Yesterday, the first semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2020 kicked off, with seven acts trying their best to win over Swedish viewers. But in next weekend’s second semi-final, there’s one act who won’t be in that position. Broadcaster SVT has disqualified the provocative performer Thorsten Flinck. SVT says the artist has been “currently charged criminally with unlawful threat and vandalism”.
Melodifestivalen project manager Anette Helenius confirmed Flinck’s disqualification today, saying:
“We deeply regret this. We really wanted to see Thorsten Flinck on the stage of Melodifestivalen on Saturday. But because he is in the middle of an ongoing legal process, we cannot allow Thorsten Flinck to participate as a competitor.”
SVT has learned that the artist Thorsten Flinck, planned to take part in heat 2 of the 2020 #Melfest, is currently charged criminally with unlawful threat and vandalism. SVT has decided that Flinck can not take part. 1/2 https://t.co/EE0i7BI87X
— Melodifestivalen (@SVTmelfest) February 2, 2020
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet report that the charges were brought against Flinck before Christmas, though a court date has not yet been set. The paper says it is not known why SVT made the decision to disqualify Flinck less than one week before his semi-final.
Flinck was due to perform “Miraklernas tid” (The time of miracles) in next weekend’s semi-final in Gothenburg. But the song itself — written by Thomas G:son — still remains in Melodifestivalen 2020. The song will be performed by another singer. SVT is now searching for Flinck’s replacement.
Melodifestivalen rules make it clear that the song is what is entered in the contest and give SVT the right to change performers.
Flinck’s previous brush with disqualification
Flinck flirted with a disqualification in November, when he revealed he would be participating in Melodifestivalen 2020 — well ahead of SVT’s big reveal. This is, in theory, in breach of the Melodifestivalen rules.
But broadcaster SVT chose to turn a blind eye to the rule break. At the time, Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that one of their sources sighed and said, “Some other artist could definitely have been disqualified. What is okay for some is not allowed for others.”
Thorsten Flinck is an actor and musician, with a career spanning over 40 years. He is known for playing villains, but also for his outrageous personality off-stage.
He made his Melodifestivalen debut in 2012, performing with his group Revolutionsorkestern. They placed eighth in the grand final with the song “Jag reser mig igen” (I Rise Again).
The last Mello disqualification: Anna Book’s Moldovan mix-up
The last major Melodifestivalen disqualification happened to Anna Book in 2016. Eurovision fans recognised her Melodifestivalen entry “Himmel för två” as a Swedish-language version of Felicia Dunaf’s 2014 Moldovan national final entry “Taking Care of a Broken Heart” from 2014 — and therefore breaking the 1 September rule.
At the time, the news was confirmed by a solemn press conference and it is said that many tears were shed.
The song was disqualified from Melodifestivalen, however Anna Book was still able to perform the song out of competition at the semi-final. The performance was a hit with audiences, giving a happy ending to an upsetting situation.
The new artist to perform at the second semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2020 will join Klara Hammarström, Dotter, Méndez feat. Alvaro Estrella, Linda Bengtzing, Paul Rey and Anna Bergendahl. The semi-final will take place in Gothenburg next Saturday, February 8th.