He may be known as Mr Melodifestivalen, but Christer Björkman has said the UK should stop mocking the Eurovision Song Contest and enter the semi-finals if they’re to have any chance of winning the contest again.

Speaking to i News at a London lecture ahead of Stockholm’s Polar Music Prize, the Eurovision 2016 producer says Joe and Jake’s entry “You’re Not Alone” would continue the UK’s recent Eurovision struggles, and commentary from the late Sir Terry Wogan was also to blame.

“Joe and Jake is a fairly good song and the boys are charming. It’s a step in the right direction but no, it won’t win. If you sent another Katrina singing “Love Shine a Light”, that would make a huge difference.”

“Terry Wogan did the commentary for 25 years and it was always mocking. Now Graham Norton also has this flippant tone. It doesn’t work. It’s a lot easier to joke than to win.”

Björkman also suggested the UK should give up their Big 5 status and compete at the semi-finals.

“I can understand why you don’t risk taking that step but if you look at the songs that travel, they start in the semi-final and they become stronger and stronger during the week. Conchita wasn’t even mentioned as one of the favourites before the semi-final and then she became a shooting star – that’s only because she revealed herself before. And you need to do that.”

Christer Björkman has dismissed claims of block voting, which has often been brought up in the UK, urging the country to instead start taking the Eurovision Song Contest seriously.

“[Block voting] is something you’ve made up. You sound like the French now. We all love you. We all want you to be good in this competition. It’s just that you don’t send any good stuff. Why don’t you?”

“You have to say ‘we are taking this seriously and we will not stop doing it until we succeed. You have to accept what Eurovision is – it’s not a singing competition or a song competition, it is music entertainment.”

He also added a British version of Melodifestivalen judged by Simon Cowell would improve the quality of the UK entries.

Do you agree with him? Should the UK start taking the Eurovision Song Contest more seriously?

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[…] nos ofrece una interesante teoría que paso a reproducir en su integridad: “Creo que lo que dijo Bjorkman iba por la forma en la que Reino Unido se toma Eurovisión hoy por hoy -sistemáticamente a […]

Jake
Guest
Jake

Christer is right about what he says, but is wrong about saying it. The person who is in charge of producing this year’s show and is responsible for putting the best possible show for all countries involved should not be going on record and saying “this country’s song will NOT win the contest”. He is showing bias before the UK even steps in Swedish soil– that means he will not give the performance the time a day on the night.

G
Guest
G

He is right

malfidus
Guest
malfidus

I agree with him about Wogan — he was far too cynical and even a bit bitter by the end. I think Graham Norton is a big step in the right direction; he finds a better balance between the irreverent and the more serious, and he’s obviously passionate about the contest. I’d like to see him take the contest more seriously in general, but it’s important to have a light touch too. In any case, it’s unprofessional for Christer Björkman to pass judgement on one of this year’s entries given his role in helping host the contest. He’s right that… Read more »

bella
Guest
bella

He shouldnt have tell that! Maybe he is right but he will harm Frans.People is angry with Sweden.But its not Frans fault.

Maya G
Guest
Maya G

So now Björkman teaches the world how good music should sound like? How condescending.
Sweden is rightfully doing well in the ESC, and the UK should indeed up their game (though I think their song this year is awesome), but the Swedes should practice some effing humility. They didn’t invent music, Eurovision is not their play thing and the sun doesn’t out of their a***.
Also it’s not cool the he’s making this statement when involved in this year’s production and therefore has some power to make or break Jake & Joe.

Fafefifo
Guest
Fafefifo

I also think ESC should be more about “serious music” than “light entertainment”. I think the Swedish version is too much “kitsch”..too much glamour. If you want to see someone who really succeeds with making it serious as a music event…look at Estonia! Eesti laul has got many fans about ESC_fans, because of the “alternative” angle to it, and the focus on content more than visuals, and a more healthy musical credible “less is more attitude”. I’d like to add one thing. OK – I’ll be the first to admit the Swedish domination with ESC is TOO big. With all… Read more »

Peter Haine
Guest
Peter Haine

What a silly man – he takes himself far too seriously. Surely everyone knows that this competition is just one huge joke? Terry Wogan taught us all how to treat it!

