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Saturday, 09 February 2013 18:31

Norway: Melodi Grand Prix 2013 Final - LIVE

Scandinavia will be having quite a busy evening due to the fact that whilst Sweden will be selecting more acts to headline the Final in a couple of weeks time, Finland and Norway will be hosting their last round of the process with the Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu and the Melodi Grand Prix taking place on YLE 1 and NRK 1 respectively. It has been a greulling three weeks for the artists competing in Norway and unfortunately, those who competed in last weeks' semi-final did not have the time to rest as did the acts that qualified within the first semi-final but according to rehearsals, everyone is geared up to give the show of their lives and a stream is being offered through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest for the international views to watch.

Following their victory at the 2009 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, the country has not managed to perform well at the competition noting the disappointments achieved by Didrik Solli-Tangen, Stella Mwangi and Tooji but all of that could change according to pundits this evening who have a couple of entries listed down with potentially strong results to be achieved in Sweden. Ten acts will be taking to the stage this evening as has become protocol in the Melodi Grand Prix with the top four acts passing through to the super-final in which, the public and the regional juries will decide on which act to send to the Eurovision Song Contest. It will surely be a thrilling evening and it will all begin at 19:55 CET with a long interval in between, where you could tune into Finland to see the proceedings close there.

The Show (Part 1)

The opening act has just started and the hosts of the evening, Jenny & Erik are clad in formal attire, both in somewhat business attire. The finalists of the evening are currently being introduced to the public and it seems that based on the initial screams, that Margaret Berger is the favourite followed by Adelen and Annsofi. The venue is huge and one could definitely sense a vibe of excitement coming through the transmission. They welcome the public and it seems that they are extremely excited to see which entry will be representing them in the neighbouring country of Sweden. Quick presentation because, off we go!

Running Order

Vidar Busk - Paid My Way

The first song, one of the entries that qualified from the first semi-final and clearly reminscent of Patrick Ouchene who represented Belgium at the 2006 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The swing feel is definitely becoming more prominent at national selections and whilst Vidar manages to present the track well, it will definitely not garner traction in Europe which believes that this style is very much passe. Nevertheless, this is an intriguing opening to what should be a very interesting evening. The staging is incredible with a band, two female backing vocalists and three female saxophone players. The audience screams and song one is complete.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amn_W_3FBg8

Fjellfolk - Ulvetuva

Folk has been defined in several nations for this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and this is one of the few entries in the genre. Performing in Norwegian is definitely the edge that this track presents and finishing in second place within the second semi-final was quite the feat. The lead performer, a female is joined by a male guitarist and a male violinist and whilst being bathed in blue lights, smoke is hovering around them. The vocals are spot on but this might be too quiet and would only benefit from a late draw between reasonably noisy tracks at the international showcase. Despite the charm, one would fear it being lost in the event. Well done for the effort!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KEX1RSfVcs

Adelén - Bombo

The second favourite of this evenings' edition of the Melodi Grand Prix takes to the stage in a short brown dress somewhat reminiscent of something from The Journey of the Centre of the World. She is joined on stage by multiple dancers, male and female and this is an extremely energetic dance routine so kudos for managing to keep this performance in line with the standard to be expected. The vocals from Adelen leave much to be desired but have considerably improved since the semi-final stage and one of the reasons is hiding the long note in the bridge with a dance track like musical note. Nevertheless, considering that applause, this will do well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b51p9lg0Hpc

Gromth feat. Emil Solli-Tangen - Alone

Hit or Miss could be the best words to describe the fourth entry being presented this evening because there is an audience for Symphonic Rock but am not sure that the Eurovision Song Contest will be greatly appreciative. The music of this track is extremely well written and could be noted for it's relevance to the industry in Scandinavia. The vocal performance by Emil is just stunning and one would wonder why he didn't submit an entry himself considering that he is a much better performer than his brother, Didrik who represented Norway in 2010. The visuals for this entry are the best of the evening and the use of the stage excels in several areas. This will be one of the tracks in the super-final, mark my words!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG-m1h8_lG0

