Christer Björkman’s long-term relationship with the Eurovision Song Contest reads like a romance. And like any good love story, he can still remember the first encounter. 

Christer’s mother ran a gambling empire that included casinos and bingo halls. As a kid he would travel with her around Sweden as she oversaw events, moving from hotel to hotel to entertain the masses who wanted to try their luck on a slot machine. While his mother was working — invariably at night — he would sneak out of their hotel room to see what was going on downstairs.

“There was a specific hotel with a lobby below and a balcony above,” he tells me. “I could sit outside of the room with my feet under the railing and dangle my legs down and look at the people.”

It was here, in 1967, that he first saw Eurovision. “There was a TV set in the lobby and I saw Sandie Shaw barefoot and singing her ‘Puppet on a String’. I was like, ‘Oh my god, what is that?’ I was totally fascinated.”

He later asked his mother to explain what he’d seen.

“She said, ‘Oh, that’s a contest between countries in music and next year I’ll tell you when it’s on. There’s a Swedish one too, so we can see that together beforehand.'”

She kept her word and the following year Christer watched both Mello and Eurovision 1968 — the very first edition broadcast in colour. That his introduction to the contest coincided with the move away from black-and-white seems so appropriate for a man who would go on to become its biggest champion and one of its brightest lights.

Christer later won Melodifestivalen 1992 as a singer, before becoming a producer and turning Melodifestivalen into one of the most talked-about music shows in Europe over the course of two decades. He famously produced the actual Eurovision Song Contest five times.

Because of his close involvement with the contest, Christer has had to keep his opinions on artists and songs to himself. Now, after leaving his role at Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT following Eurovision 2021, he has the freedom to share the thoughts that have been brewing for decades.

My ESC Story: Christer Björkman’s Eurovision book

In his forthcoming book My ESC Story: 1956 – 2021, out this May, Christer draws on his experiences as a fan and artist, and his roles as producer and head of the Swedish delegation at Eurovision. But all of that is built around facts, texts and stats about the contest itself.

Christer re-watched every edition of the contest to put the book together.

In part one, he presents a year-by-year summary with short facts and his personal reflections on each show. In part two, he offers an extensive country-by-country review, presented in the order that each country first appeared in the contest. From the Netherlands to Australia, that’s 52 countries in total. He uses the EBU definition, so that means Yugoslavia, Serbia–Montenegro and Serbia are listed as three different countries in the book. He also ranks every single winner of the contest. 

Christer spoke with me in late January from his apartment in Los Angeles, where he’s busy producing the inaugural edition of the American Song Contest. Like any Swede thrust into the sunny climes of California, he was sun-kissed and adjusting very well. From his balcony he can see Santa Monica beach and a massive swimming pool. His apartment is largely white with bold splashes of colour in the cushions and artwork.

I’ve typically met him in the throws of a competition — when he was busy producing and running around and making sure everything is going according to plan. To say he looks more carefree and relaxed than ever is an understatement.

What follows are highlights of our chat. Be sure to visit the book’s official web site myescstory.com to stay up-to-date about its May release.

Eurovision 2021 was your last Eurovision. Given how important it has been to you professionally and personally, that must have been very emotional. Was writing this book in some ways a response to that?

It is now. It wasn’t when I started it. I actually started the book because I had so many people reach out in the fan community that wanted me to translate my autobiography Generalen. But I felt my autobiography was very, very Swedish. It was obviously Swedish. It had a Swedish perspective. There are so many things in it that are so Swedish, so I guess you have to be Swedish to grasp it. I would have written it differently if it were written for an international audience. But I had the idea that through Eurovision I have done something that attracts interest abroad.

Starting this new chapter in my life, I realised I’ve been in charge of 20 of 60 Swedish acts. I’ve been on the Reference Group for so many years. I’ve produced five contests and it’s like, “OK, I get it. I have something to say. I have a story even on an international level.”

And then of course, obviously, I am so disturbed like we [Eurovision fans] all are. I can actually go back and look back at a jury section only, which can be very exciting. That’s the level of disturbed I am. I actually looked forward to rewatching every show and rejudging them and I have graded every single country and made a Top 5 list or Top 10 list. And in some cases almost a Top 20 because it’s so hard to choose. I also made a ranked list of all winners. There are so many lists in this book. People are gonna go crazy just going through all the stats and lists. I’ve had so much fun.

As part of your research, you re-watched all of the shows. That’s quite the undertaking. How long did it take you?

