In the age of the internet, nothing slips past Eurovision fans. So much so that today, just hours after fans heard a 15-second clip of Anna Book‘s Melodifestivalen entry “Himmel för två”, red flags were raised and an investigation launched by Swedish broadcaster SVT. The result? Miss Book will be allowed to sing her entry “Heaven for Two” during the first semi-final in Gothenburg, but she cannot compete.

Officials scrutinised the song due to its obvious similarities with Felicia Dunaf’s entry “Taking Care of a Broken Heart” from the Moldovan selection O melodie pentru Europa 2014. Swedish broadcaster SVT then held a press conference at 20:15 to announce the outcome, as reported in Aftonbladet.

Watch the Anna Book Mello-Drama press conference

We were on the scene inside the press conference room at the time of the announcement. Christer and the entire SVT crew were highly upset by the turn of events. Anna was not aware that the song had previously competed elsewhere, and there was a huge sense of sympathy for her after her many weeks of rehearsal and commitment.

SVT’s press release on Anna Book’s disqualification

The contribution “Himmel för två” is disqualified from Melodifestivalen 2016. The reason is that the song was featured in the Moldovan selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. Thus, the song was sung in public and it was also available online.

It emerged that “Himmel för två”, written by Sven-Inge Sjöberg, Lennart Wastesson, Larry Forsberg and Camilla Läckberg, had already participated in the Moldovan tryouts so is disqualified with immediate effect from Melodifestivalen 2016. In Moldova the song competed with the title “Taking care of a broken heart. ”

“Our rules are crystal clear. The song was published before the competition so it may not take part in the contest. This is of course deeply unfortunate for everyone involved and I really feel for Anna Book, who is hard hit by this,” said Christer Björkman, executive producer for Melodifestivalen.

A sombre Christer Bjorkman makes the announcement that Anna is out:

In the age of the Internet, nothing slips passed Eurovision fans. So much so that today, just hours after fans heard a 15-s clip of Anna Book‘s Melodifestivalen entry “Himmel for tva”, red flags were raised and an investigation launched by Swedish broadcaster SVT. The result? Miss Book will be allowed to sing her entry “Heaven for Two” during the first semi final in Gothenburg, but she cannot compete. Officials scrutinised the song due to its obvious similarities with Felicia Dunaf’s entry “Taking Care of a Broken Heart” from the Moldovan selection O melodie pentru Europa 2014. Swedish broadcaster SVT then held a press conference at 20:15 to announce the outcome, as reported in Aftonbladet. #melodifestivalen #Melfest

A photo posted by wiwibloggs (@wiwibloggs) on

Anna Book – “Himmel för två”

Felicia Dunaf- “Taking Care of a Broken Heart”

The song has different lyrics — Anna Book’s version is in Swedish, after all, with the completely new Swedish lyrics written by crime novelist (and Melfest fan) Camilla Läckberg. But the melody is practically identical. You can’t really call it plagiarism, though: the song was written by the same authors! Call it a case of recycling…

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CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Too bad they didn’t have a contingency plan in place, to summon alternates in the event one or more people withdrew or were DQ’d.

Michelle Tophamr
Guest

They should have allowed her to sing another song, if she could get one in time. It wasn’t her fault. Feel sad for her.

2015
Guest
2015

I was hoping they had replaced her or let her sing another song, cause now it feels like there are only 27 songs at melodifestivalen

macus (Day One)
Guest
macus (Day One)

Because Sweden has never used a recycled song before *cough*2001*cough*

Rayman
Guest
Rayman

In an article published in December last year, where the songwriters of “Himmel för två” were interviewed, they actually mentioned the song’s original title “Taking Care of A Broken Heart”. Camilla Läckberg then wrote the Swedish lyrics, while the songwriters were seemingly unaware that the Moldovan broadcaster already had published the song. So it took two whole months and the release of the snippets for everyone to realize how matters actually were.

http://www.gd.se/noje/musik/aterigen-firar-forsberg-wastesson-sjoberg-mello-antagningar-med-friterad-banan

Interestingly, the article also mentions that the song was originally intended for Bananarama, but that the collaboration didn’t lead anywhere.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Robyn: The song that Felicia Dunaf qualified with (for O Melodie 2014) was “The Way I Do”. If she entered this other song, it didn’t make it to the live audition round.