Gaute Ormåsen - Awake

This is the second time that Gaute is taking part in the Melodi Grand Prix and he has decided to go from Norwegian to English in his second effort. Clad in a blue jacket, black shirt and blue trousers, he is definitely giving it his all but this is very much a Danish type of entry, middle of the road which whilst be appreciated at the Eurovision Song Contest, will most likely achieve a mid-table result, which would still be the best result for Norway since their victory back in 2009. The vocals were impressive and the act with the dancers and the frames was very much similar to that presented by Fabrizio Faniello during the Malta Song for Europe in 2006.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODESA_C_-ZQ

Lucky Lips - Sweet And Heavy

The wildcard for this evenings' show is a pop/country track, a genre which has become increasingly popular in Norway within the past couple of years. The pink-haired female artist is wearing a cream dress which is green at the tip, making it an intriguing selection. She is joined on stage by a band and this is all an extremely calm affair. The vocals are just mesmerizing and what is this, mid-way through the performance, the lead performer is going around the stage, dancing as if in a fair. This is definitely unsuitable for the Eurovision Song Contest, even just for hygenic reasons. Joking aside, this is just too sweet and will most likely be forgotten at the international event.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdJQKDqQf8o

Datarock - The Underground

The Melodi Grand Prix has just suddenly gone disco and one cannot help but notice that the crowd has suddenly gone mad and this could prove to be the surprise of the evening according to that reaction. The performers of the group are all wearing what seem to be red tracksuits, acting quite comfortably on the stage. The lighting is a mixture of red, and white, somewhat similar to the ones used by Glen Vella during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2011. The band are joined by three female dancers wearing black catsuits and whilst the vocals are spot on, this is definitely not an international hit. Nevertheless, I am in my seat, writing this and bopping my head along to the music. Good Effort!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8tpX0lUe0c

Annsofi - I'm With You

Annsofi is next up, and we had the pleasure to speak to the young performer earlier earlier this week with the interview published this morning. She is the only performer to take to the stage without any backing vocalists or props and this helps in creating a simplistic charm. Wearing the white dress she donned in the semi-final, she is greeted on stage with a huge applause and the surprise of the evening could be here. The vocals are crystal clear and this type of ballad would definitely succeed at the Eurovision Song Contest. She is working the cameras extremely well and the audience is interacting in a positive manner. This could very well be the Norwegian entry in this years' edition of the international showcase.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t4rYXvps5I

Margaret Berger - Feed You My Love

Margaret Berger is the one to beat this evening and one could honestly get the feeling of a winning entry from the first couple of notes and this is mostly due to the staging which helps the performance garner more of a strong feeling. The female artist is clad in a tight long white dress which accentuates her figure perfectly. She is joined on stage by a drummer and one cannot help to note that despite this being a radio track, it works brilliantly on stage and her interaction with the cameras makes is special. She does not have any vocal problems, and she seems to be enjoying every second of the performance. I believe that it will remain to be the one to beat. I had some doubts but these have just erased. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyHMEUXf-9U

Sirkus Eliassen - I Love You Te Quiero

The last entry of the evening seems to be a joke entry to be honest considering that the male performers are joined on stage by four backing vocalists, dancers who are wearing rabbit costumes. The lighting for this show has been really incredible and red and green seem to make this performance extremely bearable. The chorus is extremely catch and now I am singing along, something always seems to happen in such tracks. This is definitely fun but in my opinion, too out there to receive a positive result. The reception in the hall seems to be mixed and there seems to be cheers and jeers. I do not think that it will be a song in the super-final.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFRCDdSIJgg

The Show (Part 2)

The Norwegian broadcaster should be commended on a stunning evening, noting that the organisation  has been somewhat perfect and the inclusion of former representatives such as Guri Schanke in the audience was surely thrilling to some individuals. If this were to follow the proper guidelines, the best entries this evening were tracks eight and nine. The hosts are back on stage and announce that the tele-voting is open, hence the recap begins and the public need to make their initial choice. The international guest of the evening takes to the stage of the Melodi Grand Prix, Loreen who won the Eurovision Song Contest last year with the track Euphoria is performing one of her album tracks entitled My Heart Is Refusing Me with which she tried to represent Sweden with back in 2012. First part of the show is over and when we return, we'll know which four entries will be competing to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Show (Part 3)

A dance sequence introduces the hosts back on stage and now, it seems like our male compere has gone for more formal wear whilst Jenny, our female is wearing a weird flowery dress which clearly doesn't complement her figure. A reminder of the acts which competed in this evenings' final. The hosts take to the runway to make the revelations of the four super-finalists.

