Pathways to #Eurovision victory 2022: Sweden

This year’s Melodifestivalen was won by Cornelia Jakobs with Hold Me Closer:

(source: YouTube/Melodifestivalen)

After a relatively weak performance in 2021—where Tusse’s Voices finished 14th in the Grand Final—many fans wondered if SVT’s formula for persistently high ranking entries was losing its mojo. First let’s look at some of that mojo:

YearArtistSongScore (rank)TelevoteJury
2011PopularEric Saade184 (3rd)221 (2nd)106 (9th)
2012EuphoriaLoreen372 (1st)343 (1st)296 (1st)
2014UndoSanna Nielsen218 (3rd)190 (4th)201 (2nd)
2015HeroesMåns Zelmerlöw365 (1st)279 (3rd)363 (1st)
2016If I Were SorryFrans261 (5th)139 (6th)122 (9th)
2017I Can’t Go OnRobin Bengtsson344 (5th)126 (8th)218 (3rd)
2018Dance You OffBenjamin Ingrosso274 (7th)21 (23rd)253 (2nd)
2019Too Late for LoveJohn Lundvik334 (5th)93 (9th)241 (2nd)

I have excluded entries that have finished outside the top 10 in recent years—but that’s only two years (2013 and 2021). Otherwise Sweden’s netted two wins, seven top 5 placements and 8 top 10 placements. Few other delegations have anything like this level of consistency in recent years.

However, as we described in an earlier article, Sweden’s fortunes have often been buttressed by their jury scores and rankings. Obscured by the overall rankings above are somewhat less stellar public scores for many entries—and a televote tanking in 2018.

Juries sometimes love highly polished, innovative staging. The increasing ubiquity of Swedish co/penned songs for other delegations also reflects an appreciation of Swedish pop craft.

But can we discern anything from these data to predict Cornelia Jakobs’ fortunes in Turin. Not really. However…

From MelFest to the Eurovision

We do have another data set to consider: the performance of each of these listed entries in the corresponding year’s Melodifestivalen. If we use narrow as fewer than a 20 point differential (between the first and second ranked entries), comfortable as a 21-50 point, and crushing as 51 points or more margin of victory:

  • 2011 comfortable Melfest win by 45 points.
  • 2012 crushing win by 70 points
  • 2014 narrow win by 2 points
  • 2015 bone crushing win by 149 points
  • 2016 comfortable win by 24 points
  • 2017 comfortable win by 13 points
  • 2018 comfortable win by 23 points
  • 2019 crushing win by 74 points

Both winning Eurovision entries—Euphoria and Heroes—had crushing victories at Melfest. But so did John Lundvik in 2019. Sanna Nielsen’s Undo squeaked out a razor thin win (anyone remember Ace Wilder?), but still finished a comfortable third in Copenhagen. All of them won the televote at Melfest as well.

This year Cornelia Jakobs had a comfortable win by 25 points, but she was second with the public. Only Robin Bengtsson, who was 3rd in the televote in 2017, also won Melfest without winning the televote among these entries. In Kyiv I Can’t Go On was second with juries and 8th with the public.

Conclusion

In most years juries love Swedish entries more than the public does—though the public often quite likes them too. For Hold Me Closer to have a good chance at victory Sweden needs to be very highly scored by juries—probably in the top three after the jury scores come in.

However…if we have a relatively flat jury scores distribution—like in 2011—if the differential between the top 4-5 entries isn’t massive, any of them could make up the difference in the televotes. Though only Euphoria managed to win its Grand Final televote.

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