Melodifestivalen 2016

Alex Mitchell

Political observer and current affairs addict. Northumbria University graduate. Opinionated, my aim is to fuel debate. My favourite questions in life are Why? How? And What? My Favourite answers tend to start with It depends or Yes & No.

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It’s that time of year again folks. With the Eurovision Song Contest just over three months away in Stockholm, we see Sweden warm up this Saturday in its search for the artist and song to represent them on home ground. Melodifestivalen is back and it all kicks off in Göteborg.

56 years of Melodifestivalen

Nearly as old as Eurovision itself, Melodifestivalen enters its 56th year searching for Sweden’s song. For the 15th year in a row the contest will be split into four heats, a second chance ‘Andra Chansen’ round and the final on 12 March.

Each heat contains seven acts. Once all seven acts have performed, the voting lines open. Then two acts from each heat are eliminated with a further round of voting. The act that has gained the most votes is announced and goes directly to the final.

Those acts that placed fourth and fifth in each heat go through to the Andra Chansen round. Lastly, the second place act from each heat is announced and also heads straight to the final.

The second chance round

The second chance round is the week before the final. The Andra Chansen round has adopted a duel style, which pits one song against another. The winner of each duel goes through to the final.

The final

In total, four acts will join the eight heat finalists. The final has a split voting system with a jury and the public vote having a total of 473 points each to share between the acts.

Like Eurovision there is an international jury of a handful of countries who give 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 then 10 and 12 points – which adds up to 473. Then the tele-voting is announced. Acts are awarded a share of the remaining 473 points based on their share of the tele-votes.

Serious business

Since 2000, Melodifestivalen has been Sweden’s most popular television show with almost half the population tuning into the final. Not only that but it is taken seriously – artists and songwriters return year after year in pursuit of the title.

Among the artists who enter, a set number must be first-timers. Anna Book was disqualified just two days before her heat because she had entered a song she had used in Moldova’s selection in 2014 but under a different name.

A winning formula

All songs are revealed on the night of the heats and can’t be previously published. It’s a winning formula, having produced six acts which have gone on to win the Eurovision song contest and 18 acts that placed in the top five. These are acts such as Sanna Nielsen, Eric Saade, Måns Zelmörlow, Loreen Abba, Carola and Charlotte Perrelli.

If you haven’t seen it, why not give it a go, especially if you’re a fan of Eurovision. It has all the wind machines and big dresses of the main event.

You can watch it live on Saturdays at 7pm (GMT) on SVTPlay, which is now available on Chromecast/appstores.

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