01. Adelén - Bombo

Pop is clearly one of the main definitions behind the Eurovision Song Contest, and this is definitely something that Bombo curtails to. I have no idea whether the public have been hearing the same vocals which I have been because Adelen is truly horrendous and this is actually worse, second time round this evening. The song is very reminiscent of the entry sent in 2007 in Norway which had failed to qualify to the final. Unfortunately, I do not believe this to be the best possible entry for the country.

02. Annsofi - I'm With You

Deserving on the second spot in the super-final is Annsofi who seemed so surprised at being announced to making it through to the next phase and Alexander Rybak was relieved to see her through considering that gasp. She takes to the stage and following Adelen, this is a breath of fresh air, surely! Simple, and effective, the broadcaster has to be commended on the camera work.  The vocals are stunning, and she is performing this much better than during the first run and that will surely count towards votes from the jury and the public.

03. Sirkus Eliassen - I Love You Te Quiero

This has got to be a weird super-finalist but nevertheless, it is the joke entry which many people somewhat enjoy to listen to and can't help singing and dancing along to. Clad in matching tracksuits albeit having red and blue colours, they are joined by four dancers, who are dressed as rabbits and the whole set-up looks mad, as if out of Alice In Wonderland. The graphics are colourful and the whole act looks absolutely ridiculous. There were better songs, surely! A case, that some tracks just seep in through the cracks!

04. Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love

The last entry to move into the super-final is I Feed You My Love, somewhat expected and hence the suspence for very much exaggerated. The performance of this track is just stunning and has been worked to perfection by the creative team of the Melodi Grand Prix and the team behind the entry. The vocals are just amazing especially when one has to take into consideration that this is a radio song rather than a live performance. One of these four will be representing Norway and I believe that two of them have the possibility of reaching the final and achieving a good result.

The Tele-Voting is open for five minutes and the entertainment until the results come forth is being given by Tooji, who represented Norway in last years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in last place, having just managed to qualify ahead of Bulgaria.

  • Jury 1: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger
  • Jury 2: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger
  • Jury 3: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger
  • Jury 4: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger
  • Jury 5: I Love You Te Quiero - Sirkus Eliassen
  • Jury 6: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger
  • Jury 7: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger
  • Jury 8: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger

Winner: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger

Saturday, 09 February 2013 05:25

Norway: MGP 2013 Comes to a Close Tonight

Tonight! Scandinavia will be rocking the world of the Eurovision Song Contest considering that another two selections from the region will be taking place leaving Sweden as the sole participating nation from the area which will leave their selection to a later date considering that their second semi-final will be taking place this evening. Norway, will be hoping to turn their recent run of unsuccessful results around by virtue of appointing a new Melodi Grand Prix coordinator and thus, Head of Delegation in the form of Vivi Stenberg who has brought in fresh new talent towards the showcase.

The tracks that have competed in the Melodi Grand Prix through the years have achieved notable success in the charts and thus have sold hundreds and thousands of copies, especially the songs which have made it through to the final selection process which is taking place at the Oslo Spektrum Arena this evening. Last year, Norway was represented by Tooji and his track Stay but it failed to pick up the points and thus, the efforts this year were significantly higher and there are a couple of gems competing for the right to represent the Scandinavian nation, winner of the 2009 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The singer who achieved such success is back as a songwriter to I'm With You performed by Annsofi who escflashmalta.com interviewed earlier today.

  1. Vidar Busk - Paid My Way
  2. Fjellfolk - Ulvetuva
  3. Adelén - Bombo
  4. Gromth feat. Emil Solli-Tangen - Alone
  5. Gaute Ormåsen - Awake
  6. Lucky Lips - Sweet And Heavy
  7. Datarock - The Underground
  8. Annsofi - I'm With You
  9. Margaret Berger - Feed You My Love
  10. Sirkus Eliassen - I Love You Te Quiero

This evenings' Melodi Grand Prix which will also be shown through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest will be receiving a LIVE report on escflashmalta.com with Marc Calleja Bayliss taking on the role having followed all of the evolvments in the semi-final stage of the competition. Special guests for the evening have also been confirmed by NRK to be in the form of Tooji who did the honour of representing Norway in Baku, Azerbaijan at least managing to qualify, something that Haba Haba and Stella Mwangi couldn't in the previous year and the 2012 winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, Loreen. Like Finland, Norway will be competing in the first semi-final alongside Malta but nevertheless, they will be doing so within the second part of the show. Stay tuned for more news.