It took forever. I sat down and said, “I’ll do this quickly. I can’t really watch everything.” But you start and it’s, “Oh, this intro is so nice. Oh, and that host.” I ended up seeing everything — every frame. Also all of the jury voting. It took forever — about two years. I had to take a break after 40 years because the 90s was a pain. The 90s is difficult to handle. It’s like a very, very stale piece of meat. You chew and you chew and you chew and out comes yet another ethno song and you’re like, “How did we survive the 90s?”

Was it something about the style of music of that era?

That’s part of it. The worst part was that the style of the music was so heavy. I mean there’s so little that’s joyful or happy. It’s very folky, very serious. Look at 1996. It’s “The Voice” (Ireland, winner); “I evighet” (Norway, second place); “Den vilda” (Sweden, third place). It’s all like, “da da dee da.” It’s not that it’s not good. It’s just that it’s heavy.

Did you have a routine — one show a week on a Wednesday — or was it more random than that?

When I realized how long it took, I had to see it as a job. I had to start in the morning, sit down, get to work and try to get in three a day. That’s how long it takes. You have to stop. You have to revise. Take notes. 

Looking back all these years later, were you surprised at how certain countries overperformed or underperformed?

There were so many revelations. I also figured out that the new countries were always so underrated in the beginning. Especially when everything was decided by juries. The UK, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, and Monaco — they were always overrated because of the language. It was quite annoying. The juries are supposed to be professional musicians or whatever and they didn’t see that.

Another example is Yugoslavia. The only time they made it big was when they tried to be western European — and those examples are not my favourite. I like when you can actually tell where the artists and song are from – that’s when I like them. There is one entry from the early 1970s — “Gori vatra” from Zdravko Čolić. It’s a beautiful song, one of my favourite from that country. It didn’t make it at all [fifteenth place out of 17 entries]. It was overlooked.

 

In terms of your reflections on the show, how honest are you? Is it all love or do we hear some criticism and concerns as well?

Yeah. [Long pause.] You will hear criticism. What I do is I rank each country together with a chapter about that country and why they’re there and what it has meant to me and Eurovision. It is formative on one side, and that’s subjective. The list gets personal. I am very honest. I do Top 3 at the least, mostly a Top 5. And I also do a wildcard and a zero. With the wildcard and zero comes a one-liner. They are not very nice all the time. But they’re fun. You will laugh. You will have fun.

Was there a country where you really struggled to narrow down your favourites because of the quality of entries?

The United Kingdom — to say just one. I grew up loving everything coming from the UK. Every year was a party. I decided to do the UK differently, and instead of having a number one, a number two and a number three, I have stacks of songs in number one and number two and number three. I just loved the UK’s entries in the 60s the 70s. All of it. Everything from Cliff Richard and Sandi Shaw, Mary Hopkin, “Jack in the Box”, “Rock Bottom”. I could go on and on and on.

I’m wondering if the UK zeros will come from recent memory…

That’s the thing. The problem with the UK is recent — the last twenty years basically. 

In the preface of the book, you make a really good point about how you can still love Eurovision even if there are elements or certain aspects of the show you don’t like. Could you tell us about that?

I think a lot of the fans tend to forget that. First and foremost, we all love the phenomenon. We love the show. We love the fact that we meet and have a spectacle that is music and we have a competition and it’s not meant for us to love everything. That’s the idea. We should be like, “Oh my god — what is that?” That’s why they created it. We should get to know each other’s culture. It should not be that every time we meet we kill each other in a war. We should be able to meet and appreciate the differences. That makes the world richer. It’s such a good example of how different we are.

Now, obviously 2016 and 2013 were amazing Eurovision productions. But beyond those editions produced and hosted by Sweden, is there an edition you particularly admire?

Throughout the years there have always been those that made a difference. Those that actually pushed the format forward and gave us new highlights. Obviously you cannot not mention Riverdance from Eurovision 1994, which was an overnight success. It was amazing.

I love the set design of 1980, in The Hague, which, in its own simple way, was amazing because it changed with every act. It’s just automated set pieces in the air — but they make different patterns. It’s really memorable. It’s something I can remember very vividly. I also love Vienna 2015. That is really, really interesting one because the stage is so deep in its shape. It creates a very different room. I write about this in the book.

What about camera work? Were there editions where you start to notice that art coming into its own?

Absolutely. You have these specific years when you can actually see they start using the cameras. It’s sometime in the mid 1970s when you actually start realising they aren’t just for showing what’s going on. It was interesting to re-watch the whole thing in a limited period of time because you actually see the development. You can see that once every decade something really, really specific is happening and taking the whole contest to a new level. 

