national Swedish preselections for the Eurovision Song Contest.

Sweden is great at music. Music is actually their number one export product. I believe the long dark winters have something to do with it. In winter music softens the darkness and in the summer months they celebrate light and warmth and music is always a part of this. While the rest of Europe often is a little giggly about the Eurovision Song Contest, for Sweden it is big business! The Eurovision fever begins in February when Sweden chooses their candidate in the national preselections: Melodifestivalen. A lot of foreigners also watch the show and so they decided to have an English Twitter account as well.

SVT, Swedish radio and TV, organizes Melodifestivalen to select the Swedish candidate for the Eurovision Song Contest. These national preliminaries are immensely popular. About half of the Swedish population is watching! Melodifestivalen is actually more popular in Sweden than the Eurovision contest itself. Many great Swedish artists participate in Melodifestivalen, not only to win a place in the Eurovision Song Contest but mainly because it is a nice promotion for their new single or upcoming album.

Each ‘deltavling‘ takes place in a different city. After the preliminaries, there is Andra Chansen, a second chance for numbers that could not be placed directly. The final takes place in the Friends Arena in Solna (Stockholm).

Melodifestivalen has always been popular but since Christer Björkman is the producer, the program reaches even higher highs and even brought some Eurovision victories to Sweden. I was totally fan girling when I met Christer Björkman at the bar of my hotel at the afterparty of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 in Stockholm! (Sorry, Christer!)

This year is Christer’s last year and they will make something special of it. It will be an exceptional year in the whole. Because of corona a tour through Sweden is not possible this time and all episodes will be recorded without audience on a location in Stockholm.

The history of Melodifestivalen

Melodifestivalen was organized for the first time in 1959. Since 2002, the language for Melodifestivalen is free to choose (in 1999 this already changed for the Eurovision Song Contest) but many Swedish artists still choose for a song in Swedish during the preliminaries. In 1999, Charlotte (then Nilsson, now Perelli) won Melodifestivalen with Tusen och en Natt and performed the English version ‘Take me to your Heaven’ at the big contest.

Since the beginning of Melodifestivalen a jury determines the winner and since 1999, the public can also vote via telephone voting. SVT selects 16 songs from the submitted contributions, and in addition, they hold 15 seats open for artists they invite to participate. The 32th song is from Webbjoker, an online competition for artists whose work is not yet for sale.

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest

Sweden has already won the Eurovision Song Contest 7 times. As you know, the winner can organize the song festival the following year. This happened in Stockholm (1975), Gothenburg (1985), Malmö (1992), Stockholm (2000), Malmö (2013), Stockholm (2016) and Malmö (2024) respectively. They have also consistently finished at the top of the rankings in recent years.

The Swedish winners of the Eurovision Song Contest

1974 – ABBA with Waterloo
1984 – Herrys with Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley
1991 – Carola with Fångad av and stormvind
1999 – Charlotte Nilsson (now Charlotte Perelli) with Take me to your heaven
2012 – Loreen with Euphoria
2015 – Måns Zelmerlöw with Heroes
2023 – Loreen with Tattoo

Melodifestivalen 2024

In 2024, Melodifestivalen starts on February 3. As usual, there is a tour through Sweden. This year’s host cities are Malmö, Gothenburg, Växjö, Eskilstuna and Karlstad. The final will take place in Stockholm on March 9. The presentation is in the hands of Carina Berg and Björn Gustafsson.

I will be ready every Saturday evening on the couch with chips (or some Swedish snacks)! Curious about the participating artists? This Spotify list collects all current participants.

Will you be watching Melodifestivalen? Tune in to SVT Play, Saturday at 20h!

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