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Nine things we expect from Sweden and Eurovision 2013 Written by on May 28, 2012 | 26 Comments

We might be in the “off-season” now for the summer, but the minds of many Eurovision fans are already looking towards 2013 and what delights Sweden will offer for the fifty eighth Eurovision Song Contest.

Even now the ESC Insight team are wondering what will make the Swedish contest stand out. What changes can we expect to see, what will fans attending the Contest experience, and how will the media in Sweden and beyond react to the Contest? Let’s look into our crystal ball and make some predictions…

Sweden not shutting up about Loreen… for the whole year

Let’s be honest, Sweden is one o the countries that loves Eurovision, and their national selection process Melodifestivalen. There’s a lot of media interest in the run up to both the contests, and SVT feed the media machine rather effectively. This year there’s not going to be a month or so’s respite in June and July thanks to Loreen’s victory. Expect Sweden to remind themselves (and the world) of this fact at every opportunity.

Sweden 2012 Victory

Sweden Victorious

Expect a huge rush to buy tickets

Tickets for the 2012 Eurovision finals remained available for a long time after the new Ticketmaster powered system put the previous billets on sale. That’s not going to happen in 2013. Tickets for Düsseldorf all sold out over a single morning, and we’re expecting the Swedish seats to go even faster. Gone in sixty minutes is a distinct possibility.

There will be lots to do for Eurovision fans in Stockholm

Yes, Stockholm, because we’re 99% sure it’s going to be the capital. They’ve just built a new stadium (almost if they knew they would need one), but the number of bars and clubs in the Swedish capital will be crawling with fans. To be honest even if you don’t have a ticket the buzz on the street should be more intense than any other contest in recent memory.

Visas, flights and accommodation

These should all be a lot easier than Baku. Sweden is part of The Schengen Agreement, which ensures simplified cross border arrangements for countries that are part of the agreement. There are a number of bilateral agreements as well, so many people outside of Schengen will not need a Visa – this includes UK, Australian, American and Canadian Eurovision fans!

Melodifestivalen will be even more intense

If the competition and pressure to represent Sweden was  huge before, that’s going to be nothing compared to the chance to represent Sweden on home soil. It’s going to be an interesting line-up, especially in the public web-joker round.

The 2012 Melodifestivalen competitors

The 2012 Melodifestivalen competitors

The ‘six people on stage’ rule upped to eight.

Head of Delegation Christer Bjorkman has long pushed for Eurovision to follow the lead of Melodifestivalen in some areas. Organising the Swedish Eurovision we expect he’ll look to introduce the rule of up to eight people on-stage, but only six people who will be able to sing, allowing two extra people as dancers if so wished.

Shall we use pre-recorded backing vocals?

Again, this is a Melodifestivalen thing, where only lead vocals need to be sung live in the show. We don’t think that the other delegations will go for it, with a long and proud history of Eurovision based around live vocals. But Bjorkman will certainly put this on the table as a possibility in the future.

The biggest Eurovision ever?

The ESC Insight team don’t expect Sweden to scale back the staging or presentation of Eurovision; expect whoever the host city is to embrace the contest closer than any other city; expect a technologically advanced show on the stage and presented on television screens around the world; and expect a Contest that will look fresh, unique, and exciting compared to earlier years.

A more streamlined and economical Eurovision.

It might ring the changes in terms of size, but some changes to Eurovision to bring down the costs incurred by delegations could be on the cards as well. We’re going to look in-depth at a few of these suggestions over the summer months here on ESC Insight, especially the idea of shortening the time spent by Delegations in Sweden. Reducing the accommodation costs will help many smaller broadcasters to attend the Contest, and in the current financial climate that will be appreciated all round.

What are you hoping for from next year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Let us know in the comments (unless you’re from SVT, in which case we have very competitive consultation fees).