Another thing that intrigues me is how as a teenager you would have watched without the eye of a producer. But now, looking back, you have the professional in you. Did that change how you look at things?

Completely. I really try to remember what I felt like at the time — when I first saw things — because that is important. I cannot totally disregard what I felt when it happened. But I also have to put it in the context of what I know now. Obviously so much more has happened and so many songs have been added to this song book. Even though Marie Myriam’s “L’oiseau et l’enfant” has been my all-time favourite forever, when put in the context of the total, did that song still stand up? I had to find a criteria.

What did that criteria end up being?

One is obviously how I reacted when it happened. But then I have to look at a few questions. Did it actually bring something new to the table? Did it change the competition? Is it a complete evergreen or was it something that just happened? And yes — we have those. We definitely have those.

What’s an example of a song that changed things?

Sometimes you know instantly and you can say, “Oh, wow — this one’s going to change things.” Loreen was one that you knew was going to be a classic. It changed a lot of things about how you can do performance and the style you can use. That one was a game changer.

Måneskin has the potential to be one. You can’t tell after a year, but I believe it will be one of those that you remember as groundbreaking. It opens up a completely new space in music for this competition. It’s rock and roll when it’s real and not a gimmick. It’s something that comes out of the music. This is what that style can be. It’s not a retro band with make-up — it’s progressing. 

Was rating the songs from Sweden easy or more difficult because of how close you are to the songs, the artists and the history?

No matter how I do it, everybody’s going to take it personal. It’s going to be a disaster, obviously. I’m so glad I am halfway around the globe in California when the book is released. Obviously I have to judge all of them — more than 60 songs — and I also have to judge myself and six winners. There are so many landmines on those four pages in the book. 

To be clear, though: This book is not focused on Sweden. It’s bigger than that.

That’s right. I do very little extra for Sweden, even though it’s impossible not to do a bit. It is not a book for Sweden. It does not have a Swedish perspective, really. So I’m trying to be as objective as possible. However, totally objective you can’t be. I will sometimes overrate a Swedish song. That’s the way it is. Somewhere I have to apologize, like I get it, I get it. 

Are there any countries that you think deserved to be rated higher over the years?

Turkey was constantly underrated back in the days. Not in the modern era — perhaps they got results sometimes even too good because of the diaspora around Europe. But looking further back they were so underrated. 1980 Ajda Pekkan. And also Morocco (“Bitaqat Hub” sung by Samira Bensaïd). Oh my god — the only time Morocco came and it was a beautiful song. Did it get any points? Naaaah. We were not very generous to different things in western Europe at the time.

 

Sweden and Australia often give each other love. Was it easy for you to rank their songs?

It was easy to rank Australia. Australia has brought new energy to the show. I like the fact Australia is part of Eurovision. They have a very dedicated team and they’re very open about embracing Eurovision. It was a joy to rank their songs.

The book has a lot of points and comparison — points, points, points, points. Lots of that. The fun bit here is that Sweden and Australia have given each other lots and lots of points in those five or six years. They have almost become a neighbouring country to us. It could be that we are sort of on the same page when it comes to pop music. Sort of radio-friendly pop music.

With more than half of the countries, you include personal stories about those countries. Could you give us an example of a song that meant a lot to you?

Obviously it’s Marie Myriam’s “L’oiseau, l’enfant”. That was a song that hit me right in the belly. I know it by heart. I can read every word in it. I love singing it. I actually sang it at Pride with Marie Myriam in Stockholm once. She’s a wonderful lady. When I started putting all the criteria together, though, that song didn’t really change the contest. It was a French ballad in a line of ballads throughout the 70s. Before her was Severine, it was Vicky Leandros, Anne-Marie David. She was the last one in a line of fantastic ballads from France and Luxembourg. I couldn’t put her at the very, very top. Your song had to represent change — that extra layer.

What’s a song that did change the contest?

The first song that ever changed this contest was France Gall. When she entered that stage she was a young, progressive pop singer. She actually was before Sandie Shaw. But Sandie Shaw was the first English speaking pop girl. Before them it was all ooo oooo, nun like singing. It was all Lys Assia. They were all Lys Assia up until France Gall entered the competition. She had Serge Gainsbourg, who was the hottest composer at the time. They completely changed the rules of the contest. It was like, “What just happened?” The rest of them were still ooo oooo and really, really old fashioned. That was the first song that shook the entire foundation of this competition. It totally came out of the blue. It even made way for Cliffe Richard and Sandie Shaw — that whole era of good pop music. This all started with France Gall.

