Aftermath 2019 (10): A renewed focus sees a strong result for Switzerland

Switzerland’s success at Eurovision is few and far between, and despite their efforts to turn their luck around, the nation often struggled to determine what would make a successful Eurovision package. With a renewed selection strategy, Switzerland proved that it was possible to turn things around after Swiss representative Luca Hänni achieved a respectable 4th place at the contest.

Behind closed doors: A new selection strategy for Switzerland

It was safe to say that the Swiss national final format was stale, with the output of the national contest far from what is now expected from a competitive nation at Eurovision. This year saw a renewed focus, with an internal selection rather than a public selection, although the process still featured a jury aspect.

A 100-member expert jury joined forces with a 100-member public panel to help decide on the Eurovision entry, and as we know, the result of that was Luca Hänni with the song She Got Me. Upon the song release, it was clear that Switzerland were taking the contest seriously, and the contemporary and upbeat entry quickly became one of the strong favourites of the contest.

While public selections work exceptionally well for some nations, it rarely seemed like the best option for Switzerland who receive entries from various different broadcasters. At times the competition seemed amateurish, and that amateurism was often carried through to Eurovision and unsurprisingly unrewarded. With this year being essentially the ‘debut’ year of this style of selection for Switzerland, it will be interesting to see whether they continue choosing internally in future years, or whether the public selection will make a return.

Switzerland created a slick brand for Eurovision

What set this year’s entry apart was how slick and professional it was, from the artist to the song, and even the music video all had a ‘brand’ and that remained through the entire process, including events such as the Eurovision pre-parties. Few nations managed to achieve this continuity between when the song was selected and revealed, to Eurovision itself, and I think this helped to keep the focus tight on the Swiss entry and the visual aspect of the song – in a sense we knew what was coming for Eurovision in terms of the performance, but in this case I wouldn’t label this predictability as a negative.

The Fuego Effect

It is undeniable that ‘She Got Me’ ticks many of the same boxes that ‘Fuego’ ticked last year. Both entries were strong pop entries that appeal to the masses, but also had a strong stage performance potential. The performance of Fuego has now become one of the most iconic moments in modern Eurovision history, and Switzerland hopped on that train and ultimately found success without being too much of an exact replica of Fuego.

The popularity of the entry was visible through the voting in both the semi-final and final, where Switzerland appeared in many nation’s televotes, not always with a 12 or 10 point score, but consistently received points around that 6 to 8 region – points that add up quickly. The nation was also a hit with juries, receiving no less than six sets of 10 points in the Grand Final.

The Aftermath 2019 series is made in collaboration with our Australian partner website Eurovision Union.