Melodifestivalen, the selection process to choose who will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, will have a number of major changes for its 2009 edition. Since 2002, four semi-finals have been held each year. The top two songs from each semi-final would qualify automatically to the final, whilst the third and fourth placed songs would participate in an Andra Chansen (second chance) round. From 2009 this will no longer be the case. The four songs getting the most votes during the first round of televote will face knock-out matches in the second round.
The matches have been fixed as follows: the song placed first will compete against the song placed fourth; second and third placed will fight in the other knock-out stage. Apparently, this system gives advantage to the two top-ranked songs, especially the first one. The winners of these matches will go straight to the final, while the other two will be drawn to the Andra Chansen stage.
Another major change introduced by SVT for next year's Melodifestivalen is the use of an international jury. This panel of specialist will choose one of the 22 songs that didn't pass the semifinals nor the Andra Chansen round and make it the 11th finalist. Therefore, 2009 Melodifestivalen will see 11 songs on stage instead of 10. Jurors also will be able to vote in the final, alongside 11 regional votes and the televote.
Also, 2009 Melodifestivalen entrants will be allowed to use pre-recorded backing vocals and the maximum number of persons on stage rises to 8 (two more than EBU's established limit for Eurovision Song Contest).