Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Melodifestival is back!

It starts this Saturday in Malmö, then makes its way around the country each Saturday until the grand finale in Stockholm on March 8. The format is the same: 8 acts for each of the first 4 weeks, followed by a "second chance" round. The 10 winners slug it out in the final for the right to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest.

As I've written before, Sweden has the longest and most elaborate selection process of any country by far. They are usually the last to name their representative; many other countries have a single show to select their winning song. Others are selected by a jury of experts, with no public input at all.

Not the Swedes, however! Half of the Melodifestival's 32 acts are chosen purely by the public; the other half are chosen by 'experts.' The public vote is a huge, although not sole, determiner in choosing the winner. Swedish state television (SVT) has the right to overrule the public vote if they believe the  vote is inappropriate (say, for a comedy or protest act that has no chance of winning).

I will keep up with the contest events, of course. The SVT website for the Melodifestival has a great deal of info about the contest and contestants.  It also has put up a superb data analysis tool which is fascinating. Data on every song by every artist for every year can be looked at in many different ways. For example, which country has given Sweden the most points over the years? (No surprise: Norway. The fewest? Montenegro.)

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