Power to the people! Melfest revamps voting system to ensure jury vote doesn’t dominate

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The voting system of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen has been somewhat controversial in recent years, with claims that the jury vote has too much power. Now broadcaster SVT has made a small but significant change to ensure the jury vote can’t dominate the results.

Melfest boss Christer Björkman explained the new system to Aftonbladet. He said, “We want to give the people more power over the result”

In the past, 12 songs competed in the grand final of Melfest, but the international juries only gave points to their top seven songs, awarding 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 point. The public vote, however, applied to all songs.

This meant that while the seventh-ranked song from each jury would receive one point, the eight to 12th-ranked song would all effectively receive nil points, regardless of the quality. A song that might be popular with the televote and less popular with juries could be punished with lower points if it didn’t make it into the jury top seven.

The solution is to expand the range of songs that juries will rank. They will now rank ten of the 12 grand finalists, awarding 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points. The two least popular songs on each jury’s list will still receive nil points.

As Melodifestivalen points are converted to a percentage, it now means that the total jury percentage will be spread between more acts.

The scoring system revamp follows the controversy at Melodifestivalen 2018. The televote winner was Nano with “Hold On”, closely followed by Wiktoria with “As I Lay Me Down” and Robin Bengtsson with “I Can’t Go On”. However, the international jury effectively decided who the winner was, as their definite favourite Robin B had a high enough score to keep his lead with the close televote results.

However, Björkman insists the new system was not done as a result of 2017. He told Aftonbladet, “It’s not linked to that criticism at all, it’s healthy and should be there. One should respond. But we want to give the people more power over the result.”

Fans have noted that since the introduction of the Melodifestivalen app, which makes it cheaper and easier to vote, the televote results have been very close.

At Melodifestivalen 2017, there was only eight points between the first and fourth favourite songs in the televote. The final eight songs only had eight points between them, with all the points clusters around the 30s.

Melodifestivalen is known for sometimes having controversial differences between juries and televoters.

In 2013, televote winner Yohio with “Heatbreak Hotel” missed out on Eurovision when jury favourite Robin Stjernberg won the overall vote. While the following year, the jury favoured Ace Wilder with “Busy Doin’ Nothin'”, but Swedish televoters’ love for Sanna Nielsen sent her to Copenhagen.

But for Sweden’s two recent Eurovision wins — Loreen’s “Euphoria” and Måns Zelmerlöw’s “Heroes” — both the jury and televote have ranked the songs as their overall favourite. A good omen for Eurovision success!

The new voting system won’t affect the semi-final qualifiers, which are selected by 100% televote. The new system will be seen for the first time at the grand final of Melfest 2018 on 10 March 2018.

What do you think? Will the new voting system good mean a fairer result? How should the Melfest winner be decided? Share your thoughts below!

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