Swedish Television are on Manoeuvres. They have befuddled fans of the Eurovision, who in a desperate attempt to latch onto a broadcaster who is open and "friendly" believe anything they say. They believe that the Melodifestivalen selection is better than anything offered by other broadcasters. AGAIN! How have they done this? - by not saying a damn word!
It's a very clever trick by SVT. It must be admired and has been built up over years and years. It goes back to when the internet first had a Eurovision presence. The main sites of the late 90's focused on the Swedish selection as the best thing since sliced bread. SVT didn't say anything, they just rotated their selections between Malmo, Stockholm and Gothenburg - sat on their hands and, probably, didn't even know that Eurovision fans existed, or that they were being told in their droves that this was the pinnacle. This was the best a Eurovision could be. It's better than your own selection and you must try and watch it via Real Player at a very low baud rate.
...but but it's so good?
As the years went on, the hype started to get bigger and bigger. The myth of MF was, by now, self perpetuating within the Eurovision world. You had to watch, you just had to. It didn't matter what the result was, or what songs were presented, you just had to try and see it - and still SVT said nothing.
They were the Swedish broadcaster for Swedish people and there is nothing for you European's here.... but if you wanted to see it, that's fine.
The trouble was that whilst popularity with fans of the internet and fan clubs outside of Europe grew exponentially, internally, MF was struggling and needed help. Kindly Uncle Svante expanded the MF to semi finals and a massive final and then the internet lost its shit!
FOUR Semifinals, a second chance AND A final?! - 32 (latterly 28) pieces of utter fabulousness (schlager-tastic if you will), the contest has even had a word specifically mangled and smashed into the Eurovision lexicon so that people don't even need to describe an atypical MF Song anymore.
And what have you got? A contest that gays - sorry Eurovision fans - can call their own. Gay Christmas, if you will (P.S. to all of those people who think Eurovision is “Gay Christmas”, I’m gay, Christmas hasn’t moved!) Year upon year the internet decrees that Sweden will be the best thing since sliced bread. Oh, the production values, oh, those little inside production jokes. They know we’re watching. Oh, those songs that are schlager (and we’ll diss the rest).
SVT are canny though
SVT stay reasonably silent through this. Why? Because they have got to a point where they know that they will be loved and adored by the majority of Eurovision fans because they appeal, in the same way that fans like songs, to the lowest common denominator.
They don’t have to spread the word because a massive majority of its target audience could watch the phone book being recited and because it’s Sweden, it must be good. SVT also know this carries onto the European final. By the time generic schlager boy X gets on stage at Eurovisionia the fans are so much in a lather that they know they have points in the bag before they start. No wonder they are at an advantage ... or so they think.
The truth, however, is very different. SVT have stopped trying to find good songs. I know this might offend some of your sensibilities but let's flesh this out.
They know they have a winning formula that doesn’t need tweaking that much because most of the hype is done for them - by you!. If they get 3200 songs, they only need to realistically pick one or two that are going to win and the remaining piles of donkey shit that get put on the desk from the churn-o-vision songwriting factories around Sweden and the world can get ignored.
They know that their shows will garner 70-80% of the television audience for six weeks because of a number of factors. No-one actually puts anything decent up against it from other channels, the Swedish audience know what to expect, the European audience is whipped into a frenzy at a sniff of Petra Mede’s apron, for SVT, the boxes have been ticked.
They plough on regardless and even when the selection of songs is ... questionable, nobody at SVT need worry. They just air the same hyped-up publicity circus all over again.
Adopt a NF...
Year after year, European fans fall into the same trap. Panic not, for there is a way out. For a small sum (and a brain), you too can find national finals that are of better quality, with better songs.
I know, these things exist, and you don’t have to look hard either. The same internets that told you “All are Sweden” can tell you “All are Norway” or “All are Iceland”. There are national finals that are not Schlagertastic. Open your heart to them and you’ll find that MF is just one piece of a fabulous Eurovision world.