He’s the Swedish maestro that spear-headed Melodifestivalen for 20 years and will now help produce the American Song Contest. But for now, Christer Björkman is spending time in Rotterdam as a commentator for Swedish broadcaster SVT’s coverage of Eurovision 2021. Christer has now revealed that his personal favourite act in this year’s contest is France’s Barbara Pravi with “Voilà”.
Christer Björkman backs France’s Barbara Pravi
Christer was speaking on the latest episode of the BBC’s Americast podcast. Although much of the discussion was about the American Song Contest, the final moments of the chat returned the focus this side of the Atlantic and Eurovision 2021.
The podcast’s host, Emily Maitlis, asked Christer what he thought the outcome of Saturday’s grand final would be. The Swedish singer and producer shied away from giving a prediction, but did reveal his personal favourite act of the year:
“I have to go to my personal taste and I totally, totally love France”
Christer goes on to compare Barbara Pravi to legendary French singer Édith Piaf:
“Such a clever homage to Édith Piaf. I listened to one of Piaf’s songs, ‘Padam Padam’, and after you’ve heard it once next to ‘Voilà’ you can’t keep them apart.”
Our own William Lee Adams joined Christer on the podcast and echoed his thoughts, saying “France is also my top choice”.
Noting the message behind “Voilà” and Barbara’s own personal journey, William reminded listeners that to truly understand the depth of Eurovision “you’ve got to go beneath the sequins”.
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Christer Björkman on the American Song Contest
In addition to revealing his favourite song of Eurovision 2021, Christer also spoke widely about the upcoming American Song Contest. The Swedish star believes that there is enough diversity in music across the different states and territories to produce a wonderful show:
“You do get a little bit of diversity really from where they come from, because it comes sort of automatically in a way. They do have different cultures when it comes to music in different parts of the [United] States. […] I think the variety is fantastic and we will see that come to life in these qualification rounds. Then whatever makes it to the semi-finals and the finals will be very interesting to see.”
Despite this, Christer does appreciate that one genre of music might feature more prominently than others. “Obviously there is a risk that a lot of them will be country songs maybe.”
When questioned if it was necessarily a bad thing that there would be a number of country songs in the contest, the former Melfest producer noted that they don’t want one musical genre to take over:
“As long as it doesn’t end up being a country competition. We want it to be as diverse as Eurovision is itself.”
To finish off, Christer discusses the ‘camp’ that is often linked to Eurovision. Although he believes the Unites States could handle an over-the-top competition like this, he notes that the same elements of camp that are seen in Europe may not be applicable in America:
“I believe they are ready for a really, really flamboyant show that’s with good music and excellent artistry. Some of the camp in Europe comes from our cultural differences, which is by far wider than it is in the [United] States, so I would look at trying to get the musical diversity rather than cultural because it doesn’t really exist that way, like it does in Europe. We have so many different styles when it comes to how you stage a song and how you package it, so that’s a difference.”
What do you think of Christer Björkman naming Barbara Pravi as his favourite act of Eurovision 2021? Are you excited to see the American Song Contest come to life? Let us know in the comments below!