He was the boss of Sweden’s Eurovision selection show for 20 years. And during that time, Melodifestivalen spawned two song contest winners and many top ten finishes. However, appearing on a recent two-part episode of the Eurovision Legends podcast, Christer Björkman has revealed that he has one big regret from his time in charge — putting Loreen up against Anton Hagman in Melfest 2017.
Christer Björkman shares the worst decision of his career
Dedicated followers of Melodifestivalen will recall the hype around Loreen in 2017. This was the singer’s big comeback to the competition following her Eurovision victory five years previously. “Euphoria” became one of the biggest hits to ever emerge from the song contest, so the expectations for “Statements” were through the roof.
Nonetheless, Loreen failed to make it out of her qualifying Melfest heat and instead had to go through the andra chansen qualifying round. Most expected that this would be a mere stepping stone on her way to the final. However, in a shock twist, she lost out to the complete newcomer Anton Hagman.
Now, Björkman has revealed that his decision to pair the two together was the worst decision of his career. He tells the Eurovision Legends podcast: “I would say that that was to put Loreen in a duel with Anton Hagman. I had another choice. I could have put her against the glam band [Dismissed], which would have been a much better choice… for Loreen, I should say. And that’s obviously at that point what I wanted to protect”.
When asked if this would have resulted in a different outcome, Christer replies: “I never really care about the result in a way. Because it has to be the result that people want. However, when it comes to the stages before the final, then you want the best for the final, for the show, for the programme and for the possibility of outcomes. So, to not have Loreen in the final, that is just not a good thing for the total. The outcome in the end, no, I don’t believe that would have changed. But I would have loved to see the points from the international jury for her”.
“And the same thing goes for [Andreas Johnson & Carola Häggkvist in 2008]. I would have loved to have that queen contest in the end, between Charlotte and Carola. I would have loved just the media buzz around that. But do I think the outcome would have been different? Probably not, but I think she would have ruled the international jury. I really do”.
What do you think of Christer assessment? Was he wrong to put Loreen up against Anton? Let us know below.