About The Author: Sharleen Wright

Sharleen Wright is the co-founder of ESC Insight and a freelance journalist and researcher. She has previously worked for numerous community radio stations in Sydney Australia, and contributed to the wider world of comedy holding production and promotions roles at both the Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Her written words have appeared online, as well as The List magazine, and numerous fanzines on the topics of television and specifically, Eurovision . She is currently based in Australia and undertaking research on food and event tourism. You can follow Sharleen on Twitter (@sharly77) and Facebook (

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26 responses to “Nine things we expect from Sweden and Eurovision 2013”

  1. David Mann says:

    Yes, an interesting few months ahead – and a very busy time for Mr Bjorkman if he’s masterminding MF *and* Eurovision for SVT. No more talk of him going back to the old hairdressing lark for the time being I don’t think! Except of course to receive some large donations of products in kind from Schwartzkopf … ooh wash my mouth out!

  2. Ewan Spence says:

    My personal guess is that Bjorkman will focus on ESC2013, and the MF team will start the “successor” program now, perhaps with Edward Af Sillen stepping up?

  3. Jamie Minthead says:

    I’m expecting a new record of participating countries – they’ll try their best to get all 42 from Baku to stay (I’d guess Slovakia is the only tenuous one anyway), Armenia are guaranteed to return, they’d only need to convince one more!

  4. Seán says:

    In many ways I suspect that this will be Bjorkman’s contest, even if Jon Ola Sand is at the head of the table, but I do think it is unlikely that the pre-recorded backing vocals will be there, it might be too controversial.

    In many ways I suspect it will be like the 2010 contest [my favourite of the last ten years or so]. Sweden has hosted the contest before and they know we know where it is on the map. They don’t have much to prove by hosting it [unlike Azerbaijan] so I’d say it will be different.

    I do also suspect this could be a year of 44/45 countries.

  5. Michael says:

    I’m hoping for plenty of tickets for OGAEs, because I know they’ll all want a whole lot of them. (And I want a set.)

    Jamie, did Armenia show the contest this year? I know that the EBU said that Armenia wouldn’t be allowed to compete unless they showed the contest in its entirety. I’m guessing that they did, but I’m not sure.

  6. Dimitry Latvia USA says:

    I hope there will be no pre-recorded vocals, if live music is not possible, at least there should be 100% live singing. Does Bjorkman have so much power to do whatever he wishes?

  7. Critter Sydney, AUS says:

    I just want to see ABBA reform!

  8. Jaz says:

    I bet the two substitute grannies and Tony from Mandinga are fuming at the possibility of eight people being allowed on stage! I hope if that does become part of Eurovision in the future, not every single country will take advantage of it because they can. Some acts work with one or two people, and some seem like they could use another couple (e.g. Ukraine this year).

  9. Ewan Spence says:

    Ah but “Poor Tony” did trend on Twitter, he’s now internet-famous!

  10. Ewan Spence says:

    Any changes would have to go though the various committees, there’s no unilateral power to make changes. Lots of discussion though!

  11. Ewan Spence says:

    I think the OGAE ballott will be very competitive and many people will miss out.

    According to Insight friends in Armenia, the Grand Final was shown.

  12. Ewan Spence says:

    The obvious ones back are Poland and Armenia, which would take it to 44 if all the existing countries were willing and able to stay.

  13. James says:

    I just hope they come up with a new design for the scoreboard/song subtitles – not much has changed since 2009, and I bet they could make it look more interesting somehow 😛

  14. Ewan Spence says:

    Agreed! We need more unique looks each year – heart branding yes, but every single graphic in the show but with a different colour? Next!!!

  15. Im hoping we could see the comeback of the Czech Republic, they seem to be interested when a stand out song wins like in 2006. Liechtenstien would be a nice first timer, we just have to wait and see if the EBU approve 1FLTV and the Liechtenstien government back the subsidies they need to take part. Luxembourg would be nice to see back in the contest, they have had Eurovision songs charting there and they would have a chance to draw talent from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and France if they wanted.Monaco would be dependent on if TMC actually have the funds to take part in the contest.

    Also for 2013 are the EBU introducing compulsory public involvement in selecting the song or artist(s)?

  16. Ewan Spence says:

    There’s no introduction of compulsory public elements. it was discussed within EBU, but it was confirmed at Baku that the TV Committee rejected the idea.

  17. Ohh good that means that smaller nations can still get to Eurovision without blowing the budget on a selection show.

  18. Ben says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve tried to make a case for this before on this site, but when it comes to pre-recorded backing vocals, while it is definitely something that makes a performance sound a hell of a lot better (just watched Tooji on MGP, what a difference!) I think it would dampen Eurovision’s credibility a bit if indeed it did adopt backing vocals.

