Norway is very much known in the world of the Eurovision Song Contest as being the nation with the most last place finishes apart from the most nil pointers but nevertheless, they have still emerged as winners of the competition on three occasions, the first being in 1985 with Bobbysocks and La Det Swinge, then in 1995 thanks to Secret Garden and their heavenly tune Nocturne and last but not least in 2009 when Alexander Rybak and his track Fairytale won many fans all over the continent with his record breaking victory. Unfortunately, since then, it seems that the country has lost it's spark noting three disappointing results which included a non-qualification last year. This year, they were represented by Tooji and his song Stay and he must have been thanking the public quite a hefty lot considering they were the ones who took him to the final.
When the split results were released, he found out that he finished in sixth place with the people whilst the jury put him in last place. The merge of the two scores saw him qualify in tenth place ahead of Bulgaria's Sofi Marinova whose track Love Unlimited despite getting the same points had failed to ignite more countries' votes. Tooji's presence in the final did not have an impact and he finished last in both tele-voting and jury voting unfortunately giving Norway yet another last place finish, the eleventh in total. The fact of the matter remains that his Eurovision experience was his first as a performer having never sung professional before working as a model, and a host of Music Television (MTV Norway) amongst other things. His record label is eager to see how things move forward with his career and thus he returns with a brand new track entitled If It Wasn't For You which you can buy on iTunes and listen to below through viral website, YouTube.
Source: iTunes, VG Nett
Norway has quite an intriguing record of achieving last place at the Eurovision Song Contest continuously adding to that through their most recent participation by Tooji whose Stay failed to drum up the points and thus languished at the bottom of the board with just seven (7) points received from Iceland, Sweden and The Netherlands. The selection process in the past couple of years has been coordinated fruitfully but none other than Per Sundnes, the main who created the current version of the Melodi Grand Prix and also the same individual who was responsible for two successful results at the event, the first one being in 2008 with Maria Haukaas Storeng and her fifth place with the song Hold On, Be Strong and the second being a victory thanks to Fairytale by Alexander Rybak.
Nevertheless, the success for Per has been diminishing in the past three years with Norway failing to make an impact on home soil with Didrik Solli-Tangen and My Heart Is Yours then failing to quality with Haba Haba by Stella Mwangi in 2011 and now another last place finish this year. Despite all of this, NRK was prepared to give him another chance but Per believes that his time is over and should someone else carry on the baton for Norway and indeed handed on his resignation from the position. There has been a lot of speculation on the replacement and it seems that a decision has been reached noting that Vivi Stenberg has been appointed to take up the role having worked for four years on the music programme entitled Lydverket as well as currently working on the programme Nasjonalgalleriet.
Speaking to a local tabloid, she stated that ths process will commence in the autumn as she looks for songwriters and performers who are ready to take part in the competition and along with project manager, Stian Malme, the same one who took care of the Melodi Grand Prix this year, will be bringing about some changes to the overall outcome of the procedure. She will be doing things differently noting that she will start by not organizing the private dinner parties that Sundnes held each year to honour all of those who were selected to the final round of the competition. She will definitely aim to be close to the artists nevertheless in her own methods.
With regards to the Eurovision Song Contest, she states 'I was an avid fan as a child but while I lived overseas for a number of years, I lost touch with Eurovision completely. I've watched closely however during the last five or six years, I've got an average relationship to Melodi Grand Prix; just like the average Norwegian, I get very involved when that time of year comes around - it'll be quite strange to start working with the project, but loads of fun'. She also believes that Tooji had a good song and will be working hard to bring about some great talent to the selection. NRK along with the general public hope that the decision is the right one and that Vivi brings about the much needed positive result for the country in the esteemed music event.
Source: NRK, Eurovisionary
The last three entries of the second semi-final are the ones left to be introduced to the public and they are quite interesting noting that they have amassed positive criticism from almost across the board. Sometimes, countries tend to take up examples which they have achieved in the past or maybe even those which had been noted from other countries and one such example might be said to have taken place this year as Norway will be represented by Tooji, an upcoming artist, television host and former model on MTV whose song entitled Stay seems to be extremely similar to Popular by Eric Saade last year. The track which will be doing the honour for the Scandinavian nation was composed and penned by the trio; individually known as Tooji, Figge Boström & Peter Boström.
