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Carola won Melodifestivalen 1983
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ABBA in their first Melodifestival appearance, in 1973
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Finnish Arja Saijonmaa in MF 1987
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Kikki Danielsson won in 1985
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Cameron Cartio made up his own language for MF 2005

Melodifestivalen Facts

Melodifestivalen, literally translated, means ”The Melody Festival”, and has had that name since 1967, but the Swedes have held contests to select a song for the Eurovision since 1958.

  • Some of Sweden’s most famous singers and songwriters have taken part over the years. Members of Ace of Base, ABBA, Roxette, Army of Lovers, The Cardigans and Robyn have all written songs for the contest.

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  • The contest is also known as ”Schlagerfestivalen” or ”Schlager-SM” in the media. ”Schlager” is a Swedish name for the type of music that was synonymous with the contest in the 80’s. Uptempo, poppy songs with throwaway lyrics, and with arrangements often inspired by Abba’s ”Waterloo”. Typical ”Schlager” songs include ”Bra Vibrationer” by Kikki Danielsson(MF 1985), ”Fyra Bugg och en Coca-Cola” by Lotta Engberg(MF 1987), ”Take me to your heaven” by Charlotte Nilsson(MF 1999) and ”Listen to your heartbeat” by Friends(MF 2001). A key change is almost compulsory. SVT are now trying to get away from the ”Schlager” tag however, encouraging other types of music to compete in the contest.

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  • The songs that win aren’t always the most commercially succesful entrants. Evergreens that lost over the years include Cecilia Vennersten’s ”Det Vackraste” from 1995, Björn Skifs’ ”Michelangelo” from 1975, and of course, ABBA’s ”Ring Ring” from 1973.

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  • Songwriters wishing to compete in the contest have to be Swedish citizens, or residents in the country. Foreign songwriters are banned, but foreign singers are allowed to take part. Arja Saijonmaa from Finland, Maarja & Kerli Kõiv from Estonia, Haakon Pedersen & Nick Borgen from Norway, Katrina from the UK as well as Alannah Myles from Canada have all taken part over the years.

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  • Sweden has used telephone voting in Melodifestivalen since 1999, in the final they also use a jury spread around 11 local districts.

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  • One man synonymous with the contest is Bert Karlsson, a controversial former record company director. His company, Mariann, dominated the contest in the 80’s and early 00’s, and he can always be relied upon to make headline-making statements in the media.

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  • Up until 2002 all songs had to be in Swedish, but the rules have since been relaxed. At least 10 of the entries now have to be in Swedish, but since 2002 we have now seen also songs in English, Spanish, Persian, Portuguese and even in a made-up language.

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  • Last year, the various qualifying rounds and final dominated the 10 most viewed TV shows of the year:

    1. Melodifestivalen Final 2007 3 975 000 viewers
    2. Donald Duck and his Friends(A Christmas tradition) 3 490 000 viewers
    3. Eurovision Song Contest final 2007 3 425 000 viewers
    4. Melodifestivalen 2007 3 210 000 viewers
    5. Melodifestivalen 2007 3 175 000 viewers
    6. Melodifestivalen 2007 3 145 000 viewers
    7. Melodifestivalen 2007 3 040 000 viewers
    8. Melodifestivalen 2007 2 990 000 viewers
    9. På Spåret(A quiz show) 2 475 000 viewers
    10. På Spåret 2 410 000 viewers

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