You also go into the difficulties and tensions that can arise as a producer, since you want what is best for an act. Could you give us an example of a country that took your advice and ran with it when you were producing the big ESC?

Oh yes, absolutely. When Bulgaria came to Stockholm in ’16 [with Poli Genova’s “If Love Was a Crime”], the Head of Delegation Joana had a creative team that wanted the staging to be sort of like Hunger Games. Poli was a warrior and she was going to have her soldiers and they were gonna be in the woods and forest and they would come out into the open landscape and fight and do the whole Hunger Games thing. I was like, “Mmmm.” I saw a really modern song, a really cool girl, and she moved in a really cool way.

That was not the right way to go and I spoke to Joana and said, “We want to do this differently, more modern. We do understand soldiers but we want it to be her being the whole army and duplicate her.” We had these broken LEDs. She was all over the place. You could see it all over the place — very monochrome, very black and white. It was very modern. I said, “Please, let us do it our way and I assure you that you will get a top position. But the forest — hmm, no, it’s not gonna work.” She was like, “Okay, okay. Let’s do it.”

It’s bold and brave of her, especially since her creative team might have taken issue with outsiders re-imagining it all.

When they came into the viewing room for the first time after the first rehearsal, it was full war. Her creative team was furious. Joana came to me and said, “Let me deal with them. I’ll talk to them. You go ahead — I trust you.” In the end, they ended up fourth. A beautiful result.

They certainly kept the momentum going with Kristian Kostov a year later. 

For Eurovision 2017 she hired Sacha Jean Baptiste for Kristov. Sacha and I worked together on doing that performance and again she was like, “I trust you all the way.” She got them to calm down. She said, “You know, we‘re not there yet. You can’t get more experience than you can get from the resources you’re given.” So it is difficult and she put her trust in us. She said to her creators, “Just trust them. They know what they’re doing.” It would have been difficult for her as well, but she led her team and balanced it all. 

Christer Björkman’s book “My ESC Story” will be available this May. To keep up with the latest news about its release, be sure to visit the book’s official web site myescstory.com.

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Jenny
Jenny
9 months ago

After reading this interview I most definitely want to read the book, it sounds interesting

Fatima
Fatima
9 months ago

I don’t appreciate the Swedification of the main contest but that book sounds fascinating.

Charles
Charles
9 months ago

I would have also hated the 90s if I had been humiliated with an aswful almost-at-the-bottom outcome for Sweden in the year it was hosted in Sweden … 1992…
Christer’s traumatic experience with the 90s will be a nice piece of reading for psychological understanding of how he managed to change both Mello and ESC into the loud and over the top show it became after ESC came out of the closet in the 2000s.

Kredential
Kredential
9 months ago

Not gonna lie, I am not a fan of Mr Bjorkman and have been very critical of his influence over the contest in the last decade. That being said, the reason why I don’t like him is what will make this such an interesting read. There are very few people who have been so closely involved with Eurovision as much as he has, so he will definitely have a lot of interesting insight. I will be reading!

MTD
MTD
9 months ago

Are there parts named:

“I influenced a lot results-wise”

“I had my preferences and I supported them no matter what”

“I won in a sketchy way in 2015”

“I made ESC a clone of Melodifestivalen”

“I kept in the loops because of my connections within the ESC bubble and EBU itself”

M?

Iv***
Iv***
9 months ago
Reply to  MTD

Wow! You’ve already read the book?!

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  MTD

What sketchy way? he won according to the rules at the time. The fact that you don’t think it is a worthy winner doesn’t make it sketchy..

MTD
MTD
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

How come when everything Swedish is being commented negatively for whatsoever reason (and at plenty of times for solid and justified reasons), you are there to defend them? Chill!

Last edited 9 months ago by MTD
Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  MTD

I get it’s a joke but also asking what sketchy way because there was none.

esc1234
esc1234
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

12 points from the australian jury every year are one of the many reasons

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  esc1234

So? fact is Sweden won 2015 according to the rules of the time. That’s it. You might not agree with him being winner but that does not mean it was a shady win. It was a legitimate win

Stephanie
9 months ago
Reply to  esc1234

Not in 2016 (Belgium got the double-double), 2017 (UK got their 12) or 2021 (AU jury 12 went to Malta)

Iv****
Iv****
9 months ago

Whoever wrote it, is even worse!

James
James
9 months ago
Reply to  Iv****

Unlike the cover, you haven’t read what’s inside so there’s no certainty that it’s worse.