Tooji was born in Shiraz in Iran in 1988. He had his first birthday whilst fleeing to Norway. The family’s Persian traditions and roots have given Tooji strong references, both musically and personally. A good life with a close-knit family in a new country has influenced his upbringing and life choices since. With a strong wish to express impressions and feelings Tooji has gone his own creative ways, and after art school and theatre school, it was finally music that became closest to Tooji’s heart. In addition to devoting himself to his passions, the experience of working in kindergartens and with after-school-activities, young people and asylum seekers, has given Tooji an even more important mission in life: To give a voice to those who would otherwise not have been heard.
Some choices have been more important than others, and working with refugees in asylum centres has made its mark on him. “I was incredibly happy that I had my family here, a comfy bed, food and a roof over my head. At the same time it made me very sad too see all these people, children and youngsters, with so much misery and sadness in their eyes. It put things into perspective.” Tooji completed his studies in child protection, and he now works as a child protection consultant in the department of after-care, a job he finds intense and socially important, challenging and vital. In encounters with youngsters the problems are often similar, regardless of where they come from.
“When I dedicated myself to causes and people I wanted to help, I knew the political arguments, the rules and regulations – but nobody listened. It was so frustrating! My devotion alone wasn’t enough, and that became an important motivational factor in my burning wish to get a voice that someone would listen to.” To Tooji it’s all about music making it possible. Music is the driving force. Music can provide Tooji with a chance to be heard. On February the 11th Tooji wins Melodi Grand Prix, to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest. The people have spoken. His song “Stay” immediately tops iTunes, and Tooji becomes an overnight sensation. Tooji has found his arena, and we want to listen.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
- Arabic flavored song in a modern house/techno production. Same synth sound as in “Satisfaction”by Ben Benassi. Tooji has charisma and the moves. Energetic and a nice buildup to the chorus. But unfortunately the chorus is not that strong, just ordinary and once more, six (6) points.
- He looks great..! This song confuses me though as the oriental harmonies are quite strange in my opinion but then the dancing is just sublime! There is something which is positive about this track but it does not garner enough attention to pass, hence three (3) points suffice.
- The performer is doing a great job here - adding some drama, excitement and flavour to an otherwise rather square pop song, written complely by the book. Modern but empty, as well as lacking a real chorus and therefore, will hold back to just six (6) points.
Composers: Tooji, Figge Boström & Peter Boström
Authors: Tooji, Figge Boström & Peter Boström
History of the Nation
The fiftieth entry of Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest was actually sent last year and despite being favourites to qualify with Haba Haba performed by Stella Mwangi, she fell short and did not manage to make it. The country holds the record for the most last place actually managing ten in total from the fifty years in competition, their most recent coming in 2004 with Knut Anders Sorum and the song High but then again, have also won the competition on three occasions, being in 1985 with Bobbysocks and La Det Swinge, then in 1995 with Secret Garden and Nocturne and very recently in 2009 when Alexander Rybak took to the stage with his song Fairytale. In fact, he will be part of the former winners interval act during the second semi-final where Norway is competing.
The Team of Radio International would like to invite you to the weekly Ultimative Eurovision Experience. Apart from the means of FM Radio in the Netherlands on FM 106.8 and the audio stream from the studio and on Digital Cable 41 in the Netherlands, the show will also be web-televised via the Radio International Television Channel from the studio and linking up the European Eurovision fans and friends and play your requests and read your messages out on air.
The Sounds of Azerbaijan: The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) previously known as the London Azerbaijan Society. Its objective is to promote Azerbaijani culture, business and public affairs to international audiences, and create to a sense of community for expatriate Azerbaijanis. TEAS supports Radio International during the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 and with the weekly edition of the show it will bring you the finest artists of Azerbaijan a bit closer.
Live Interview with Eleftheria Eleftheriou (Greece 2012): Eleftheria translated means Freedom and is the name of the Greek representative to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. She will be performing a powerful pop song with wonderful Greek elements called "Aphrodisiac" which will start at Number 3 in Semi Final 1 on Tuesday, 22 May 2012. Watch our for this live interview coming live from the heart of Athens.
