During a month, the web wildcard competition Webbjokern has been under way in Sweden. The aim has been to produce two hit songs and artists emerging from the unknown into the spotlight of Melodifestivalen 2011, the national selections for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest.
At the end of the day, Julia Alvgard and Jonas Matsson found success with the televoters. They beat off Engla with the disco tune Don't Stop, Anton & Dejo with the reggae song I Wanna Be With You and Billy with Tusen nätter ("A Thousand Nights"), an up-tempo pop/rock composition, and the only song of the night performed in Swedish.
Eurovision.tv met Julia Alvgard minutes after the live show, televised in a minor channel of the Swedish public service broadcaster SVT. Julia tells of the song ending up in the wildcard competition as a strike of chance.
"I was overjoyed when they called our song up tonight! The songwriters submitted the song for the competition quite randomly, it was originally composed in around February," she says.
Julia is well aware that ending up in Melodifestivalen is a great chance for a major breakthrough in Sweden. The 6 shows in February and March will be watched by more than 3 million viewers each, constituting a third of the entire population of the country.
Eurovision veterans paying a visit
The web wildcard show was broadcast from the entertainment restaurant Golden Hits in central Stockholm. Christer Björkman, producer of competition in Melodifestivalen and himself a Eurovision Song Contest veteran from 1992, has told the local web site Poplight.se that the idea was to bring the show out to the people. The entries of the Webbjokern competition are submitted by the people, and thus the final took place in a setting to fit.
The Golden Hits restaurant has a long tradition of Eurovision Song Contest inspired events. The entertainment manager of the establishment is Richard Herrey, winner of the Contest as part of the group Herreys in 1984.
The venue has seen many familiar artists through the years – among them Safura, representing Azerbaijan in Oslo, earlier in 2010. Both Jessica Andersson, representing Sweden in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, and Måns Zerlmerlöw, a successful artist from earlier Melodifestivalen seasons, paid a visit to the show tonight.
Check out the full list – these acts are already confirmed for Melodifestivalen 2011: