He’s the Swedish television producer known for turning Melodifestivalen into the most talked-about Eurovision selection show. And now that Christer Björkman is a member of the international jury in Albania’s Festivali i Këngës 58, we just had to ask him to dish on what’s just gone down in Tirana.
The Borås-born beauty had very kind words about FiK 58, which has this year attracted some of the country’s biggest stars and composers.
“I know that there are always very good voices in this festival, because you always bring a fantastic singer to Eurovision,” he says.
“Everything has been great. The music is fabulous, I have to say. It’s really, really interesting, it’s very versatile, it’s very different, and I think the mix that we actually chose for the final is going to make a really good show.”
The orchestra works “most of the time,” he says. But — echoing the sentiments of so many Eurovision fans — he also notes that it doesn’t really work for “a typical pop song”.
The qualifiers were announced shortly before we did this interview. And Christer said that a handful of them have the possibility to really shine at Eurovision. “I have two really standout favourites and let’s see what grows on me till Sunday.”
Everything is still up for grabs. “You react to songs differently depending on the temperature and the tempo of a song. A lot of uptempo songs are really direct and you react to them quickly, whereas a ballad takes time and grows on you.”
When will the American Song Contest happen?
On May 15 Christer held a press conference in Tel Aviv’s Lighthouse Hotel to reveal that he was working to bring a Eurovision-inspired format to the United States. He’s been doing so alongside Anders Lenhoff and Ola Melzig. At that time it was not clear how the format will work, or even if American Song Contest will be the name of the show.
Speaking to us in Tirana, Christer suggested things have come a long way. “We’ve been going back and forth since early September,” he says. “We’ve created an adjusted version for the American market.”
At the moment he’s debating which agents and production companies to work with before making his formal pitch to the “platforms we might collaborate with.”
He says he’ll know by early summer of 2020 whether the show will actually happen.