In what has become a much anticipated wildcard competition, The Lovers of Valdaro are this year’s selected representative from P4 Nästa 2018 to go forwards to Melodifestivalen. Competing alongside 7 other finalists, the duo were selected with their song “Lost Forever” which mixes 1980s beats and nostalgic synthpop with modern melodies. The song is not their competing entry for Melodifestivalen as this would contravene the competition rules as well as the rules for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.
The selected entry from The Lovers of Valdaro is not the winning entry of the competition, however. Spring City from Jönköping won the P4 Nästa competition but the jury chose the duo from Stockholm as the artist to go forwards to Melodifestivalen 2018.
The Lovers of Valdaro will now work on their entry for Melodifestivalen 2019 alongside professional songwriters, who often have experience with the big production requirements of Melodifestivalen!
Song eligibility is key
Two key rules for both Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest are contravened with the running P4 Nästa competition, which means that any winning entry is not eligible for the subsequent Eurovision selection show.
Songs made available for mass public consumption before 1st September 2018 are not eligible for the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.
At Melodifestivalen, the songs are never revealed publicly in full in advance of the televised show. Only 2 minutes and 30 seconds of each entry are made available in the week each song competes in its semifinal.
A successful format?
Melodifestivalen has long included wildcard entries in one form or another. The much maligned webjoker competition never once managed to produce an entry which made it to the second round of voting in the semifinals. Only once Sveriges Radio got involved did an entry make it to the second voting stage of a semifinal. To date, two wildcard entries have made it into the second round of voting in a semfiinal. No wildcard artist/entry has qualified from a semifinal yet.
The first webjoker competition took place in 2010. The winning entry was “Come and Get Me Now” by MiSt. When the entry made its way into the competition as a finalised version, the original songwriting duo were joined by dansband Highlights. The entry finished in 7th place in semifinal 2.
In 2011, the two webjoker wildcards were Jonas Matsson with the song “On My Own” which finished in 7th place in semifinal 1 and Julia Alvgard with the song “Better or Worse” which finished in 6th place in semifinal 4.
In 2012, Maria BenHajji won the lucky ticket to be the webjoker wildcard with her song “I mina drömmar” and finished in 8th place in semifinal 3.
Radio revived the video star?
2013 was the first year that the winner of the P4 Nästa competition, formerly known as Svensktoppen nästa, organised by Sveriges Radio would be eligible to compete at Melodifestivalen. The first artist to claim this reward was Terese Fredenwall. She competed with the song “Breaking the Silence” and finished in 5th place in semifinal 4 becoming the first wildcard entry to proceed to the second voting round.
There was also an open submission competition for unpublished artists, similar to the eligibility rules for the previous web wildcard contest. These entries were then assessed by a jury which selected Elin Petersson and her song “Island” as the public competition wildcard. “Island” finished 8th in semifinal 3.
For the 2014 contest, the winning entry from Svensktoppen nästa that went forwards to Melodifestivalen was EKO who competed with the song “Red” which finished in 8th place in semifinal 3. IDA won the open submission competition with the song “Fight Me If You Dare” which finished in 6th place in semifinal 4.
In 2015, the rules of Melodifestivalen were altered slightly to reduce the number of competing entries to 28 (from a previous total of 32). Each semifinal now contained 7 participating entries. Emelie Irewald was selected via the open submission competition to compete with her entry “Där och då med dig”. The entry finished in 6th place in semifinal 2. Kalle Johansson won the radio wildcard competition and presented the entry “För din skull” which finished in 6th place in semifinal 3.
You know nothing, Swedish public
(Yes, I have bastardised a Game of Thrones quote: “You know nothing, Jon Snow”, and what?)
For 2016, the open submission process was discontinued due to consistently poor results. Only the radio wildcard competition remained. The dance music act Smajl were selected and became SMILO for the international audience at Melodifestivalen. They presented the entry “Weight of the World” which participated in semifinal 3, receiving the fourth highest televote in the first round and proceeding to the telephone vote round where it was then knocked out in 5th place.
In 2017, Les Gordons were selected as the wildcard from the P4 Nästa radio competition and their entry “Bound to Fall” finished in 6th place in semifinal 4.
This year, Stiko Per Larsson was the P4 Nästa selection. His entry “Titta vi flyger” competed in semifinal 2 and finished in 6th place.
Are you a fan of the wildcard competition? What has been your favourite ‘joker’ entry at Melodifestivalen to date? Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.