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Swedish Eurovision fever cools

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Swedish Eurovision fever cools
Timoteij and Darin qualify for final
10:59 CET+01:00
Is Sweden falling out of love with Eurovision? On the verge of this year's national final, new statistics show that while the event still tops the ratings, viewing figures and public voting are in decline, according to a report in Dagens Nyheter (DN).

2010 marks nine years since the Swedish "Melodifestivalen" was remade in its current format - with regional heats across the country building up to the Stockholm final and Eurovision qualifier, which takes place on Saturday.

The televised event is a phenomenon without comparison in Sweden, with nigh on half the nation tuning in for the annual festival.

But media attention on the event has declined by 40 percent this year in comparison with 2008, according to figures from media analysis firm Infopaq cited by the newspaper.

"Melodifestivalen has been the biggest for many years and still is. But the figures show that the phenomenon is losing force," Andreas Leifsson at Infopaq told the newspaper.

Infopaq has counted the number of articles in the Swedish media between February 1st to March 8th and compared them to the corresponding period of 2008.

Viewing figures have also declined by 10 percent over the the six week period of the regional heats, including last weekend's "second chance" semi-final. The spectacle attracted a combined total of 13.9 million viewers in comparison to 15.3 million in 2009, according to Sveriges Television (SVT) figures.

But Thomas Hall, who is responsible for the competition at SVT, explained the drop on this year's Olympic Games in Vancouver.

Despite the apparent decline in interest, Melodifestivalen is set to be topped only by the summer royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and the Christmas Donald Duck special, as millions are set to tune in for Saturday's final in Stockholm's Globe Arena to select Sweden's Eurovision representative.

Sweden's choice for the Eurovision Song Contest, to be held this year in Oslo, has been narrowed down to eight acts - follow the link below to see what all the fuss is about.

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