Is John Lundvik’s landslide victory a guarantee for success in Tel Aviv?

After winning Melodifestivalen 2019 by a landslide, is John Lundvik on track to win Eurovision this year? Joshua Mayne analyses if the amount of success in Sweden says anything about success at Eurovision.

John Lundvik is 36-year-old Swedish singer, originally born in England. After years of experience in the music industry, Lundvik rose to prominence in 2018, finishing 3rd in Melodifestivalen with his song ‘My Turn’. This year, he has taken it a step further, and will represent Sweden at Eurovision in Tel Aviv with his gospel-inspired pop song ‘Too Late For Love’. Not only is he a co-writer for his own entry, but he is also the co-writer for the United Kingdom’s song ‘Bigger Than Us’.

In early March, Lundvik booked an impressive victory in the final of Melodifestivalen.

Watch John Lundvik’s winning performance below:

Not only are Sweden qualifying to the final most years, but they are consistently finishing high on the leader board, winning in 2012 and 2015. In the last eight years, they have finished in the Top 5, apart from 2018 (7th) and 2013 (14th). Therefore, it can be concluded that the rigorous process of Melodifestivalen leads to such scrutiny that Sweden’s songs are almost guaranteed to do well at Eurovision.

However, does the amount of success matter? After Lundvik won Sweden’s national final in such a sovereign way, it poses the question: will his domestic success lead to success in Tel Aviv?

Melodifestivalen voting statistics

Below is a graph featuring voting statistics from the past eight years of Melodifestivalen. It outlines:

  • The jury, televote and total scores of all Melodifestivalen winners
  • The points gap between them and their competitors at Melodifestivalen
  • Their final position and points at Eurovision

Keep in mind that the method of voting (at Melodifestivalen and Eurovision) has changed since 2012, altering the amount of points available, as well as changing how they are distributed. Therefore, a direct comparison between artist’s points from different years won’t be entirely accurate, but there are enough similarities and trends to form an analysis.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Jury 114 91 90 122 88 96 114 96
Televote 154 75 122 166 68 50 67 85
Total 268 166 212 288 156 146 181 181
Points difference from 2nd 70 33 2 149 24 13 23 74
Points difference from 3rd 180 40 102 186 38 41 53 74
Eurovision 1st, 372 points 14th, 62 points 3rd, 218 points 1st, 365 points 5th, 261 points 5th, 344 points 7th, 274 points Unknown

Jury scores

John Lundvik won the Melodifestivalen 2019 jury vote with 96 points. In total amount of points it ties him with Robin Bengtsson who scored 96 points in 2017, and places him below 2012, 2015 and 2017, who all scored over 100.

Although Lundvik dominated the jury voting at Melodifestivalen 2019, his total is relatively average in the context of other winners. But this is only because there were fewer jury points to get this year, compared to previous years. Lundvik had a 100% score, getting 12 points from each jury, giving him a unique result. We can expect the juries of each nation in Tel Aviv to also vote for this likeable and accessible song.

Televote

John Lundvik also comfortably finished first in the televote this year. However, similarly to the jury scores, his televote score finds him in an average position amongst other Melodifestivalen winners. Lundvik scoring 85 points is the 4th largest televote in the past eight years, placing him behind 2012 and 2015 again, as well as the popular 2014 entry ‘Undo’. The difference is quite large when you compare him to the two artists who went on to win Eurovision – Loreen scored 154 points, and Måns Zelmerlöw received 166.

While it is important to point towards the different voting system here again, this does not explain the full difference between John Lundvik and Loreen or Måns. For example, if you calculate the points back to a voting percentage, you can see Loreen scoring 32,7% of the votes, and Måns Zelmerlöw 35,1%. John Lundvik gets a little over 14%.

When the jury and televote scores are combined, unsurprisingly, a similar outcome is revealed. 181 points places him in equal 4th when all acts from 2012-2019 are compared, tying him with Benjamin Ingrosso from 2018. However, in the case of John Lundvik, it becomes clear that his landslide victory is mostly due to his unbelievable jury score. His televote score, while still impressive, does not hold up against recent Swedish Eurovision winners.

Gaps between opponents

For a landslide victory, it is essential that the artist wins convincingly over their competitors. Lundvik finished 74 points ahead of 2nd and 3rd place this year. When compared to past years, it is made clear that he was very dominant, with a 74-point gap considerably larger than all other recent Melodifestivalen winners.

Apart from… surprise, surprise… 2012 and 2015. ‘Euphoria’ and ‘Heroes’ were remarkably more dominant than ‘Too Late For Love’, and ultimately went on to win Eurovision. Although the quality of songs varies from year to year at Melodifestivalen, it is obvious that 2012 and 2015 enjoyed very dominant victories, with Lundvik following far behind.

John Lundvik Screenshot of his performance at Melodifestivalen 2019 Source: SVT

Will it translate to success?

Sweden has an impressive streak of good results in Eurovision. Looking at the numbers, we see that there is quite a serious correlation between Melodifestivalen results and Eurovision results. It is probably not a coincidence that the two scores with by far the best televoting scores (Loreen and Måns Zelmerlöw) were also the two songs that brought Sweden Eurovision victory.

Combining this with Lundvik’s unbelievable jury score, it seems likely that this score is a good prelude for Sweden’s jury score in Tel Aviv. It makes sense to predict John Lundvik being very popular with the international juries there as well. His televote score was solid, and holds up against other Melodifestivalen winners. It was, however, not as outstanding as the scores of eventual Eurovision winners.

Final assessment

Winning Melodifestivalen by a landslide is no easy feat. With a strong jury score that compares well to former winners in Sweden, Lundvik is on track for a Top 5 finish. The fact that he won this year’s national selection so convincingly cannot be overlooked. This was a strong selection in Sweden, and he cruised to victory.

‘Too Late For Love’ is extremely likeable, highly accessible and undoubtedly catchy. Another Swedish Eurovision trophy cannot be ruled out. Especially when you keep this in mind. With a jury score as amazing as John Lundvik, he may not even need to win the televote in order to win Eurovision.

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