Editorials & Opinion

What does Switzerland need to do before they can succeed at Eurovision?

After not qualifying for the Grand Final of Eurovision 3 years in a row, and only qualifying 4 times since the Semi-Finals were introduced, Switzerland is now trying to figure out where they have gone wrong in Eurovision. What will it take for them to get back to the final in years to come?

A Eurovision history of Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the few countries that have participated in almost every edition of the contest since its beginning, only missing four contests – 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2003. Switzerland was the first country to win the contest back in 1956, with now Eurovision legend Lys Assia. They also won the contest later, in 1988 with Céline Dion’s ‘Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi’. Before recent years, Switzerland was seen as a major competitor in the contest, with multiple 2nd and 3rd places, among other top 10 finishes.

However, since the introduction of the Semi-Finals in 2004, the country has struggled to qualify. The country has missed out on the final 10 times in total and placed last in the Semi-Final 4 times. This year, Timebelle with their song ‘Apollo’ narrowly missed out on the final, placing 12th with 97 points in their Semi-Final. This was an improvement on the results of 2016 and 2015, with Rykka and Mélanie René both placing last. Earlier this year, we analysed how Switzerland has selected their entries throughout their history and whether it has coincided with a change in success, so do give that a read!

What are the causes for Switzerland’s results?

Some of the televoting results can be attributed to the fact that some countries may have anti-Swiss sentiments, but the main reason for their below-average results is due to the songs that they are sending and the staging that said songs are given.

The new and updated selection process Die Grosse Entscheidungsshow may be to blame for the average songs. Songs are submitted by the artist and are then reviewed in an ‘expert-check’ by the broadcasters. They then choose the 6 best who shall compete in the national final, the result of which is chosen by a 100% televote. The problem may lie in the fact that the public cannot choose the songs which shall compete.

Even if the song is not to blame, the staging it is given may be the problem. It is well known within Europe that Switzerland is one of the more wealthy countries in Europe. Therefore, they must have money to spend on expensive staging? No. In 2016 we saw Rykka perform ‘Last Of Our Kind’ in smoke and squatting alone on stage. Timebelle’s staging in 2017 was slightly more impressive and creative, but some found it excessively colourful. And, they failed to qualify.

What can be done to help them?

In a reaction to these below-average results, Broadcasters in Switzerland have decided to change the format of the national selection. But this time, it is with the help of Martin Österdahl and Christer Björkman. They are producers of the national selection in Sweden, Melodifestivalen. Sweden, currently, is one of the most successful countries in the contest, having won two times since 2010 and consistently ranked in the top 10. The change in the selection process may increase the chances of Switzerland getting back on the leaderboard.

Another option for the nation could be an internal selection instead. Although this has not gone so well for the country in the past (like in 2006-2009), countries like Bulgaria, who internally select, have achieved their best ever results over the past two years. France and Belgium were also able to achieve better results long-term via internal selection.

Do you think that Switzerland will be able to qualify again? Do you think that they deserved their results? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @escXtra! 

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