    On the other hand, a lot of really good songs are falling flat on their faces, whether its with public or juries (who if I recall correctly are supposed to listen to the recordings beforehand?) simply because the live vocals and the budget of people on stage just can’t deliver. So I propose an in-between option.

    It’s a tricky rule to write in the book, because each song would be so different, but I believe Eurovision should allow pre-recorded vocal effects. The most obvious cases in point are Waldo’s People and Sebastien Tellier. More subtlely affected songs include Je Ne Sais Quoi (just before she starts to sing, that computerised rising “aaaaah” has to go) and I Can, where Blue had to completely change their intro because there is no way they could pull off those computerised vocals live.

    It’s a shame that the EBU are this strict about backing vocals in this day and age of music. Frankly I was really surprised they let Anggun keep her whistles! Imagine having to do that live! The song would be nothing without it! There are many similar cases in recent years where songs and performances suffer unjustly because of outdated rules regarding vocals. I believe in live singing and a fair competiton, but not at the expense of a quality performance.

  19. BJ Murphy says:

    I met Bjorkman at the ESC bash in Washington. Not the friendliest guy but hey, Congratulations.

  20. Polle says:

    Crud, I’d really be disappointed if they’d allow pre-recorded backing vocals.

    Upping the number of people on stage: Yes please! With the stages getting bigger and bigger, it just feels really empty if there can only be six people on stage. I’d max it out at ten or even twelve. It’ll get more expensive for each country though (hotel rooms, more luggage, more flights…)

  21. Aufrechtgehn says:

    I absolutely agree the six persons rule has to go. Uptempo dance songs just call out for a heavy choreography (look what happened to Sofi Marinova, who in my book had an excellent track, killed by the lacklustre, poor-looking performance without any extra dancers), but dancing around like crazy and delievering fine vocals at the same time is a nearly impossible task, as Ivi Adamou surely would agree on.

    So too keep a maximum of six singers, but allowing some extra dancers is a much needed step imho. I’d go for a maximum of 6 + 6, but even 6 + 2 would be a good start.

    Not so keen about the use of pre-recorded or synthesized vocals. This has to do with personal preferences: I’m not a fan of heavily autotuned voices in general, and personally, I even preferred Ivi’s not-so-good live vocals to the overly altered voice in the studio version of ‘La la love’.

    But, apart from this, I believe that singing live is one of the core elements of Eurovision, which makes this show unique. I also believe that the concept of singing live, just like being pregnant, is something which can’t be done in parts. I.e. allowing synthesized or pre-recorded backing vocals while the lead voice still has to be live just makes no difference at all to a completely lip-synced performance. Especially in a competition where everyone needs to sound as good as possible, which in the long run will result in the complete vocals being pre-recorded and the singer just miming to it or doing a voiceover from time to time (watch Danny Saucedo’s performance of ‘In the Club’ to see what I mean).

    So, in short: kill the six person rule, but stick to live vocals please!

  22. torgavus says:

    I am all in favour of the not more than six people onstage rule for a very simple reason. It would make ESC acts even more expensive than they already are. Several small and less wealthy broadcasters already struggle to participate for financial reasons and their participation would be even less futile if they had to compete against bombastic dance acts from Sweden, Germany, the UK etc. Btw, if I remember correctly, the six people rule was introduced to guarantee equal chances for everyone, so that Germany would not send the Fischer Chöre f. e., an act which the Monegasque broadcaster f. e. could never have afforded. It is about fair play imo.

    Btw, have you realised that you can play a little game everytime you have 5 people jumping around onstage in ESC? It is the spot the guy or lady hidden in the dark on the side of the stage game, the guy or lady who does most of the live singing. We call that ‘to do a Saki’ at our ESC parties. 🙂

  23. Shai says:

    6 persons rule should stay.It’s already too messy as it is (France and Ukraine this year as examples to how messy it can go). What I would like to see is that if there are instruments on the stage, they should be played live. It will give some of the live feeling that got lost when they removed the orchestra And it will give the song a different sound.

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