The first semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2021 is due to begin in just over one week. Now producers have revealed more of the precautions they will be taking to ensure the Mello production will minimise risk from Covid-19.
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet spoke to Melodifestivalen Contest Producer Karin Gunnarsson and Project Manager Anette Brattström.
One of the big changes is that Melodifestivalen 2021 productions will now only allow six performers on stage. While this is also the limit of performers permitted by Eurovision, Melodifestivalen usually also allows two extra dancers to be part of a performance.
As well, dancers will be required to keep 1.5 metres apart. Everyone on stage will wear a proximity alarm which will beep and vibrate if two or more people are too close to each other.
Thought has also been given to the backstage area, with one-way routes set up to ensure that people aren’t forced to pass closely down narrow hallways.
Keeping safe and healthy at Melodifestivalen 2021
Unlike other Swedish entertainment and reality shows, Melodifestivalen 2021 will not use routine Covid testing.
Anette Brattström explained, “We will not mass test blindly and see what we get a hit on. Instead, we are working much more preventively to keep a distance and have good hand hygiene. It may sound banal, and a little simplistic, but that’s the crucial difference. We have healthcare on-site and we have the opportunity to use sampling, but our healthcare staff will assess this based on the situation.”
The production also won’t require anyone to quarantine before participating. Karin Gunnarsson explained that they expected those involved to take responsibility and follow the Swedish government’s social distancing guidelines. She said, “Everyone is extremely responsive, no one wants to sabotage their own participation.”
If an artist has to withdraw due to illness or even just exhibiting symptoms, there will be ways to ensure their song is still part of the competition. Rehearsals on the Thursday and Friday prior to each show will be taped, with the potential to place that performance during the live show. There’s also the possibility of using a stand-in performer during rehearsals, however it has been not confirmed if a stand-in performer could also be used during the live performance.
Will Mello 2021 have a significantly larger viewership?
Producers are also planning for an increase in viewers this year. With usual Saturday night options severely limited, a lot more Swedes are expected to make Melodifestivalen their appointment viewing. This follows the traditional Swedish Christmas Eve screening of a Donald Duck special picking up one million more viewers than usual, making it the most-watched Swedish television broadcast of all time.
Gunnarsson says they have taken into account a potential increase in viewers, especially to ensure the voting system will hold up to an increased load.
What do you think? Would a larger audience change the sort of songs that do well at Melfest? Will the show have a different feeling to usual years? Tell us your thoughts below!