Latin Music Week

Sweden Sends John Lundvik to Eurovision with 'Too Late for Love'

Stina Stjernkvist/SVT.
Swedish singer John Lundvik performs 'Too Late For Love' during Melodifestivalen for the chance to represent Sweden in 'Eurovision' on March 9, 2019.

Sweden, a country that takes the Eurovision Song Contest very seriously, chose its entry for the 2019 competition tonight (March 9) at the Friends Arena in Stockholm. The winner of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national heat for Eurovision, is John Lundvik, who was the unanimous choice of eight international juries and the Swedish voting public with his song “Too Late for Love.”

Lundvik will actually have two songs in competition in this year’s Eurovision. In addition to co-writing the Swedish entry, he is the co-writer of “Bigger Than Us,” the U.K. entry, which will be performed by Michael Rice.

Lundvik was born in London on Jan. 27, 1983. When he was one week old, he was adopted by a Swedish couple living in the U.K. The family moved to Växjö, Sweden, when Lundvik was six years old. He had his big break in 2010 when he wrote the song “When You Tell the World You’re Mine” for the wedding of Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and her betrothed, Daniel Westling. He first took part in Melodifestivalen last year with the song “My Turn,” which finished third in the national heat.

Melodifestivalen is traditionally the most-watched television broadcast of the year in Sweden. This year was the 59th annual national final. The modern format was initiated in 2002 under the guidance of current executive producer Christer Björkman. The contest takes place over six weeks, starting with seven songs competing each frame in a quarter-final. The top two songs advance from each show to the grand final and the third and fourth place songs go into a “second chance” round in week five. The top four songs from “second chance” join the other eight entries in the grand final.

Lundvik’s entry was unstoppable this year, as eight international juries (from Portugal, Austria, Australia, Cyprus, France, Finland, U.K. and Israel) all awarded their top score of 12 points to “Too Late for Love.” That didn’t guarantee his win, though it did put him far out in front. When the votes of the Swedish televoting pubic were revealed, Lundwik again had the highest score, sealing his appearance in Tel Aviv in May.

Sweden first won Eurovision in 1974 when ABBA, in a bid to break out beyond their own borders, claimed victory with “Waterloo.” The Scandinavian nation has won five more times, with “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley" by Herreys (1984), “Fångad av en Stormvind” by Carola (1991), “Take Me to Your Heaven” by Charlotte Nilsson (1999), “Euphoria” by Loreen (2012) and “Heroes” by Måns Zelmerlöw (2015).

One more victory will tie Ireland’s record number of seven wins.

Melodifestivalen not only produces Sweden’s annual Eurovision entry, but a number of hit songs. Speaking to Billboard from the music business green room at Friends Arena during the live broadcast, Cosmos Music Publishing creative director Peo Nylén said, “With almost half the population watching this beloved and much-discussed well-arranged spectacle, it’s no surprise it plays an important role for the music business in  Sweden.”

Nylén, making his 24th appearance at Melodifestivalen as a music publisher representing a writer of one of the competing songs (this year, “Ashes to Ashes” by Anna Bergendahl), added, “While many other countries may focus only on their winning song, every year the [Swedish] contest generates a string of chart hits. This year a remarkable number of songs which didn’t qualify for the final or even the 'second chance' have invaded the top section of the Spotify chart locally. And nothing indicates that’s going to change.”