Pip
Guest
Pip

To be honest, the only thing that annoys me about Björkman’s comments is this idea of taking Eurovision ‘seriously’. I love Eurovision but for me, it doesn’t have to be 100% serious. The whole point of Eurovision was for countries to be united in a singing competition so whether you send a modern upbeat pop song, a dubstep operatic vampire or a killer ballad, it doesn’t matter. I actually am just happy to see countries send anything to the contest because I like it when more countries take part (and this year we’ve got Bulgaria, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina… Read more »

Fafefifo
Guest
Fafefifo

On a general level, one can of course say as a “principle” that one should not interfere too much with other people’s business! BUT that doesn’t apply here I think! Like it or not – Christer is actually in this case 135 % SPOT ON! 🙂 I think if you compare UK and Sweden, there is no doubt Sweden wins 10-0 over UK in the footballmatch of “Which country takes ESC most seriosuly!” Of course – it’s not politially correct to “diss” someone who jut recently passed. But sentimentality aside, I hardly can’t honestly say Wogan (or even Norton now)… Read more »

Andrey (from Russia)
Guest
Andrey (from Russia)

Ooh… Definitely, Bjorkman is afraid of these handsome young UK guys, because they are supposed to steal lots of voices from his gloomy and dull hipster-Frans. And I like his nightmare – I like it so much! 🙂

Petit voisin
Guest
Petit voisin

KEEP CALM
AND
F***
Christer Björkman !!

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

For me, the most surprising thing coming out of this was that Graham Norton was attacked. I thought he was held in very high regard by the Eurovision cognoscenti, but this can no longer be true. I liked Graham in the 90s/00s when he was more of a cult figure on Channel 4, but with the BBC he’s got a bit too Hollywood with boring film stars on his chat show week after week.

Amor A.
Guest
Amor A.

I agree with what he said. The U.K has produced some of the biggest music acts in history in the past and in the present music industry. Yet for some reason they don’t take the competition seriously at all. From the 50s to the late 90s they used to dominate ESC almost always placing in the top 10. But now its like “oh well”.

David Who
Guest
David Who

The British papers went with the angle that Sir Terry Wogan was not only criticised, but disrespected. Indeed, they have a point there. Was Bjorkman unprofessional to talk down a delegation before the competition? Hypocritical yes, but unprofessional? I’m not sure. If a delegation really isn’t taking the contest seriously then it might be considered professional to call them out in the press these days – I really don’t know who holds Bjorkman to account on that, or if there are any “professional” guidelines to follow for that position. (I’m sure someone will enlighten me on that soon.) I agree… Read more »

PhysalisFranchetti
Guest

@Denis I agree that block voting is not as prominent as it was back in the televoting years, but Russia still very nearly wins every year. Their worst performance recently was with the Tolmachevy twins, and they came 7th then (after having got into the situation with the Ukraine and with some anti-gay laws rattified at the same time). And that’s the point, the voting blocks don’t guarantee a win – think of it as trying to get over a 3m wall, we’re standing on the bottom and they are on a shelf about 2m up. I believe that it… Read more »

Skandar
Guest
Skandar

The only problem with his opinion that he mixed poor J&J guys up in the issue with BBC. All other sentences were true.

WillFran
Guest
WillFran

This made the front page of the Mirror today, but he doesn’t come across well on it. It had a tone of ‘Silly foreniger dares criticise British/attack our late Wogan’ and was rather anti esc (as you’d expect from a tabloid).
I think they should take all the scorn and venom they have for Eurovision and direct it at the X Factor instead (hate that show but they obsess over it).
I don’t think Cowell has real interest in the contest but only says things like this after bad results just to keep his name in the papers.

Denis
Guest
Denis

Block voting is still there yes, but it’s not as prominent as it was back then. It plays less of an outcome now, otherwise Russia wood have won every year with the amount of neighbours and diaspora they have. So it’s a mix. And yes, the Brits have been somewhat arrogant to the whole thing. Terry Wogan towards the end of hi career especially made it very obvious he couldn’t care less about it. Norton although softened has continued in that vein of “our song really is the best so let’s laugh at everyone else”. And blame politics when we… Read more »

PhysalisFranchetti
Guest

Personally, I’ve never forgiven the ESC for challenging Malta about the 12 points that they gave to us in 2007. Go and listen to the 2007 voting again – it’s ridiculous. The Scandinavians voted for the Scandinavians and the Eastern block voted for the Eastern block. All that was going on and they directed their criticism solely at Malta? You know that little country with less than 0.5 million inhabitants. Totally surreal!

