Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package
If I Were Sorry is a commercially relevant song that has the sort of understated appeal of Ed Sheeran, who is one of the world’s biggest selling artists at present.
After months of analysis and coverage, this year’s Melfest season came to a close with the coronation of Frans at the newly named Frans Arena.
Frans will hope If I Were Sorry scores Sweden a record equalling victory on home soil in May.
It’s safe to say that since Frans’ Melfest win, the naysayers have been shouting the loudest across various websites and social media platforms, while those who respected Sweden’s chances at Eurovision 2016 have had to reassess their positions. That’s the unpredictable – and often combative – world of Eurovision betting.
The Sweden antagonists’ main argument focusses on the fact Frans failed to win the jury score, or dominate the phone vote by as great a margin as Mans or Loreen.
So why was Frans’ winning score much lower than expected?
Last year SVT introduced the voting app, but the system crashed during the final, resulting in the voiding of all app votes. 2016 is the first final to feature app voting and its far-reaching effects warrant greater scrutiny.
Last year’s Melodifestivalen final attracted over 1.5-million votes, yet this year’s saw more than 12-million votes cast due to both the availability of the app and the ability to award five votes to each artist. This has skewed the scoring beyond recognition and has separated 11 acts in a 12-strong field by just 17 points. David Lindgren, who came last on the public vote with 28-points, would have finished as high as 5th in previous years. So discounting Frans because he compares less favourably to his predecessors whose victories were won under different conditions seems rather simplistic and rash.
Mans’ victory in 2015 was the most emphatic in recent years, yet had the voting app not failed, it’s reasonable to suggest the result may have been more inline with this year’s points spread.
To add more detail, let’s look at the last five winners and how they compare to their closest competitor:
- 2015 – Mans’s televote was 1.9 times higher than his 2nd placed rival.
- 2014 – Sanna’s televote was just 1.08 times that of 2nd placed Ace. Sanna finished 3rd in a competitive Eurovision year.
- 2013 – Freak year.
- 2012 – Loreen’s televote was 1.5 times that of Danny Saucedo. Won Eurovision.
- 2011 – Saade’s televote was 1.6 times ahead of Danny Saucedo. Finished 3rd at Eurovision.
This year, Frans was 1.5 times ahead of 2nd placed Oscar Zia, which is still in the region of other Melfest winners who went on to win or finish top-3 at Eurovision. Plus, if we accept the app vote has levelled the field, then Frans could have won by a much greater margin under the pre-app rules.
So what about the jury score?
This year’s Melfest was more competitive than I had originally predicted, but the jury members were Eurovision aficionados and ranked typically Eurovisiony songs highly. Even so, it was Ace and Frans that secured the most 12-points, but the latter was punished by the likes of Belarus and Australia not getting the song. Rather than the public vote, this is the one red flag for me, as it’s unusual to see a Melfest winner score zero from an individual juror, let alone two.
Having said that, If I Were Sorry still feels like a top-5 jury song, and with more industry expert jurors to recognise commercial success and originality at Eurovision, Frans’ song should standout in what is a lower than average lineup this year.
Frans topped the Sverigetopplistan and Spotify charts before andra chasen had taken place. He also secured platinum status faster than Mans, in addition to appearing on the global viral chart, which measures social trends. That contrasts quite strongly with the vitriol and negativity directed at the 17-year old since winning Saturday’s final – mostly from the fan community who wanted Sweden to send a more formulaic schlager ballad or dance floor banger. And that ultimately overlooks what is a commercially relevant song that has the sort of understated appeal of Ed Sheeran, who is one of the world’s biggest selling artists at present. Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself also fits the genre and Bieber’s song achieved worldwide success late last year, so there is a strong market for this music.
With the likes of Aminata and Loic doing well last year, the Eurovision tide has been shifting to recognise modern music, and If I Were Sorry does feel very now in terms of the type of music people are digesting.
We also have to recognise Frans’ ability to connect with the audience, as the reaction in Gävle was immense for a virtually unknown boy from Skåne, but his sincere, childlike persona won people over. That ability to connect through the television, which was even stronger in the final, is a huge benefit and reminds me of how Lena won people over in 2010.
Sweden will face very little competition for votes from their Nordic neighbours in May, and if drawn into a beneficial running order slot, I wouldn’t be so bold as to say Sweden can’t win on home soil just yet.
Are Sweden on the verge of another victory?