Iv***
Iv***
9 months ago
Reply to  James

It’s pure logic: Bad input, bad output.

Last edited 9 months ago by Iv***
James
James
9 months ago
Reply to  Iv***

Actually, that would be: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

Iv***
Iv***
9 months ago
Reply to  James

I never do that! I judge it by the author, though. That’s the input I was referring go.

Mikael
Mikael
9 months ago

Sure he will hate everything Danish. He always does.

Iv****
Iv****
9 months ago
Reply to  Mikael

My opinion is that he despises everything that is not Made in SVT or Made in Melodifestivalen.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Mikael

So he is being Swedish then:)
Most Swedes dislikes Danish, especially in ESC. That is the sibling rivalry..

Gretle
Gretle
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Nah not in ESC lol we don’t hate our neighbors in ESC. We hate Denmark in football, Norways in winter sports except for Ice hockey where we hate Finland.

ete sech
ete sech
9 months ago

On a different note, Finland’s weekly charts were updated yesterday and both the singles and the radio airplay charts showed interesting changes regarding UMK entrants. In the singles chart, Bess rose to #1, while Younghearted debuted at #3, followed by The Rasmus at #4 and Isaac Sene at #13. Olivera, Cyan Kicks and Tommi Läntinen are yet to be featured in this list. On the other hand, on the radio airplay chart, Isaac Sene debuted at #25, while Bess (last week’s hot shot debut) dropped to #58 from #24 and the rest of UMK’s line-up reported the following changes: *… Read more »

Erik
Erik
9 months ago
Reply to  ete sech

On the subject of Rasmus. Where did the user Rasmus go?

ete sech
ete sech
9 months ago

I low-key want to buy it, I don’t have much to say about Christer himself, but it looks like the book has a lot of interesting ESC-related stuff we’d all look forward to finding out! 😀

Iv****
Iv****
9 months ago
Reply to  ete sech

I wouldn’t wanna have it even when given for free. The quintessence of the book is all about his legacy: Get rid of the Eurovision Song Contest and replace it by the European Melodifestivalen with juries voting Sweden at least among the Top 5 every year. No thanks.

ete sech
ete sech
9 months ago
Reply to  Iv****

I mean, you got a point. That’s its downside. It’s unlikely I’ll ever get it anyways :/

Addie
Addie
9 months ago

This seems interesting. I kinda want to buy the book. But that cover is really unfortunate. The interview’s also nice. I like that he appreciates the stage of the 1980 contest (one of my favorite editions ever) Even if they reused parts from the ’76 contest, the stage looked very innovative to me. Ajda’s song was really good and Bitaqat Hob is an absolute masterpiece. I hope that Morocco will participate again (now that they have diplomatic relations with Israel) And his favorite ESC song is L’oiseau et l’enfant! It’s one of the legendary Eurovision songs. He’s actually right about… Read more »

Erik
Erik
9 months ago
Reply to  Addie

His works are great. But the problem is he always wants to do better. He changed many things. Probably he stayed in melodifestivalen a bit too long. It’s his personality that drives him into American song contest. He just wants to progress, maximise everything. But I’m actually not sure he knows when to stop. He gave Sweden a victory with Loreen. After that Måns. After that he wanted us to surpass Ireland in number of victories. He was never satisfied. Probably he should have stepped down after the amazing 2016 Eurovision. He was just not able to do it because… Read more »

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Erik

What’s so wrong with always wanting to do better? Everyone should always aim for that. If it’s good, make it even better
We need more of people like that here in Sweden who can think big, not less. Even our producers seem stuck in Jantelaw land..

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

What’s Jantelaw land? What country is that a nickname for?

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

It’s the spirit of an egalitarian society. Not a bad place to be stuck, in my opinion.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

It isn’t really about being egalitarian. It really is a nonsense thing. basically if you are good at anything don’t show it because others might be jealous. If others get jealous that is thier problem, not yours is what I say!

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Yeah, I suppose. Non-conformists not welcome. Some people might say that about Christer’s Melodifestivalen, though.

Erik
Erik
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

I said he did great things. But he didn’t know when to stop. After being an act himself he started understanding how to do a good show. That’s what he can do best. So finishing with being the host of melodifestivalen and singing only proves how everyone cannot do it. He was not able to deliver his jokes in a way to make us laugh. He does great stuff in general, but he should be challenged by someone else. The last thing he did was to make sure his legacy stayed in the competition by being the muse of Gunnarsson.… Read more »

Iv***
Iv***
9 months ago
Reply to  Erik

Once again: The greatest he has objectively ever done was in 1992.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Erik

He was chosen to be host, not like he forced it upon them. And he is not a host, he admitted it when he was chosen. That’s why he hosted with people who could host and had comedic timing. He sort of became the straight guy to the jokers.

