Melodifestivalen 2021 - Nu kör vi!
“Melody nummer ett”, three of the greatest words in the Swedish language.
Anyone who follows me on twitter will know how much of a Melodifestivalen fan I am. For six weeks in February and March I am glued on a Saturday night to the four semi-finals, the second chance round and the grand finale of what is possibly the greatest Eurovision pre-selection contest in existence.
There are so many reasons to get invested into Melodifestivalen and over the last few years it’s garnered more and more international attention and 2021 see SVT, for the first time, broadcast the final with an English language commentary to allow us all to understand the magic.
But what is Mello; and why is it so popular?
Melodifestivalen was created by Swedish broadcaster SVT to select its entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. It began life as a radio broadcast with twelve songs, before becoming an annual television event. It wasn’t until 2002 that it became a six-week juggernaut including 32 songs from both new and well-established artists from Sweden.
Developed by “Mr Mello”- Christer Bjorkman; the show normally tours various towns and cities around Sweden for four semi-finals where two songs automatically go “Direckt til Finale” and another two head to the “Andra Chansen” where eight songs battle it out for 4 spaces in the grand final held in one of the biggest arenas in Stockholm in front of thirty thousand people – and that’s just in the arena. In 2012; over an estimated four million people watched Loreen romp to victory with Euphoria; that’s almost half of the Swedish population.
It’s a lot to take in isn’t it?
The format has produced six Eurovision winners and no less than twenty-four, top five finishes at Eurovision, which has led to Sweden being one of the most successful countries in the contest and that has been down to the development and evolution of the competition throughout the years. Its image has changed substantially but yet one word has continually described its music; Schlager – a German word which translated means the word; “hit”. In Sweden, there is a love/hate relationship with Schlager; and this has been prevalent in Mello. Over recent years Schlager sounding tracks have struggled to reach the final with Swedes voting for more contemporary tracks.
Schlager, however, has made a comeback over recent years with artists such as Lina Hedlund and her schlager-heavy track Victorious going Direckt til Finale in 2019 and dansband Arvingarna successfully qualifying to the final in 2018 with their song ‘I Do’.
2021 saw Melodifestivalen develop again; with the contest taking over the Annexet in Stockholm for six weeks, without an audience to comply with Covid-19 regulations; and tonight sees 12 acts battle it out to represent Sweden in Rotterdam in May. Returning artists such as Eric Saade, Dotter, Danny Saucedo and Eurovision winning Charlotte Perrelli all hoping to win the “Song Bird” once again. Following the cancellation of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest; the Mamas are back to reclaim their title and finally belt it out in Rotterdam.
Melfest continues to grow internationally; with a plethora of fans from all over the world which can only be a testament to the competition with its varying sounds; it’s first class production; and the international language of song. 2021 will set the competition broadcast with an English commentary for the first time. Regularly trending worldwide on Twitter and influencing other countries Pre-Selections showing the Swedes are the true powerhouse of Eurovision and the international music scene.
Who will win Mello 2021? We will find out tonight – in what is sure to be one of the closest races in recent years. Will we be finally experiencing Mama-dam in May?
Tune in tonight on SVT1 or SVTPlay to find out;
“Svergies; vi har ett resultalt!”