Call it a case of history repeating itself. This year, as last, the revelation of the Eurovision jury votes has led to a series of somewhat predictable results. The juries from Azerbaijan and Armenia ranked each other last. Lithuania’s jury ranked pre-contest favourite Russia as the worst entry. And Russia’s jury put eventual winner Jamala down in 24th. In all instances the political motivations are clear.
But as bloggers, fans and pundits look East and scream “Corruption!”, there’s a storm brewing out West. As Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet points out, Sweden’s jury has come down with a severe case of nepotism.
This year’s Swedish jury consisted of Melodifestivalen stars Lisa Ajax and Anton Ewald, songwriter Wrethov, P3 music editor Karin Gunnarsson, and NRJ program director Rickard Keilor.
Aftonbladet makes the case that the Melfest stars and songwriter have questions to answer after awarding marks to Azerbaijan and Malta — two countries that struggled to make an impact with the Swedish public.
Azerbaijan’s Samra ultimately finished in 17th position in the grand final. The Swedish public wasn’t impressed with her song “Miracle”, ranking it 24th out of 25. Yet somehow Azerbaijan managed to secure 10 points — that’s second place – with the Swedish jury. Let’s see why…
Swedish Idol winner Lisa Ajax awarded top marks to Samra. As Aftonbladet makes clear, that seems rather convenient since “Miracle” was written by Henrik Wikström, Amir Aly and Jakke Erixson, who routinely write and produce music for Capitol Records — the same label that represents Lisa. Furthermore, dancer Zain Odelstål appeared in Samra’s stage show. He previously worked with Lisa on her Melodfestivalen 2016 bid.
As for Wrethov, he wrote “Always on My Mind” — Azerbaijan’s Eurovision 2009 entry. Perhaps nodding to his friends and allies within the Azeri delegation, he ranked “Miracle” sixth.
Aftonbladet has also raised questions about the seven points the Swedish jury awarded to Malta, which only came 23rd out of 25 in the Swedish televote.
The connections to the Maltese act are quite clear. Melodifestivalen star Molly Pettersson Hammar — and a few other Swedes — co-authored the song and served in the backing choir.
Do you think Sweden needs tighter controls over its jury? Should it be choosing jurors who have existing relationships with entries at the contest? Let us know in the comments box below.