Eurovision Song Contest Spotlight - "Mysterious Eurovision Performers" with Chris Poppe: Great to see Chris returning for the Mysterious Eurovision Winners' Quiz where Chris gives some verbal clues and two musical clues. Audience joining us live this Wednesday have a chance to win something in this when you are the first to let us know who Chris has wrapped up in his clues. Enjoy this thrilling quiz. :)
Live Interview with Tooji (Norway 2012): Norway will be represented by young energetic Tooji who will perform the song "Stay" in Semi Final 2 on the 24 May 2012. Starting position is Number 16. Looking forward to having Tooji on the show this week.
Eurovision Song Contest News with Luke Fisher: Check out the latest developments connected to the Eurovision Song Contest. Whether it is music releases of Eurovision performers, appearances, special concerts, gossip, news, etc Luke will have all the updates for us during the weekly edition of Radio International.
Live Interview with Kurt Calleja (Malta 2012): Just in this afternoon is also that Malta's Ambassador to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 - Kurt Calleja will be joining us for the Eurovision Interview Marathon during this week's edition of Radio International. "This is the night" was co-produced in Sweden and was selected by the Maltese public together with the international jury at the beginning of February 2012 and will be starting in Semi Final 2 at Number 4 on 24 May 2012.
Eurovision News Website: escXtra.com: Luke Fisher is also the Editor - in - Chief of the Eurovision News website called escXtra.com. Check our more and EXTRA news on the Eurovision Song Contest by visiting the website here.
Live Interview with Izabo (Israel 2012): Also just confirmed to be on on the show this week is Israel's retro-enty performer Izabo who will be performing the song "Time" in Semi Final 1 at Number 10 on Tuesday, 22 May 2012.
Euro Friends Song Contest 2012 with Andy Simon: The next season of the Euro Friends Song Contest is under way in search for the ultimate Eurovision song as voted for by the many fans around the world. Andy Simon joins us every week to reveal the qualifiers for the next round. The website of the Euro Friends Song Contest you will find here where you can easily vote for your favourite Eurovision song per country and also see The Euro-Friends TV Show as hosted by Andy Simon. You can also join the Facebook Group here. This week Andy looks at the next qualifiers from Heats 43 (Spain).
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Source: Team of Radio International
The annual Eurovision Song Contest is a competition which features several countries from the European continent though what is quite interesting is that each respective nation brings about a culture, one which is different than that to his neighbour and one which stands out above the rest making the event quite an interesting and rather acquired taste to follow. We have sought to make contact with a number of the participants int his years' edition of the competition especially those who will be competing alongside Kurt Calleja, the Maltese representative in the second semi-finals. The attention of the editorial board is quickly turned to none other Tooji who will be representing Norway with the song Stay. We followed every step of the Melodi Grand Prix and noted a number of potential winners and this was actually one of them. For yet another year, the quality of songs in Norway was quite high and the result achieved by them this year should definitely make them forget a disappointing result achieved by Stella Mwangi and her song Haba Haba. This is what the Norwegian representative had to say to our earlier this week.
Throughout the years, the Scandinavian nation of Norway has been known for being the one which holds the most last place finishes in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest along with an incredible ten in total, four of which in which it did not manage to obtain any points. Nevertheless, in the past couple of years, since the introduction of the semi-final system Norway has been in the final for six of the eight years with three top five finishes coming in 2005 with Wig Wam and ‘In My Dreams, in 2008 with Maria Haukaas Storeng and ‘Hold On Be Strong’ and of course in 2009 with Alexander Rybak and his track ‘Fairytale’ which won the event. Do you believe that the change in results in recent years is a reflection of the direction that the industry is taking and what do you think should have been done to make the final last year?
Many people believe that artists are born as such but in your case, it seems that you hold many talents noting that you were actually a model at the age of sixteen before turning to presenting just a couple of years later as you believe that media and the entertainment industry was clearly the one for you to tackle. In fact, you joined Music Television (MTV) in Norway where you were given the opportunity to host two shows, one entitled ‘Super Saturday’ and the other one being a much more personalized ‘Tooji’s Top 10’. On the other hand, singing is relatively a brand new venture in your regard yet success has come easy as well by garnering much support from the public, which eventually gave you victory in the Melodi Grand Prix. What could you tell us about your life within the various careers and do you believe that you have now found your niche?
