They’re the country that hosted and won the very first Eurovision — but they haven’t had the best of luck in recent years. But now Switzerland has called in the big guns — Melodifestivalen heavyweights Christer Björkman and Martin Österdahl recently held a workshop with the Swiss team to pass on their expert knowledge.

Christer Björkman is the long-time producer of Sweden’s iconic national final Melodifestivalen and has overseen two Eurovision victories and regular top-five placings for his country. He was also drafted in as the show producer for Eurovision 2017.

Martin Österdahl has many years experience in Swedish television, including Melodifestivalen. Most recently, he was the executive producer of Eurovision 2016. He is also a member of the Eurovision Reference Group.

The official account of the Swiss delegation shared a photo of Björkman, Österdahl and the Swiss team at the meeting of minds.

Switzerland at Eurovision

But does Switzerland need help? Well, kind of. Despite winning the very first Eurovision back in 1956 and scoring another win in 1988 with a young Céline Dion, Switzerland has been struggling with their recent Eurovision entries.

In the past decade, they’ve only qualified for the grand final twice. The whistling Swiss prince Sebalter melted hearts in Copenhagen with his catchy tune “Hunter of Stars”, while Anna Rossinelli made the final in 2011 with “In Love for a While” — though Switzerland placed last that year. In that decade Switzerland has also placed last in their semi-final three times.

But Switzerland has been making improvements. In 2017, the national final Die Entscheidungsshow was radically revamped with a series of changes that improved the overall quality of the finalists.

And it did have a positive effect. Romanian-Swiss pop band Timebelle won with their song “Apollo”. Despite not qualifying for the grand final in Kyiv, the song still placed 12th with only a narrow five-points away from qualifying. “Apollo” was also a fan favourite, with many disappointed that Timebelle’s sweet love ballad didn’t end up in the final.

As the revamped Die Entscheidungsshow has shown, there’s no shortage of talent in Switzerland. Maybe a little of that Melfest magic is just what Switzerland needs.

What do you think? What can Switzerland learn from the Sweden team? Share your thoughts below!

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internet speed test
3 years ago

What can Switzerland learn from the Sweden team? Ridiculous!

The Anders
3 years ago

They should rather stick to their own, but select better songs. I’m sure they can. After all they have competed with such great songs as “T’en va pas” (1963) and “C’est la chanson de mon amour” (1972) in the past.

Please, don’t just go for empty machine pop like most other countries. Eurovision is in need of more real music, and I had hoped “Amar pelos dois” (which is what I consider real music) would inspire other countries in that respect. Emulating Melodifestivalen does not exactly take it in that direction, sadly.

dade
dade
3 years ago

well, the point is not that Switzerland doesn’t have the talent or the song, its just that no one here cares about Eurovision at all. Only nonames want to compete, hoping to see their career launched. Of course it doesn’t happen, even Sebalter didn’t built any kind of career. I honestly hope that Switzerland doesn’t leave Eurovision, but if we would, nobody would mind. ESC is too Swedish to be Swiss.

dade
dade
3 years ago
Reply to  dade

I forgot… the few times we sent big (local) names, like Lovebugs, DJ Bobo, Paolo Meneguzzi or Francine Jordi, we got the confimation that we are not considered at all by other countries… We have no neighbours that vote for us whatever bullsh*it we send.

Alex
Alex
3 years ago

Switzerland is another one of these countries with a hot mess of a national selection every year. The “expert check” treats the entries as finished products (when they clearly aren’t – the song is revised after the selection often enough) and biases towards the best vocalists rather than the best songs, usually leaving only 6 skilled vocalists with lousy songs. Simultaneous jury and public vote selection all the way through is the way to go, folks. (I’m still mad over Open Heart Surgery missing the cut of the supposed “experts” in 2015… really? I can listen to that song anytime!… Read more »

kenna
kenna
3 years ago

If it were up to me; I’d hire actual music professionals as jurors, so that the music quality would be top notch, and I’d omit the “televoting” (After Molly Sterling, Juri Pootsman and Timebelle didn’t qualify for their respective years, I seriously doubt Europe’s music taste). Unfortunately, if I did that, viewership would go down a 100 million. The continent eats up trash, so they feed them trash (not meant to offend anyone). Here’s what the Swiss should do (in order to qualify for the final): Have a national selection: it helps fans root for their favorites, but select catchy… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago
Reply to  kenna

You mean, omit the jury voting?
– Timebelle would have qualified through televote but the juries killed them.
– Jüri was 17th in televoting and dead last for the juries.
The juries are the ones voting for trash, hello?!

kenna
kenna
3 years ago

@Polegend Godgarina:

No, omit the televoting. How’d ya get jury voting from that.

Jo
Jo
3 years ago
Reply to  kenna

None of those three should’ve gone through. Molly was too nervous, Play was bad staged, and Apollo is a “very average” song with bad staging as well. Play was my personal favourite and I agreed with the elimination.

I just re-watched the 2007 Contest. Purely rubbish. Molitva was (by far) the best song. We need the jury, unfortunately…

Bart
Bart
3 years ago
Reply to  Jo

Why don’t the Swiss pick up the song that sells the most. This should be the winner. Is that your logic?

James
James
3 years ago

The homogenizing of Eurovision continues. In ten years, everything will look, feel and sound Swedish, with English as the primary choice of performing language.

Denis
Denis
3 years ago

The problem isn’t lack of talents, every country has those. The problem is the lack of songs. Since Sebalter the Swiss entries has been forgettable. They sent the kind of songs you forget were competing, leading to results they got. Nothing wrong with taking help from people who know what they are doing. This doesn’t mean Björkman has been hired to deal with the Contest and nor does it mean Switzerland will suddenly go Melodifestival. They are just there to give advice and expertise, nothing more. Switzerland will obviously be going their own way in´fluenced by the advice they got.… Read more »

Jo
Jo
3 years ago

Switzerland has enough talent to make it work, like Sebalter who was top 10 with the public. No need to bring more Scandipop to Eurovision, I think we have more than enough in it

Jo
Jo
3 years ago

Yes, he and his band are great!
But Switzerland can follow the steps of Belgium, N’lands, Latvia and Austria, achieving better results with national talents.

AngieP
AngieP
3 years ago

Sweden is definetely one of the most successful countries especially after 2010 with two victories and top 10 placements in the final. As in every country, Switzerland has the talent. What it doesn’t have is the right song. They need better songs. Swedes have a big music industry with modern songs, so yes they can help the Swiss team consider the selection process again and make it better.That doesn’t mean the one should copy the other, but take some advice and proposals and make it into sth good. I hope Switzerland finds the right way, as Belgium and the Netherlands… Read more »

Mark
Mark
3 years ago

The Swiss just need better song writers… But that’s the problem with most countries.

Maria
Maria
3 years ago

At least this shows that the Swiss are taking Eurovision seriously 🙂 I hope they’ll change dramatically like the Dutch back in 2013 (though Switzerland knows better non-qualifiers than NL)

James
3 years ago

I’m not normally one to be quick on the corrections, but Switzerland qualified in 2011? Anna Rosinelli? In Love For A While?

Mark
Mark
3 years ago
Reply to  James

Yes. They qualified. I was so happy when they did.