It knocked Loreen out of Andra Chansen this year and claimed Molly Pettersson Hammar before her time in 2015. And now fans are saying that the Melodifestivalen App is giving too much power to international juries in deciding who represents Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest each year.
This year there were just 27 points between first and last place in the televoting (compared to a 95-point spread among the juries). The year before there were only 23 points (compared to an 89-point spread among the juries). In both years the winner’s jury score has been enough to put them safely ahead of their runner-up, regardless of the televoting result.
This year Robin Bengtsson could have afforded to place outside the top 3 and would still have beaten runner-up Nano. With a 20-point lead, courtesy of international jury voting, “I Can’t Go On” placed behind both Nano and Wiktoria with the public, and still walked away with the trophy. At the 2017 final, especially, it appears that an underwhelming vocal from Wiktoria at the Friday night dress rehearsal, when international juries vote, may have cost her victory.
Over the past two years, the massive increase in voting from the app has narrowed the televoting results, shrinking the gap between first and last places, handing the international juries the deciding power on who wins out.
But what about Melodifestivalen 2015?
True, the app was in use, and infamously knocked Molly Pettersson Hammar and her absolute banger “I’ll Be Fine” out of the first semi-final. But at the final, the app crashed and all the votes were discounted. Måns Zelmerlöw and “Heroes” built up a record lead with the international juries over nearest rival Mariette.
Where Frans and Robin narrowly overcame the competition with a 14.4% and 10.6% share of televoting, Måns smashed Jon Henrik Fjällgren. “Heroes” took 35% of all televotes and finished 162 votes ahead of last placed JTR. That topped the record Loreen set in 2012 when “Euphoria” won 32.7% of all votes cast.
Juries have decided things before, why are they different now?
It’s true Robin Stjernberg beat Yohio with the backing of the international juries in 2013 and that Charlotte Perrelli overcame Sanna Nielsen thanks to Swedish jury votes in 2008. But the difference between then and now, is that app voting is levelling the playing field. During the semi-finals, before most people have heard the songs, people react on gut instinct. This weeds out weaker songs and ensures the best songs make the final.
By the time the Melfest stage is up in Friends Arena and the hosts are introducing the final, however, people have already made up their minds and can use the app to “spam” vote for their favourites. That means, as we’ve seen this year and last year, that the bulk of acts get clustered together by app voting.
That means if the juries favour a particular act, as they have the past two years, that act doesn’t need to win the televote to win the whole competition and can in theory afford to come outside the top five.
Is there a solution?
The app vote has definitely made Melodifestivalen more exciting. You can instantly tell which acts are popular and vote in an easier way than before. And, crucially, it’s engaged people, something that selections in countries like the United Kingdom consistently fail to do.
Perhaps the solution might be to have app-voting for every round, other than the final and in that way get back to the high drama of televoting, like Sanna Nielsen beating Ace Wilder by just two points in 2014.
What do you think? Do the international juries have too much power? Should the app vote be scrapped? Do you like the app vote and think it makes it more exciting? Let us know in the comments below and on our app!