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

“Wouldn’t the songwriters have to know they are plagiarizing another song?” They weren’t plagiarizing anything. They wrote the song. Two years ago. And they submitted it to the Moldovan NS. You’re allowed to rip yourself off (as long as your publishers are cool with it). You’re just not allowed to enter the result in Melfest. I can think of several reasons this is nobody in particular’s fault. Aside from the possibility that they didn’t know Moldova had publicized it, it’s also quite possible that they thought it was OK since Hasse Andersson got away with the exact same thing last… Read more »

Jake
Guest
Jake

does Anna Book not have another song they can swap out with?
I would imagine if this is her comeback they would be working on her album and can give her one of those songs or another song that was rejected from the 2000 entered

it’s funny because of Christer’s veil of secrecy that something like this only comes to light after rehearsals begin…we’ve had similar situations this year with Denmark and Norway and they have been able to address them because snippets and full songs were released prior to show

Adam
Guest
Adam

How does this happen? Wouldn’t the songwriters have to know they are plagiarizing another song? I didn’t think it was in Swedish culture to be corrupt or lie

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Jonas: It’s especially frustrating as Camilla Lackberg’s contribution to the song (the lyrics) is the one wholly originally part!

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

Robyn, yeah maybe, but if they let it slide this time then it’s setting an unwelcome precedent for the future. Rules is rules, kids.

I didn’t realize this was co-written by Camilla Lackberg. She’s a great crime novelist, so I feel bad for her too, on this, her first attempt at Melodifestivalen.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

To be honest, outside of Moldovan/Romanian Melfest fans, there aren’t many people who would have picked up on this. I mean, I watched O melodie 2014 and I don’t even remember that song.

SVT likely accepted the song in good faith, from established songwriters with a good reputation. It’s a terrible thing for SVT, given Melfest’s reputation, but they’ve done the right thing.

From all accounts, Anna Book is a much loved performer, and she’ll probably bring the house down, regardless 🙂

fikri
Guest
fikri

embarassing. first the charlotte pirelli hosting duty and now this? but i do respect SVT being transparent about this.

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

Anthony :- Thanks for the explanation but I think everyone know that facts!! I just can’t believe nobody at SVT realised what happening and fans had to make the connection.

Hippo
Guest
Hippo

How do these songwriters keep thinking they’ll get away with it?
We’ve already had Xuso Jones ripping of a Cyprus entry, Anja Nissen using someone else’s two year old song, and artists left right and centre using pre relaeased songs.

Getting silly.

MGR
Guest
MGR

For me Alexey Gross with “Flame” always will be the winner of Eurovision Song Contest 2016.

Anthony Ko
Editor

@EugeneESCUK, Anna’s entry is from the same composing team behind Felicia Dunaf’s unsuccessful O Melodie Pentru Europa 2014 entry. “Himmel för två” is basically a Swedish version of “Taking Care Of A Broken Heart”.

And before all this happened, Stéphanie Palazzo was originally one of the 6 finalists in Switzerland before she was disqualified as her entry was published before under a French title in 2013.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Please explain how it’s SVT:s fault? If anyone should be blamed it’s the writers who slapped on poor Anna their recycled material. They should have known about the risks of doing so. They couldn’t even give her an original song? What were they thinking? But in the end I don’t think we should play the blame game. The writers weren’t aware that Moldova uploaded it online, and SVT could have noticed it earlier but with about 2000 entries to listen it was hard to really notice copies. And no one figured it was a copy until both songs were released.… Read more »

MGR
Guest
MGR

This whole world is one great lie.

pole
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pole

@Eugene how the hell is that SVT’s fault??? Do explain.

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

2016 is certainly turning out to be the year of the recycled song, if we did not already know that. But this?

Very disappointing SVT.

