• Sweden edition

Melodifestivalen: "It's a dictatorship! Abuse of power!"

Published: 20 Jan 2005 13:09 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Jan 2005 13:09 GMT+01:00

The last straw for many seems to have been Björkman's final wild card selections for the 2005 competition, announced this week. An uninspiring list was headed by Danish star, Nanne Grönwall. Coincidentally, Grönwall and Björkman are close personal friends and recently toured together.

Or is it coincidence....? Unsuccessful applicant, Pernilla Wahlgren, was in no doubt when she told Aftonbladet:

"I question how he can sit on his high horse and decide so much. Everybody knows he lets his mates jump the queue."

She has no shortage of backers, although most of them, fearing for their careers by getting into Björkman's little black book, prefer to speak off the record. An industry insider told the same paper:

"Everybody knows he favours his friends at the same time as he blanks those he doesn't like."

Wahlgren would presumably be one of those he doesn't like. According to the artist herself, known mostly for her performances in stage musicals, Björkman told her she was too old and not suitable for the competition. Last year, one of Björkman's wild card picks was another stage artist, Petra Nielsen.

1999 winner, Charlotte Perelli, is the only artist willing to speak out openly who doesn't have a personal bone to pick.

"It's dangerous and regrettable if one person sits in a position where he can make or break artists. That's not what the Melodifestivalen is all about."

A third charge against Björkman from this year's competition concerns his partner, Martin Kagemark. Although Kagemark has been prevented by Björkman from entering the competition in his own right, he has got a place as one of the backing singers on the show.

Björkman has been raising eyebrows since the 2003 competition. At the time, he had released an album of his own, which was distributed by song-writer Bobby Ljunggren's company. It then emerged that a disproportionate number of songs in the 2003 line-up were written by none other than Bobby Ljunggren.

GP, whose music correspondent has called for Björkman to resign, has also discovered that one of the judges on the selection panel which chooses 28 of the 32 songs in the competition, also sits on the board of Christer Björkman Artistproduktion AB.

"Never thought about it," said the man himself.

What Björkman and the show's SVT producers do seem to be thinking about is their communications.

"[Some of the criticism is warranted] inasmuch as I and my colleagues have sometimes been naive. In an operation the size of Melodifestivalen there are always things that are obvious to us, but which others interpret differently. Those of us working on Melodifestivalen, including the SVT leadership must be clearer."

Thomas Hall, SVT's project manager for Melodifestivalen agreed:

"SVT as a whole and those working on Melodifestivalen must be better at communicating. We need to explain to everybody how the various stages of the show work and who's responsible for what."

Both men denied categorically that any favouritism was shown towards particular artists. Björkman told Aftonbladet:

"Of course I know a lot of the artists who take part. It's part of my job to have a lot of contacts. I realise that this isn't a job that's likely to make me Mr Popular. A lot of people are necessarily disappointed."

Hall added:

"I'm so involved in the whole process [of selecting artists] that I would have noticed if Christer had been fishing for dinner invitations."

Sources: Aftonbladet, Göteborgs Posten

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

A mystery airplane that passed over Swedish airspace recently has been revealed as an American aircraft, sources revealed on Thursday. READ  

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Sweden's three elite boarding schools can no longer charge tuition fees, the government announced on Thursday, in a string of changes following a two-year review. READ  

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party
Conchita Wurst belts out a ballad. Photo: Rebecca Jacobs

In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party

With Stockholm's Pride Week in full swing, The Local's Rebecca Jacobs heads on down to the traditional Historic Party to take in the colours, Conchita, and the community. READ  

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two people were taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after a fire began in their central Stockholm apartment. READ  

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall
Photo: Jim Cole/TT

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has recalled its in-store brand of fresh hamburger meat after a routine check revealed traces of salmonella in the meat. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

What's On in Sweden

It's Pride Week in Stockholm. Find out more about the celebrations (including the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia) as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities. READ  

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

The Local List
Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm
Fanny feels at home at the Blå Lotus. Photo: Isabela Vrba

Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm

If you're wondering where to grab your next cappucino, then wonder no more. The Local talked to the locals in Stockholm and found out the best spots in town for the ultimate fika experience. READ  

People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Stockholm Pride kicks off
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »


27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: