FIFTH GAME FOR POINTS

Switzerland each year opens the field so wide that every Tom, Dick and Harry can upload a video on the internet and be in the running. Yet their results over the years while they have been using this method were not good enough when you potentially can get songs from every corner of the world. What are they doing wrong? Swiss TV has asked you to give them some advice and share ideas how to ensure that they end up with a top 5 placing in Stockholm.
For me the problem is that although potentially artists from all over the world can enter, when the finalists are picked, 90% of them are Swiss artists. They must look back at 1988 when they had Celine Dion from Canada and won. So it really is stupid to have artists entering from many countries but that should also reflect then the finalists that come to TV.

Comments

  1. Gavin A-R says:

    I do love the web open selection method but it does seem a bit sad that they don’t seem to take into account the international voting on them more carefully.

    However, having international acts are no guarantee of success either, with Six4One as an example (which I kind of liked).

    Maybe the problem is that the open all is too open. Perhaps a review before posting up onto the site (maybe they do but I’m not entirely sure, given that the video of Ludmila Davidenko & Pavel Petel – Bogachka (Rich B*tch Never Pay) is posted up, which I would have thought would have some people arguing that the music is not so much sampled as ripped off.

    I think that for a better selection from this web portal is required and a narrowing of a selection by the broadcaster before the audience votes.

    Having said that, I do absolutely love the Swiss web selection. So many videos of varying quality. It’s just a pity that many of them aren’t on spotify to listen to later.

  2. Ronny Addamo says:

    I’m not sure the Swiss are doing the wrong thing entirely. Their ideas are great, and so inclusive of everyone (how very Swiss). I love that anyone can post off a YouTube video and be considered. However, I think they may need some additional guidelines. I think they should maybe be more specific in what type of song/artist they are looking for. Receiving a thousand ballads when you are looking for a punchy track is a waste of yours, and the artists time. If someone who can sing all styles know what Is required, they will focus better on what is wanted. It’s also a bit messy with the 3 different channels picking only a couple of songs. With that many entries, widen the scope, do a Lithuania style season long tv special with many more artists to choose from. Open the voting to everyone. All this being said, I have really enjoyed Switzerlands last 3 euro entries, we just have to find more people to vote for them.

  3. Luc Spencer-Gardner says:

    I think that opening up to all kinds of artists to “unearth” something different is a great idea in theory, but clearly not so good in practice! Couldn’t they contain it a little.

    If they want to make the final and top the competition in someway, then they need to look at what IS doing it now. Remove diaspora voting for the infamous “ever qualifying countries” like Greece and Romania etc. and you are left with more edgy, contemporary (in most cases) and unique songs. A great voice alone doesn’t always see you qualify. A great performance alone sees the same fate often. A catchy song with an interesting hook, a solid vocalist with charisma who commands the audience attention, clever music and a dash of the familiar and “interesting” should see some more votes.

    Look at the top ten this year. Particularly Belgium’s very unique performance and forward thinking song, Latvia’s stark, simple and powerhouse performance with so much dark and light and The ethno dance pop in Golden Boy… These are things that stand out… Sweden’s over-familiar composition married with an exceptional “show” won everyone over.

    One more thing… Make some friends. It helps.

  4. Scott Parsons says:

    Regrettably, Melanie Rene got lost in a sea of similar songs in a cut-throat semi final. Otherwise, I think they got it right with what they had to work with. Yes, I feel that it matters to the Swiss where the contestant comes from (as evident in the asking of a Romanian woman last year where she lived). I think people inherently look for a connection to the contestant and the easiest place to start is “where are you from?”
    Nevertheless, the Swiss national selection has been about a large hodgepodge of songs from all over and they are the only country to do it that way. In that respect, they are getting it right.

  5. Kyle Woods says:

    Two words: Željko Joksimović! There are enough ex-Yugo folks in Switzerland, and all of Europe loves him anyway! Wouldn’t it be funny if, after trying so many times for Serbia, Željko finally won the show for Switzerland!

  6. If you compare Switzerland with let’s say Netherlands they both have rather similar results in recent Eurovision Song Contests. Yet they have very different selection processes, be them right or wrong Nethgerlands seem to get a bit more success recently.
    Although I like the web site approach, and while it certainly suggests an open new talent search – I think it does somehow become more about the artist than the right song.
    My suggestion for Switzerland is concern the competition more with the songwriter and an open search for a great song. Then you may find a established artist from anywhere to present that new song.
    I think most European artist would jump at the chance of singing a song that fits and gives them potentially a big hit and being in Eurovision is the icing on the cake. So the artist can come second in the process.

    I think this is how Netherlands have attracted their big Dutch names, finally still have a small scale National final in a way Norway does with MGP maybe 8 of the best internal chosen. Then the Swiss public take ownership of the Swiss song for Stockholm.

  7. I think they need to set a theme. For example: this year we are looking for a ballad. Or this year we would like something that incorporates a dance routine. That gives the entrants something to focus on, rather than just submitting any kind of song that they want.

    I also think that perhaps once they narrow it down to the final choices, they need to either have a TV final or give the entrants some money to make high quality videos – or even do a bit of a video bootcamp with them! This puts everyone on equal footing, so that someone who doesn’t have the money to produce a really amazing video themselves won’t get lost.

  8. Emily Smith says:

    I think Switzerland’s main problem is that they tend to play it very safe (although definitely not in 2007 – vampires?? What were they thinking?) I don’t know if this attitude can be fixed by changing the selection process.

    I say continue with the online talent search, but get representatives from Ukraine to choose an exciting and sexy entry. Ukraine know how to pick a great entry!

  9. R. Armistead-Rainey says:

    I love the idea that entry is open to everyone but can see how this might be overwhelming leading to some not so great choices. Perhaps the voting system should only all for the Swiss to vote from the very get go allowing for them to control and determine what they think will win for them rather than influences from people voting for representation from their own country. Alternatively there may be a need for the swiss music industry to be involved in the first instance to review the postings and allow for a narrowing down of the applicants to those with clear talent and potential.

  10. I think casting the net wide (pardon the pun!) isn’t in itself a bad thing. If you look at the songs that have won over the last ten years they come from a wide range of genres and styles. At the end of the day it is about getting a song or an act that captures the imagination of not just the people of Switzerland, but also the people of Europe more broadly. this is why a public vote and or iTunes sales for selection is so important, it gives you a good indication of what songs people like so much that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is and pay for it.

  11. Andrew Bayley says:

    It’s a great idea to open the competition up to any person, but I’m not familiar with how the entrant is selected. Is it by popular vote or via a jury? Perhaps just simply adopt the Eurovision model of having both account for 50% of the vote each.

    I do like also the idea above of having a general theme for submissions. It could be like the Tropfest short film festival in Australia where entrants have to submit an entry that aligns in some way to a basic theme. As long as some aspect of the song aligns to that theme, whether it be by its title or lyrics or even costumes or staging, then that’s an interesting way to get a range of entries united by a common theme.

  12. Len Whitney says:

    I think the Swiss need to make it public that a top placing and score is a priority for this year, and then invite several top songwriters from various successful Eurovision nations to submit entries. Their current system is very open, but the standard of what entries qualify for the public selection is too low and average. If they allowed everyone to submit songs, but had a selection jury that would winnow the field down to only 20 or 30 of the best entries, plus the specially invited composers, they would have a more impressive field of candidates. If Switzerland took a year or so to develop a higher quality reputation, they would attract a better class of entries.

  13. Eric Andersson says:

    If you are like me, you had no idea that Switzerland had a unique way of choosing who will represent them at Eurovision. Here is some info I found at http://esc.srf.ch/en-ch/eurovision-song-contest-2016-search-swiss-entry.