Iv****
Iv****
9 months ago
Reply to  Erik

Especially his work in 1992 – back then the real “quality” of herre Björkman was demonstrated!

Moonstar
Moonstar
9 months ago
Reply to  Addie

He probably is not a fan of the nineties because he ended up bottom on home soil in 1992, it then took him the rest of the decade to recover from that!

Iv***
Iv***
9 months ago
Reply to  Moonstar

Interesting point! Maybe because of 1992 he simply loathes Eurovision and his “legacy” is just vengeance to it.

Addie
Addie
9 months ago
Reply to  Moonstar

Makes perfect sense.

3art
3art
9 months ago

On a different note, Poland first in the betting odds. Must be because of the Ochman – River leak.

Esc addict
Esc addict
9 months ago
Reply to  3art

Ok I missed this leak, is it such a good song to justify this? I know the bookies follows the market and if the market moves like that it’s because of something, a move from the broadcaster or a strong reaction at the reveal of a song. Did somebody listen this song? If yes your thoughts about it please, thank you.

Tom
Tom
9 months ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Yes i have done. For me it sounds amazing. Its like a mix of Duncan and Gjons Tears . If they pull the staging right this will be very high.

Esc addict
Esc addict
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Ok thanks! It’s a power ballad showing vocals then, ty for this piece of information, I’ve seen he will release it in 3 or 5 days, very soon so we will see 😉

Tom
Tom
9 months ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Its out on Thursday along with the video

Esc addict
Esc addict
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Is is the same team who has done Arcade and Tout l’univers who is behind his song too? Is it in polish?

Tom
Tom
9 months ago
Reply to  Esc addict

Its in English but has been written by Polish songwriters

3art
3art
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom

including one of the song writers who wrote “Friend of a Friend” for the Czech Republic

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Ooooh, sounds intriguing. But I’ll withhold my judgment until the song is out. Poland having a song that’s up to the quality of arcade and tout l’univers? That would be a major turn around, but I don’t wanna hype myself too much in case the song turns out disappointing.

Escfan
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Oh no, i dont want to set my expectations too high but I loved arcade, tout l’univers and répondez moi. I guess I’ll have to wait till Thursday :).

Last edited 9 months ago by Escfan
Tom
Tom
9 months ago
Reply to  Escfan

You May like it. It is similar but different at the same time. Chorus is catchy.

Iv***
Iv***
9 months ago

Let me guess the top 6 (in a random order): 1974, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2012, 2015. I shall stick to the saying: If you cannot say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything.

Erik
Erik
9 months ago
Reply to  Iv***

Don’t think so. Probably not 1984 because it’s a crappy song. Probably not 1999, he’s stated how surprised he was from that victory. He always reoccurs to Loreen. And also ABBA is a classic. So those two should be placed high.

Iv****
Iv****
9 months ago
Reply to  Erik

The truth between the lines: Sweden deserved only two victories. I rest my case.

Erik
Erik
9 months ago
Reply to  Iv****

Possibly. Or two songs on the top 10 list of the all time esc songs.

A fair thing would be that counties get a good placement from time to time. So many that never had a victory yet and they should have had it.

Iv***
Iv***
9 months ago
Reply to  Erik

Just ABBA. And that’s only because it’s ABBA. Personally I prefer Gigliola Cinquetti’s “Sì” over “Waterloo”.

hhhhurricane
hhhhurricane
9 months ago

i would lowkey be interested in buying it lol. mainly because im a filthy stats obsessed gremlin but also to yk educate myself on eurovisions which i frankly have no intentions of watching

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago

I hate what he said about the 1990s.

Iv****
Iv****
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

I hate what he said about 1956-2021.

Héctor
Héctor
9 months ago

I’m surprised to know he literally staged other countries performances. Not a bad thing just weird. I’d like to know what he has to say about Spain’s messed up performance and why RTVE didn’t do what artists asked for.

TheDr Mistery
TheDr Mistery
9 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

I wonder if he said something about Germany in 2016 which DID include the forrest and even more just to come last.

Jezinky
Jezinky
9 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

Which one of all the messed up preformances they’ve sent? XD

Day one
Day one
9 months ago
Reply to  Héctor

I wonder if the big 5 have a sort of ‘Leave them to it’ prestige because they often have hit or miss staging (Even Italy sometimes) and it just seems to be accepted by the producers.