Sami
Guest
Sami

@Mike – that would be just taking off the money from the voters. What would be the point for them to vote for Anna’s songs, if it didn’t have chances to win or even qualify?

davve
Guest
davve

very unprofessional by SVT. this is the second year in a row.. and the songwriters must be completely insane…

Freyah
Guest
Freyah

I feel sad for Anna, seeing as this was a Melfest comeback. I’m surprised SVT didn’t pick this up earlier, even if the song didn’t make it into O Melodie Pentru Europa. Oh well, frankly I doubt it would have made Andra Chansen, still sad though

Charles
Guest
Charles

Fine by me … either Swedish copy pasted version and Moldovan original one … or should I say “the same thing” … just is lame and average and … #ain’tgotnotimeforbs … Bye felicia 🙂

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I feel sorry for poor Anna – and hope this doesn’t reflect too badly on her. It’s not remotely her fault. Even though she can sing it once in the semi-final, that will be it – no Andra Chansen, no final – so limited publicity in any case. She deserves better. Hopefully they make it up to her next year.

Andreas
Guest
Andreas

When you submit a song to SVT you have to sign a document to confirm that the song you are submitting have not been previously released or performed. The writers of Anna Books song was apparently unaware that the Moldovan broadcaster would upload all the song online. They thought that since they didn’t make it through to the live shows they could submit it to SVT and Melodifestivalen instead…

Jacques
Guest
Jacques

Melodifestivalen started with a lot of drama this year!

oooops
Guest
oooops

If everybody were giving plagiarism so much attention, esc would have been cancelled 4ever 4 real in 1970(they were going to do that)

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

OW! That’s gotta hurt. Methinks soon enough SWE will drop a spot on the bookies’ board, unless the songs from Ace or Molly S. sound almost unbeatable.

If it is DQ’d, why are they letting her sing it? It serves no purpose for the contest, unless they are simply allowing the performance for entertainment value. If it were up to me, I’d have no choice but to remove her and the performance from the stage. This is a contest, first and foremost.

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

Guess now we know whether or not SVT were OK with the Hasse Andersson thing.

(For those who missed it – it was exactly the same situation. Composers recycling an old melody line, in this case originally used for a Japanese boyband. https://vimeo.com/121010274 )

AberSam
Guest
AberSam

@Thiefo

They’ve already decided to disqualify it from the competition, she can perform though, there isn’t much left to guess at.

Thiefo
Guest

I made my comment a minute too early 😛 But again, how embarrassing of SVT for not noticing this first!

dave
Guest
dave

do people here not read the article before making comments?

The journalist very kindly pointed out to you – Miss Book will be allowed to sing her entry “Heaven for Two” during the first semi final in Gothenburg, but she cannot compete”

AnesBosna
Guest
AnesBosna

@Rayman
Christer did also say that both him and the team were extremely shocked over the discovery. Anna Book is also very shocked and unhappy about this as well.
Rules are rules, but I still feel so sorry for Anna 🙁
I wish they discovered this some months before the actuall competition, but when they were looking around 2000 entries, it was quite hard to discover any copies…

Thiefo
Guest

Haha I was ready to dismiss this one as yet another case of two songs sounding remotely alike and people shouting “Plagiarism!” without sense but… no, this time I gotta admit these two songs are pretty much identical hah! Will be interesting to see the outcome of this, Melfest starts the day after tomorrow, if it gets disqualified, what? There’s no time to change the song I guess, and giving the spot to another performer is out of the question at this point too. Would we have a semifinal with just 6 songs? But anyway, I’m pretty sure SVT already… Read more »

DR
Guest
DR

Two sort of scandles in a week. Melodifestivalen crown is stating slip a little herd. Bit embarrassing when they are hosting the whole thing this May.

Rayman
Guest
Rayman

Christer just said the song is now disqualified. Poor Anna! Christer and the gang looked quite sad, too.

AberSam
Guest
AberSam

It has been disqualified, SVT isn’t pretending anything

davve
Guest
davve

@wiwibloggs…ANNA BOOK HAS BEEN DISQUALIFIED. AND IS VERY UPSET. BJÖRKMAN IS HOLDING A PRESS CONFERENCE RIGHT NOW.

Hannes
Guest
Hannes

It is the same song writers, so yeah, it is kind of the same song 😛

davve
Guest
davve

it is identical. SVT will likely pretend it is not and just let it compete…… but if they should follow their own rules and the rules of ESC Anna Books song should be disqualified immediately.