    ———————————

    Platform at srf.ch/esc
    From 28 September until 8.00 am on 26 October 2015, all performers who would like to represent Switzerland at the 2016 Eurovision Song Content can publish their specially composed Eurovision songs as a video on the srf.ch/esc internet platform. As soon as the deadline for entries has passed, platform users will be able to vote for their favourite tracks. An expert jury will give their ratings in parallel (50/50) with the public. This process will result in a total of ten candidates for SRF and RTR.

    The Expert Check
    In a second phase, the ten best performers from the internet platform, as well as six candidates put forward by RTS, and three by RSI, will present their songs live to an expert panel. The experts will assess their live performance skills, voice quality, and stage presence. Of these 19 candidates, the team of experts will send three for SRF and RTR, two for RTS and one for RSI through to the final selection show.

    Live show on 13 February 2016
    In the live national show on 13 February 2016, the six qualifying performers will present their own song, plus a cover version of another song. This show will be broadcast live from the Bodensee Arena in Kreuzlingen. The television audience and an expert jury will then have a 50/50 say in who should represent Switzerland at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest.

    ———————————

    I actually think this is a very cool way of picking the Swiss act. I understand that it hasn’t found them a winner in many years, but it is still great that they allow everyone to be a part of at least some of the choices.

    In reading the information above, it appears that the “experts” are the ones who decide which acts will move forward to the live broadcast. Maybe that’s where they need to make a change and possibly include a sampling of devoted Eurovision watchers as well.

  14. I think they should:
    – Narrow it down to only Swiss participants to defy their creativity and originality, drawing different national tendencies and genres
    – Do the preselection online through international voting, establishing a method relative to the Eurovision structure, but that also takes in consideration votes from other continents. That way there can be international buzz and a thermometer for global appeal
    – Do a workshop (that can be a reality show) in which experts polish the songs and the artist proposal (theme, musical arrangements, production)
    – Do a live show with a live streaming to select the winner among the Top 10, also with international voting

  15. Fred Medeiros says:

    Switzerland have had some great songs over the years but the acts have lacked presence, charisma and true showmanship. I do believe an international act could do well but they need to be the best. Celine Dion has an unmistakably flawless voice and could sing the phone book and keep fans. So they need to find that raw talent that could become the world’s next best superstar.

    I also believe that they should ask their fellow European neighbours to help decide the Swiss entry. Which would also help gauge if the finalists they are choosing are the rights ones anyway.

  16. Nathan Mountford says:

    Do they have a good voice? Tick
    Can they sing live? Tick
    Are they attractive? Tick
    Do they appeal to a large demographic? Tick
    Are they presentable? Tick
    Can they captivate an audience? Tick
    Will they positively promote Eurovision? Tick
    Does the country embrace them? Tick
    Do you think people will vote for them? Tick

  17. David Thielen says:

    Do an American Idol type competition.

  18. Beth Hackney says:

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with Switzerland’s uniquely interesting method of inviting entries. I think where they could improve is in the selection and culling of these entries, as Switzerland’s entry is always very bland and safe (I actually quite liked Melanie Rene from this year but unless your ballad is truly spectacular or has some other defining characteristic, for example, Conchita with Rise Like A Phoenix, let’s face it a ballad isn’t going to win). Given its preference for bring inclusive, perhaps they could harness the power of social media more, and have people vote through Facebook and Twitter. I also think the selection panel charged with whittling down all the entries need to take more risks!

  19. Stuart D'Addona says:

    Two main observations to help Switzerland I think:

    1. Although it seems really nice and open to have the online method, it doesn’t attract as much interest domestically, or maximise revenues for the TV networks. I would suggest perhaps keeping the online system to shortlist artists, and then feeding them into a domestic TV show along the lines of Idol – this would allow the TV network to make some money, and also give the Swiss people the opportunity to get to know the options better and “buy in” on who represents them.

