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.
— SRF ESC (@srfesc) June 30, 2017
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!