Karen
Guest
Karen

#what a twat

PhysalisFranchetti
Guest

@davve most of the songs sent since 2006 and forward has been more or less bad. True, but the reason why they have been worse than we could have produced is because of the voting blocks. No-one with an existing career in the UK will go to Eurovision (and even if the acts will, their managers will not let them go). This has been stated by the BBC and well reported in the press. And it is not just the UK, other countries have been in the same situation. The Netherlands for example didn’t get out of the semis for… Read more »

Simon
Guest
Simon

I don’t blame the UK as a country as much as I blame the BBC. They’ve failed to get a great singer and great song consistently.

Julian
Guest
Julian

UK should follow the glorious steps of Azerbaijan and buy a Swedish song each year. Will probably send ESC final to London in 2-3 years. And Bjorkman will be a delight.

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

‘come together’ my ass

davve
Guest
davve

This is the Eurovision fans in a nutshell…. they hate and criticize Björkman for simply stating an opinion. And you write horrible and nasty things about him. But at the same time you are all claiming that Booing russia at ESC is wrong and that Russia should not be judge because of Putins horrible human rights crimes..

Putin should get off, Björkman is a horrible dictator that is ruining the world basically.. you see the ridiculous double standard.

f*ck off.

Rafa
Guest
Rafa

Olé by UK !!! UK , France , Germany , Italy and Spain have nothing better to do than think about this contest …
UK has perfectly understood the pitfalls and
neighborhood there , and simply do not need him to win ESC.
This contest long time is not what it does, and certainly NOTHING is coming Swedish impolite to say anything to the English …

davve
Guest
davve

The UK keep sending singers like Andy Abraham and Josh Debovie,,,,, and you wonder why the UKs results stinks? please.

Björkman takes Eurovision seriously, the UK does not. And with that Björkman has the right to give his stance on this matter.

davve
Guest
davve

Sweden has won the competition twice in the last 5 years… and

the UK are kind of ridiculous…. they make fun of the competition.. but are butthurt when they over and over again ends up in the bottom of the scoreboard.

most of the songs sent since 2006 and forward has been more or less bad.

Björkman is 100% right in his criticism of the UK.

Österrike
Guest
Österrike

instagranto475, this will never happen. The wiwibloggers are only judgmental on the acts, never on the EBU and their scandals and how the rig the competition. About EBU related stuff, they let us do the job in the comment section to avoid get banned from the press centres themselves.

Steven Keenan
Guest
Steven Keenan

The UK came 5th in 2009, their entries in 2011/13/14 were all VERY GOOD entries. This comment is nothing but a scathing attack from a wannabe dictator of the contest.

PhysalisFranchetti
Guest

Picking up on things others have said especially @Österrike Voting blocks and particularly which types matter most :- Televoting years and upto 2012 – diaspora-driven ones were the most important. Even after 2009, you could still get 6 points if you won the televote in a particular country. 50/50 Jury & televote 2009 upto 2012 – diaspora-driven ones with better chances if you had ones based on cultural closeness too. These seemed to benefit the Scandinavians the most initially, but the ex-Soviet block also benefitted. (Cultural closeness = shared or close languages, close music industries with cross-over, lots of trade… Read more »

abedull
Guest
abedull

BTW 2013 esc was the worst in recent years, made in Sweden. Low budget trying to convince the others it was to make an esc reachable for poor countries, amazing hipocrisy.
Worst stage ever… bad level… low budget…. thanks to you Mr right

instagranto475
Guest
instagranto475

I’m very happy that this is happening. Finally we can see what Bjorkman and co are doing to the contest and their view for the ESC, or should I say the “Eurovision Music Entertainment Show”. Wiwibloggs, William, Deban, Angus, Padraig, Robyn, stop faffing about with fluffy kitsch “interviews” with Hovi Star and coverage of events like Israel’s party and get digging. Look into the Kath Lockett scandal, the sacking of Vlad Yavkovlev, write editorials about how Bjorkman, Osterdahl, and Sand have been working to water down the contest since 2012. You guys run one of the most respected ESC news… Read more »

abedull
Guest
abedull

He has destroyed the classic Eurovision to make a European melodifestivalen.
Eurovision is Eurovision and melodifestivalen is just your selection program.
Don’t ruin Eurovision please, Mr right!

abedull
Guest
abedull

Everybody knows how Sweden won last year, Italy was 1st in televote and a band of juries all over Europe toOK Sweden’s song as a favourite instead of the il volo song. That was really strange. When someone thinks abut a professional jury it comes to mind they are going to vote for a more classy song, close to bel canto. I thought they would vote for Italy but… what happened? And in many countries at the same time! Strange! To win Eurovision you just need juries, friendly juries. .. not Europeans spending money in sms. It was a joke… Read more »

Jacques
Guest
Jacques

And also the fact I can’t stop shipping Joe & Jake. <3

Jacques
Guest
Jacques

Gfy, Christer.