    2. Don’t be so bl00dy boring! I know it’s a cliché, but the Swiss entries are mostly quite conservative – although I can’t remember too many disasters, I can’t remember too many memorable ones either. I think it’s OK to totally bomb out every now and again, so long as some of your gambles pay off. Switzerland should consider this approach to avoid being forgettable.

  20. Darren Tompsett says:

    I can understand the Swiss picking Swiss artists as its obvious that they want someone from their own country representing them, which I kinda understand but my advice would be to see what’s out there!!!!

    There is so much talent in this world and its not like an outsider hasn’t won or done well in the past.

    One word………Celine!!!!!!!

    Social network is a good way to find some fresh new talent but still involving their public in what they think.
    if they did this they could find the next big star!

  21. Michaela Sowden says:

    Good on the Swiss for opening the doors to others. First narrow your field down, to those who can really sing, have a catchy tune, even if it is a ballad, the song has to make you stop and want to listen to it. Then look at the video for their performance, bit hard to judge there, as live performances are a bit different but if on screen, are they captivating the audience. Once the field is narrowed, hold a contest with live performances to see who will really captivate the Swiss.maybe even put the international entries up against Swiss entries and then see who appeals to the audience. Maybe a Swiss idol comp with the top 3 competing against the internationals. But really it all comes down to the song and performance.

  22. Anthony Zanker says:

    Switzerland are doing the right thing by using the internet. They should use the fact that Australia was allowed to enter the competition this year and choose an artist outside of Europe. Promote they are aiming to be inclusive and use that in the message of the song.

  23. Switzerland has two options. My prefered choice would be to do what Azerbaijan used to do with such great success. First, conduct a talent search to find your artist. Once they’re down to about three folks, give them each three songs to present. The public and a jury all vote. And then we have a ESC entry.

    The second option would be to make Switzerland the representative for every non-participant in Western Europe. So, going to Portugal, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra, and Liechtenstein, gathering the best sogwriters and artists, and putting them into competition with Swiss folks. Have a series of shows pitting the international artists against one another. And a parallel series pitting the Swiss acts against one another. The final episode can be the two top acts from each series competing head to head with original songs to be in Eurovision.

    They could also just get a hasbeen from the US that still has name recognition (Hillary Duff, anyone?).

  24. Andrew Scott says:

    I like the idea of having Switzerland represent all the non-participating EBU countries – that would eliminate getting artists that are too far-flung, or have not connection to Europe, but would maintain the ‘all inclusive’ vibe that Switzerland clearly wants to promote.

    Alternatively, I would recommend that there be some parameters in place before the call goes out for entrants. For example, they should specify whether they are looking for a ballad or an upbeat song, and maybe indicate the subject matter. This wouldn’t necessarily exclude any entrants, but it would make the comparison much easier, so they would hopefully end up with a more popular song that would do better in the voting.

  25. Andrew Wortham says:

    I find it interesting the different songs that have been entered for Switzerland over the years. Of course we all know Celine Dion with the catchy tune and crazy dress.

    For me personally having local talent is great as it showcases many of the talents the country offers. It’s sort of a catch 22 where there is a lot of food talent locally but a lot of songs that have been entered are good as well.

  26. Sascha Stolp says:

    Switzerland does a great job of getting lots of entries from lots of people. The problem is that there are so many entries published online, that people are not going to listen to them all before voting (I tried 2 years ago and it took many hours). This means that people vote fora song, just because they know the artist, rather than it is the best song.

    They need to have a jury listen to the entries first, possibly made up of an International Committee, who narrows down all the entries to a more manageable number. Maybe 25 max. They could even request that the singer from 1 entry actually rather signs the song from another entry.

  27. Nicolas G. Mancini-Suárez says:

    I think that Switzerland should forget about topics, past glories and old experiences. They must focus on being genuine, authentic, cool and fresh, and those qualities are what they need to find on their next representative, no matter where they come from.

    Of course there must be some rules and parameters; for example, a good attitude to Eurovision is a must and a flawless live performance is also required.