ANDREW BROWN
ANDREW BROWN
9 months ago

One More Time with Den Vilda is one of my all time favourite esc songs. It has undertones of an ABBA production with a flavor of a classic Christmas song. Would have been a worthy winner in 1996

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
9 months ago
Reply to  ANDREW BROWN

To me, the song sounds like an Enya song in Swedish

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

It was written by Benny Andersson’s son and daughter-in-law – I can definitely hear a little of him in the song. Even ABBA can sound like Enya… the last song on their new album does.

mipr
mipr
9 months ago

Ok, but what for?

Bombalurina
Bombalurina
9 months ago

He’s so right about Turkey.. Their 1975 song sounds like a fairytale to me and the result for it is horrific
And i didn’t know that 2021 was his last Eurovision year

Denis
Denis
9 months ago

Apart from the horrible design( thats not how you do a book cover), it sounds like a must read.

Branko86
Branko86
9 months ago

So a Swede decides how a song from, let’s say Bulgaria, is performed on stage? Wow, and I always wondered why juries tend to vote for Sweden. Here’s the answer! Swedes decide too much in ESC! *vote me down, if you like, it’s just my opinion*

Daya Sloten
Daya Sloten
9 months ago
Reply to  Branko86

Eurovision was in Sweden that year. The production team always discusses with the delegations about the staging of the show and can give tips etc. They do not have to agree, its their own choice.

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
9 months ago
Reply to  Branko86

I hope the Netherlands don’t become the next thing hated by the fans now that a dutch production team will co-operate with rai to host eurovision.

Altough I’ll take being the next Sweden over going back to the pre 2013 dark days.

Last edited 9 months ago by Frisian esc
NickC
NickC
9 months ago

It is good to hear finally that someone openly said Turkey was underrated (in other words, discriminated against) throughout the 20th century (until televoting came in). Tak, Mr. Bjorkman for your honesty.

Nils
Nils
9 months ago
Reply to  NickC

Yes. And he’s right about Morocco, too. You can’t help but feel they would have come last with any song, just because they are Morocco.

Erik
Erik
9 months ago
Reply to  NickC

It’s “tack”.
“Tak” means roof/ceiling

NickC
NickC
9 months ago
Reply to  Erik

Tack!

Last edited 9 months ago by NickC
Erik
Erik
9 months ago
Reply to  NickC

Varsågod (you’re welcome)

Jinbeizaki
Jinbeizaki
9 months ago

Maybe I’ll be the only one interested in this book but the interview was nice, getting more information about backstage too from someone that whether you like him or not was important in Eurovision. Maybe not taking it too seriously helps too because at the end of the day it’s like a nice festival where people come together. He might have different opinions than me concerning all those songs but it’s fine, everyone has their own different taste and it’s better this way. I’m just curious about how he would view some songs, how different his personal opinion changed over… Read more »

Louka
Louka
9 months ago

Hello, I notice there’s a little mistake in France Gall’s family name orthography as it requires a double “l” and not only one. Apart from that, it was a pleasant interview to read because Mr. Björkman is indisputably a Eurovision reference for the simple reason he dealt with the contest for so many years and at all roles (from fan to participant, from HoD to producer…). Also I am glad to learn that his ultimate favourite song was the one that gave France its last victory, the cult and iconic L’oiseau et l’enfant by Marie Myriam.

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago

Sandie Shaw wants the same treatment.

AlexC
AlexC
9 months ago

I agree with @amonsterLike me opinion about 90s. I loved 90s as well. The worst for me were the 00’s.Just boring cliché poopy songs. From Ireland with the puppets to Greece’s trashy pop and Russia’s cheesy ballads. ew.

Sebastián
Sebastián
9 months ago

This book might be called: “how to turn a song contest in cheesy-swedishvision”.

This man is a cancer

Iv****
Iv****
9 months ago
Reply to  Sebastián

EXACTLY!!!!!!

Aria
Aria
9 months ago

Speaking of winners, I personally believe that Italy would have won in 2020 already and Maneskin would have doubled. So back to back wins are possible even in this day and age. But probably only Italy could pull it off.

Last edited 9 months ago by Aria
kir
kir
9 months ago
Reply to  Aria

Fai rumore was mediocre at best.

Sebastián
Sebastián
9 months ago
Reply to  kir

2020 would have been one of the worst editions. The lineup was a mess and Fai Rumore was a very decent song

Park Shin Hye
Park Shin Hye
9 months ago
Reply to  Sebastián

oh my god these two comments above make me sick to my stomach

Nudiecrudi
Nudiecrudi
9 months ago
Reply to  kir

Fai rumore is a beautiful song.
A masterpiece.

