Directly after the Melodifestivalen 2018 final took place, Nathan Waddell spoke to Christer Björkman, Contest Producer. He confirms to ESCXTRA.com that overall, he is satisfied with this year’s competition but admits that improvements could be made to the app vote.
“I love the app…but I do see a problem there”
In a quick interview with ESCXTRA immediately after the show, we talked to Christer Björkman about a range of issues such as his reaction to this year’s show, the running order in the final and the all-important voting system.
Asked whether he was happy with the additional points which the international juries were able to award this year, which in turn boosted the points that the public also gave out to their favourite entries, Mr. Björkman told us that he thought it was a good move.
I am happy with the change. It’s more fair to the public that their vote counts as much. By spreading out the points over ten songs, that happens. So it was a good move, yep.
However, as noted by many observers online whilst the televoting results were being revealed, whilst more points were on offer this year, the spread of points from 12th to 1st was the smallest yet. Only 30 points separated first place from last place in the televote. Last place with the public, Jessica Andersson, received 37 points. Winning artist, Benjamin Ingrosso, received just 67.
The margin between 1st place and 2nd place after the juries had voted was 20 points, meaning it was almost impossible for Felix Sandman to chase down Benjamin Ingrosso with the televoting so densely spread.
When asked about how he viewed the app vote this year, Mr. Björkman noted that the jury still has a large sway in the results.
I’m not sure about that really, to be honest. I think we will look closely at how we should use the app. I love the app because it engages people highly but I do see a problem there, that [the televoting result] becomes so tight. It also still means the jury still has a big say. This time, the two votes agreed so that is fantastic. This year, we have to look at it and consider even whether the heart should be shown or not on screen because some people sit with timers and actually figure it out so, we have things to look at
In discussing the way the app vote is distributed, Mr. Björkman suggested that changes may need to be made in order to keep the app vote relevant in the Final.
My view is that it’s one thing in the qualification round and it’s another for the final. For the final, viewers can actually give their favourite entries 5 hearts, next favourites 4 hearts, all the way to 1 heart before they see the acts perform as they know the songs already, so they don’t have to really think as they see. They can decide their vote much sooner. I think we can look at two different ways of doing the app vote.
“I started with Mendez for nostalgic reasons”
The running order for the Final was, this year, commended by many for its high energy opening and closing acts. ESCXTRA enquired as to how Mr. Björkman assembled the twelve songs with specific reference to Mendez opening the show with “Everyday” and Rolandz closing the show with “Fuldans”.
I started with Mendez for nostalgic reasons. He was our first number one when we started the tour in 2002 and coming back 17 years later with a really good, catchy song, I felt he has to start. It’s a good party song and a good start to the show. I wanted to finish with something that’s incredibly Swedish that everybody in this country can relate to and to finish off the party, that was my idea with Rolandz.
In terms of the competition this year, Mr. Björkman assured us that he was happy with the way things had gone and with which acts had made Saturday night’s Final at Friends Arena in Stockholm.
Yup, I am very, very happy. Everything that I thought from before went to the final. In the best of worlds, that’s when you get a variety like this. So you have show pieces, really really good pieces that can do well at Eurovision and so I loved it. I loved that it was different from one song to another with different temperaments, temperatures and energies.
Benjamin Ingrosso wins – but was it ever in doubt?
The full Melodifestivalen 2018 results are expected to follow this week. We will soon find out which songs won their semifinals and if any act was lucky to qualify through to Andra chansen or to the Final itself.
Benjamin Ingrosso won the Final by a margin of 23 points. He earned the Swedish ticket to Lisbon, Portugal by winning over the international juries and then securing victory with a 0.5% margin in the televote over runner-up Felix Sandman.
ESCXTRA will continue to bring you all the latest in the aftermath of Melodifestivalen 2018 in the coming days as well as keep you up to date ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
Was Benjamin Ingrosso your favourite on Saturday night? Let us know in the comments below. You can also find our photos from behind-the-scenes in Stockholm on Instagram @ESCXTRA. To see what we thought of the show live from the arena, take a look at our live tweets @ESCXTRA.