  28. Edward Till says:

    Since they get so many entries from around the world, maybe they should have a guaranteed number of entries from outside of Switzerland. Therefore, if they narrow down the entries to 20 Swiss songs, then they should have another 20 foreign songs.

    At this point, 2 juries can have a vote. One made up of Swiss judges voting on the swiss songs, electing the best Switzerland has to offer, which an International Jury selects the best foreign entries. Once they choose the finalists, then the remaining entries get put together in one group for the final voting.

  29. Dean Cheley says:

    I like the Swiss idea in theory because its so democratic, but they need better ways to vet the contenders. Placing specific criteria on what they are looking for will help limit the field. Its also easy to see which entries have the most positive feedback and followers. They could then invite the most popular acts to come to Switzerland and perform live in a contest-type event to select the top winner. This way, they achieve finding the best entry that has the best online appeal as well as actual live stage appeal, which are very different talents.

  30. Eloise Sowden says:

    I would suggest, they pick the ten best online entries and get them to perform live. From there they could pick say three who would then compete against the Swiss nationals

  31. AJ Poncin says:

    I think it’s great to have many people enter online, as it reduced transaction costs and opened up the entry pool much wider. I would go a step further and have a system for voting online as well so that maybe the top 10-15 viewed or rated songs or video entries make it for some sort of final competition that could get voted on in Sweden, as it is after all their choice and entry.

  32. Dimitri Karagianides says:

    I don’t think they should overthink or do anything too outside of the box. However, a couple of suggestions come to mind. First, vet the contestants a bit better. On that point, I agree it may make sense to consider someone who was a contestant on a singing competitions (e.g., the Voice). Second, don’t choose the song or singer as early as they have done in the past. Take time to make the right decision and wait until February-March the year of the competition. I think most of the winning songs have been chosen late in the cycle recently (with only Only Teardrops being chosen relatively early in January of 2013). Third, consider using an established song writer.

  33. I like to see what roll social media please in the selection e.g. a song that fewer people have voted for in the online form but has a much higher view count on youtube.
    People may not fill in forms but they are listening to a song a lot more or sharing it on twitter or facebook etc.
    Also bring back Lys Assia!

  34. My recommendation would be to widen the channels for finding an artist and song, for example one entry from Youtube, one from some TV program and one selected by a jury, and then let the people vote on their preferred contestant.

  35. James Hare says:

    I don’t feel that knowledgable to really decide what the best way should be to select them. This process has worked previously so if its not broke don’t fix it.

  36. Camilo Gomez says:

    I found some of the recent Swiss entries, interesting, but not interesting enough to make the cut.

    -Originality is very important, Swiss tends to bring songs that are very average, not bad songs, but forgettable.
    -The could change a bring a French song entry. That would be a change, and could be arranged to make it uniquely Swiss.
    – Open the competition X Factor style. Make artists compete and people to vote for the best song.

  37. Luis Omar Chong says:

    The swiss preselection is so big… too many songs uploaded at their website for first selection.

    I think that’s the main problem there is no time no chance for a better listening of all of them.

    Then only the know artists get the pass for the next selection.

    I think Swiss TV should make a better selection of their own and let the public to choose for a not so big group of them

  38. Jose Luise Abaya says:

    I do admire their selection process, in a way that they invite people from all over Switzerland to join. I find it too organic and amateurish though. I would suggest that people vote for a top 10? Then those semifinalists compete in a series of competitions wherein a group/contestant gets eliminated one by one. Categories may include, singing past Swiss entries, past Eurovision entries, past Eurovision losers (nil points), past Eurovision winners, a current Billiboard top chart, and finally singing their own original song.

    Then the last two standing should CREATE a NEW SONG with the Swiss “expert panel” (or the Swiss expert panel alone can just offer a new song) then each contestant have their own rendition.

    An international jury, local jury, and the Swiss people can vote during the whole selection process.

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