At a age of 16, modeling was very fascinating, and the whole industry looked very glamorous. Off course the illusion quickly fades, and I kinda got the harsh reality of it pretty early. When I worked as a television host on MTV, I had a idea about the industry and was used to seeing it purely as a job. What gives me confidence, courage and love is my job as a social worker. While I worked in MTV I took a bachelor in children’s pedagogic and thereafter started working with trafficking cases, asylum seekers and troubled youth in the children’s welfare system. Yes, it is heavy, but it makes me feel worth something. My music will be my instrument to makes changes in my society, and reach out to a lot of people. I know it sounds “Bono”, but I haven’t been sitting on the school bench just to look like I know what I’m doing. I have a lot of experience and academic depth, and with a slowly growing profile, I know I can make changes.
When Stella Mwangi failed to make it through to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest last year, the Norwegian broadcaster vowed to take a new approach to their national selection and indeed they did by virtue of inviting acts which were at times relatively new but what was even more quite intriguing is that the styles were the most possibly diversified, including sounds which could be said to be typically Norwegian. The move did bode well with the audience which was interested to hear the songs in full and eventually voted in large numbers for what they believed should represent the country. Do you believe that Norway should move into this direction more or do you think, well known acts should be pushed forward to take part once more with a more typical sound that the European audience is more familiar with?
The song that you will be presenting within this years’ edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan bears the name ‘Stay’ and is a co-write between Peter Bostrom, Figge Bostrom and yourself. Throughout the Melodi Grand Prix, the main aspect of the song which drew comments and attention from the European public is the sharp choreography which added so much to the song in terms of performance. It is quite remarkable that the comparison that they put forward was with Eric Saade who took to representing Sweden in last years’ edition of the music showcase finishing in third place. The preparations have surely commenced as you prepare to take on Europe by storm but should the people expect anything different from your end?
I will bring fire. More than that, I cant say. ;)
Keeping in line with the concept of this years’ edition of the Melodi Grand Prix, there would surely be a reminder of the fact that in the semi-final stage of the competition, you actually came second and then in the final, the jury thought that you also deserved second place following Nora Foss Al-Jabri with the beautiful and simple ballad ‘Somewhere Beautiful’ which would eventually finish behind you in second place. The achievement in itself is quite astonishing finding success in a short space of time but then again, was it something of a blessing to have won or was it somewhat expected? One has to note that following the release of the physical single, which peaked at number 2, it seemed that you have mastered your popoularity in the best possible. Would you care to comment about the sales of the song ‘Stay’?
To be honest, I’m not focusing so much on sales and charts. I’m focusing on what I can give on stage. When I participated in the conest I was going for gold, but when I actually stood there waiting for the results, I thought it was over, and I was happy to be a part of this wonderfull process. You know, you meet a lot of people who you get attached to, and you learn alot about yourself along the road. So I’m just excited to see where my journey takes me.
The months leading up to the Eurovision Song Contest have always proven to be quite interesting for the fans of the music competition due to the various national selections organized all over the continent in a number of different countries. You were actually one of the first to be chosen in the beginning of February and took up your place in the second semi-final where the competition seems to be quite harsh this time round actually. The genre is pre-defined to be a mixture of ethic/pop with hints of a dance track in there making it one of the few in this manner to be presented. Have you had the chance to listen to the songs that will be competing against you and by any chance, did you hear what Malta has to offer in terms of song and performance?
Kurt Calleja right!? I think this is going to be super exciting. There are alot of strog competitors this year, and I cant wait to meet them. I think we are going to have lots of fun, and in the end, its not in our hands, its up to the people. We just have to give our all.
The Eurovision Song Contest is a leading event in music, which comes each and every year with a number of benefits for artists who either success or rather fail to impress. There is a lot of exposure from the media, more than expected at events which are somewhat also regarded highly by the music community. When taking into account that you have taken up different roles in the entertainment industry, do you believe that following the event, you will remain within this music career as in going onto record an album like many of the predecessors before you who took to the stage decided on doing. What would you say are you major plans following the competition in May?
Music has always been my passion, I just didn't dare to go for it before I was 19 and actually found out I had a voice. MTV and modeling was not what I wanted to do, and even though I’m grateful for the experience, I had my eyes on music all along.
Would you like to say anything to your fans and our readers at www.escflashmalta.com?
I haven’t told you I have been to Malta plenty of times. Both working with MTV on Isle of Malta, and being there on vacation with my family. I love the people, the nature and the culture. Especially I have a wish to visit Gozo, and the blue lagoon again. Maybe you can show me around next time? :)