We took advantage of being inside the Melodifestivalen-bubble this weekend in order to check if things were better back then compared to Melodifestivalen 2018 as many Eurovision fans probably think. Personally, for us watching Melodifestivalen since 2005 and 2008 respectively and having a feeling of disappointment, we – Gil Laufer and Nathan Waddell – had to go out and get some answers.
“We feel that we need to be entertaining as well”
Taking part in Melodifestivalen’s press conference back in November, when this year’s artists were revealed, we asked Christer Björkman, the Executive Producer of the show, what can we expect. “We feel that we need to be entertaining as well”, he explained, “the plan is to have five songs with hit potential and two entertaining ones in every selection show”. With acts like Rolandz, Edward Blom and Mendez, we surely had a lot of entertainment. But is it the fun that the viewers and fans expected to have?
The one leading the tour this year is David Lindgren, who participated in Melodifestivalen three times and now hosting it for the second year in row. “This year’s shows are not so much about joking but about taking an opportunity to make a difference and talk about being who we want to be, along with the different kind of opening numbers we had that – people got to see things they might not be used to.”
“It is harder and harder to get into Melodifestivalen!”
Some of this year’s lineup has already participated in various years in the past. We talk about Benjamin Ingrosso, Samir & Viktor, Mariette, Jessica Andersson and Mendez. Overall, the artists are pleased with this year’s level of competition and production. “There are few humoristic songs, some very serious – it’s the whole range. That’s the point of Melodifestivalen, there should be something for everybody”, says Mariette.
Both Jessica Andersson and Mendez have topped the Melodifestivalen scoreboard during the first years of it being a six shows long tour. “I’m older now, and so I don’t care so much about what people think.”, says Jessica. Back in 2003, I was really aware of everything. Now I’m very proud to be in the final with this song.” Mendez is very pleased with the level of the production compared to his participation in 2002, when his Adrenaline finished second. “It is harder and harder to get in Melodifestivalen, I promise you that, these youngsters are so talented!”, he added.
“Songs that are relevant now are a part of the lineup now”
Turning to these youngsters – that already have some Melodifestivalen experience – we find that they are very satisfied with this year’s contest. “It’s our best year, we are focused. The songs that were relevant back then were a part of the lineup back then. Songs that are relevant now are a part of the lineup now”, commented Samir & Viktor who did a long way from Groupie as newcomers in 2015. “People know my sound and people are kind to me this time, I get a lot of good feedback” adds this year’s top favourite Benjamin Ingrosso.
Ellen Fjästad is a PR manager of Warner Music and represents Samir & Viktor, Mariette and Margaret this year. On behalf of her, she is very satisfied as this year’s entries are topping the Spotify and radio charts in Sweden. “It shows that the people are engaged and it’s not just about watching the shows on TV but people actually like the songs”. The cold reception at the charts that we saw earlier this season was well before the direct finalists were officially released, and things have changed drastically since then.
Things weren’t better then – they are just different now
The main idea that we got from all of the people interviewed is that things are changing and the contest, by its musical terms, is very well a part of the worldwide scene. The change, compared to what Melodifestivalen was a decade ago, might seem odd to a part of the fans, but that’s how it is. Thinking about this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, being used to get a few dozens of electronic pop in English, we can yet again see a huge diversity including pop, hip-hop, opera, traditional music and even metal.
Gustav Dahlander, SVT’s own Mello-expert has declared that things weren’t better then. We add and say that they weren’t better then, they are just different now.
Enjoy tonight’s show, and may the best song win! #nukörvi
You can follow ESCXTRA live at Friends Arena tonight on social media @ESCXTRA. Let us know your views in the comments below and on social media.