The whole world shouldn’t be same, Melodifestivalen-a-like, without a soul.

Swedish selection is a very cold, cruel show, and now as well Eurovision, thanks to him.

I never liked a Swedish entry except Frans and maybe Loreen. They all are so dull.

abedull
Guest
abedull

I can’t understand why people think the big 5 concept makes UK or any other country to don’t take seriously Eurovision.
Eurovision is just a stage for small countries to be shown but big countries doesn’t need this platform to get attention in the world.
Maybe Sweden now a days is ruling the contest but that’s all they can do as small country.
UK has much more important things to do than this. As Germany France Spain or Italy. ..
This guy is quite arrogant but well he would die like all of us.

Österrike
Guest
Österrike

Jai, your point about bloc voting is in my opinion not true. My country Austria will never do well in Televoting, because there is no block of friends neighbours behind us. This has always been true in the past as the poor televote often completely undermined our chances that we got from juries (2011, 2013, 2015). Conchita is no exception, she always won thanks to block voting – the found support in the most important block of all – the LGBTI. The UK knows that Eurovision is a competition between Russia, Scandinavia and the Balkan with the rest of Europe… Read more »

MTD
Guest
MTD

I hate him. But he is right.

oli
Guest
oli

Bjorkman has a big mouth. He is arrogant because Melodifestivalen is a success and Sweden won twice under his supervision, but it wasn’t very difficult, Sweden already loved Eurovision when he came… If he is so good, then go to the UK, San Marino, Spain or Portugal and make them win

sufle
Guest
sufle

I agree with the fact that the UK should take Eurovision seriously and there should be a Melodifestivalen-style competition (I have supported this idea for a long time). But everything else he says is an insult and is quite frankly rude. The U.K. should not give up their Big 5 status. We have it for a reason to begin with. You might as well get rid of the Big 5 concept anyway if you want to say that. Or does he secretly want Sweden to become part of the Big 5 group? Not happening. To say that we have no… Read more »

Jai
Guest
Jai

I totally agree with everything he said. The UK sends horrible acts every year and then acts arrogant and mocks the countries who actually try and care. I’m from America so the Eurovision news I read is in English which means that aside from Eurovision websites, the majority of news I read is from the UK. I have to say that the attitude and snideness of the UK media toward Eurovision make me steer clear of them and I’m glad that websites like Wiwibloggs exist. Also, at first I was disappointed that BBC America did not broadcast the contest and… Read more »

mad-professor
Guest
mad-professor

Is this leftover rage for him being near the bottom of the board in 1992?

Daan van Wissen
Guest

Eh.. Wasnt Germany in trouble in 2011 because the hosts almost revealed who their favorites were or something like that? I’d imagine that Bjorkman should be kicked out for saying who his least favorite is. It would only be fair.

Thankfully we all have to stick our right arm up this ESC and say HEIL BJORKMAN while we got flags with his smug face everywhere during eurovision. I honestly hope they will flop one day soon like in 2010 with that sheep that sang.

Steven Keenan
Guest
Steven Keenan

He is a disgrace. There is so much irony in this. The amount of changes that have come to the show as a result of his business have been farcical. He has no right to criticize an act in this year’s competition. Graham Norton is the best presenter of the contest, that is not up for debate. The quicker Sweden are out of control of the contest the better. This man is so far up his own arse.

Katie Boyle
Guest
Katie Boyle

It’s a little rich for the tv exec who introduced Lynda Woodruff to our ESC screens to take a pop at the BBC for not taking things seriously. Ultimately, it’s light entertainment, entries vary and that’s what makes the show. It’s probably more to do with Swedish sour grapes at not being a Big 5 nation. Pay the silly Swede no heed.

MirkoJoshua
Guest
MirkoJoshua

I completely agree with EugeneEscUK

HelmaR
Guest
HelmaR

Very well said, mr. Björkman. *claps*