Melodifestivalen 2009 format revealed

An international jury and head to head matches are some of the news when the swedish broadcaster SVT presented the format of Melodifestivalen 2009.

The system with 32 songs in 4 semi-finals that has been used since 2002 is also kept for 2009.
There are however some changes in the rules:

– An international jury will select the 11th song for the final. This means that the international jury will pick one of the 22 songs that has not reached the final.
The international jury will also play a role in the final itself when it becomes the 12th jury-group. Along with the 11 other SVT (regional) jury-groups they, together with the viewers, will decide who will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009.

– In each semi-final, the four songs with most votes after the first televoting round will face each other in head to head matches where the viewers vote again. In the head to head matches, the 1st placed song will meet the song
placed 4th, while the 2nd and 3rd placed songs face each other in the
other match. The two winners gets a place in the final of Melodifestivalen. The two songs failing to qualify goes to the second chance round.

– The number of people allowed on stage are increased from 6 to 8.

– Pre-recorded backing vocals will be allowed.

Christer Björkman, competition supervisor of Melodifestivalen, comments that "Melodifestivalen needs to undergo changes all the time".
– "We want Melodifestivalen to continue to play an important role in swedish music. At the same time it is also a way to act and react to the fact that the Eurovision Song Contest has changed", says Christer Björkman.

Source: SVT, EuroVisionary
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