Aria
Aria
9 months ago
Reply to  kir

But the timing for that song was perfect.

Mark
Mark
9 months ago
Reply to  kir

Fai rumore mediocre? Really??

James
James
9 months ago
Reply to  kir

How so?

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
9 months ago
Reply to  Aria

I also expected 2020 to be between Italy and Iceland. We’ll never know now though.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
9 months ago
Reply to  Aria

hmm i can see us coming between 4th and 6th and that’s that

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Aria

Fai Rumore would reach 4th- 5th but not win. Or even runner up. It is a good song but it still is the kind of song people expect Italy to send. Though with the corona situation in Italy at the time he probably would get sympathy votes…

James
James
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

I wouldn’t say sympathy, especially as how the pandemic came to envelope everybpdy else, I can see the song connecting to more people beyond just mere sympathy.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  James

Yes but it hit Italy the hardest. No other European country had it as rough as Italy. So I do think the song would hit people differently..

James
James
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Yes, but it’s also fair to say that by May, it would have been a completely different story when the epicenter was no longer concentrated in just Italy.

And regardless, the merits of the song would have given Italy a really strong case to snatch a win as it does have that really captivating and anthemic quality that I think casuals will resonate it and respond to it positively. I mean, we already saw that back during Diodato’s Sanremo performances weeks before the cancelation was the furthest from people’s minds at the time.

Vale
Vale
9 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Again with this refrain ‘song people except Italy to send’. In the last decade, they send jazz, pop, urban hip-hop, rock and not just ballad

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago
Reply to  Vale

That does not necessarily change what people expect. People are ignorant.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Vale

They have sent differenlty but that doesn’t change that people expect Italy to send a type of song. Like how people expect Croatia/Serbia to always send a ethnic ballad!

Jo.
Jo.
9 months ago
Reply to  Aria

Top 5 probably, but Iceland had esc 2020 in the bag

Aria
Aria
9 months ago
Reply to  Jo.

Prove it.

Aria
Aria
9 months ago

You have to acknowledge that even other countries (Ukraine) begged him to be in charge of things. Now I don’t necessarily see this as huge credit to him, maybe others are just incredibly lazy and careless. I’m not impressed with the musical quality of the entries he was in charge of. Then again, the Swedes voted for the winner, not Christer. It’s kinda telling that he cites the last French winner as his favorite song. I love that song too. It’s warm and heartfelt music. The thing is: in all of his years in charge, he never went with one… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Aria
Nancy G
Nancy G
9 months ago

I’m curious to see the Sweden rankings. Since he worked with so many of the acts there will no doubt be drama!

TheDr Mistery
TheDr Mistery
9 months ago
Reply to  Nancy G

I wonder if he’ll put himself last. He should.

AMonsterLikeMe
AMonsterLikeMe
9 months ago

I won’t stand the 90s slander. It was by far the best decade. Bye Christer.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
9 months ago
Reply to  AMonsterLikeMe

he’s clearly traumatized by ending second-to-last when he represented sweden at esc 1992

rackham
rackham
9 months ago
Reply to  AMonsterLikeMe

Yes! I used my free time in 2020 to go back and watch old shows, so it’s fresh in my mind, and the 90s was fantastic, actually! (The only major flaw was that Amina was robbed, though somehow I doubt that’s what Mr. Björkman’s referring to…)

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago
Reply to  AMonsterLikeMe

Maybe he just begrudges Ireland those wins – he never did break their record.

Jack
Jack
9 months ago

Reading this someone can understand the double standards on Eurovision. When Greece votes for Cyprus or the opposite people boo. When Sweden votes for Australia every single year because the delegations are besties is very normal and fine. He literally admits taking over other countries staging and doing it his way. Is that ok? Is that what Eurovision is about? Food for thought.

Aria
Aria
9 months ago
Reply to  Jack

It probably is. The unfair exchange of points goes decades back. Unfortunately.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Well it gave Bulgaria a 4th and second place. So clearly it works..

Frisian esc
Frisian esc
9 months ago
Reply to  Jack

Did you just come up with that yourself or do you have some sort of proof that we don’t that these delegations work extensively together?Also delegations don’t vote in the jury. Also even I can do bulgarias staging if they’d ask me to. Everybody can. Yes that’s ok and yes the creative team and director usually have some form of input in the stage performances if you think logically.

Last edited 9 months ago by Frisian esc