Source: NRK, Eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZaxIY1VAbM

Saturday, 09 February 2013 04:45

Exclusive: Annsofi speaks to escflashmalta.com

Countries within the Scandinavian region have been quite busy in recent weeks when it comes to their respective music scenes, hosting their national selections in a manner which is spread out in a series of semi-finals so that each artist gets equal exposure. In Norway, NRK has worked towards creating the Melodi Grand Prix in the past couple of years and with a brand new Head of Delegation in the form of Vivi Stenberg, they sought to keep the elements that have made the show successful in recent years. escflashmalta.com had the opportunity to speak to one of the finalists, Annsofi whose entry I'm With You is written by Alexander Rybak, who won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2009.

Annsofi is definitely not a newcomer to the Norwegian music scene having reached the second runner-up position in the X Factor having been mentored by the successful manager, Jan Fredrik Karlsen who was the mastermind behind Kurt Nilsen, the most successful winner of the show. Nevertheless, you are presenting yourself to the rest of the continent by virtue of taking part of this competition and therefore, how would you sum up your musical background n just a couple of sentences?

I have always loved music. One of my first memories is when I held a spontaneous concert for the passengers on my first plane trip. I cannot have been more than 3 or 4 years. As a kid, I sung in a children’s choir, and my first national TV appearance was at the 2010 edition of the program Last Choir Standing with 2005 MGP-winners Wig Wam’s Åge Sten “Glam” Nilsen’s choir. We won, and later that year I came third in the X Factor. Since that, I have – in addition to focusing on school – been working on my own songs, both in studio and on stage.

Norway has not been one of the most successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest, holding the record for the most last place finishes in the competition, totalling to eleven with the most recent coming in 2012 by virtue of Stay as performed by Tooji. You are presenting a completely different entry for the Scandinavian nation entitled I’m With You written by the extremely talented, Alexander Rybak. What do you think went wrong with last years’ participation and what do you aim to bring, should you represent Norway?

It’s hard for me to say what went wrong. It seems like the kind of song that wins varies from year to year. But Euphoria was… well, euphoric, and it would have been difficult to beat that. I guess two out of three acts that have won for Norway, have had a violin and a touch of folk music in them, so… At least there are violins in I’m With You.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7yVtl71Eo0

As already noted, your entry is written by Alexander Rybak who just happens to be the last performer to bring success to Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest, winning thecompetition back in 2009 with the track Fairytale. There is a certain aura about the track that does make it stand out from the rest and your raspy vocals give it the needed edge to success. How did the collaboration between you and Alexander come about and are you happy with the final product that is I’m With You?

Alexander is an extreme perfectionist. There are no compromises, whatsoever. So we’re all very happy with the result. The collaboration started with Alex becoming my mentor during the X Factor in 2010. We became friends, and since then I have sung with him on a couple of Christmas concerts, and sang Baby It’s Cold Outside with him on his Christmas Tales album. Since late 2011, we’ve been working on a couple of songs in the studio, of which I’m With You is one of them.

Competing in the second semi-final of the Melodi Grand Prix must have been quite daunting considering that the public were quite disappointed with the quality of tracks presented in the first semi-final but when hearing the tracks as released on the previous Wednesday, one could not deny that the quality was set to improve and indeed, it has and this has been shown even in terms of viewing figures. What did it mean to you to make it through to the final, albeit taking that third position and do you intend to change anything for the final?

I was, of course, very happy to go to the final, and we’ve been working on every detail since the semi to make sure we’ll do our best in the final. This time, however, Alex will be present, not on stage, but in the songwriters’ area. When at the semi, he was busy with his own concert. I’ll be honoured to perform the song with him present.

Would you like to say anything to our readers at escflashmalta.com?

The amount of support we’ve received from abroad – even as far as from Malta – is very touching, and make me want to focus even more on the job that I am to do in the final. It would be a dream of mine to be able to perform this song to the people of Europe. Thank you, and all the best, Annsofi.

Source: NRK, Olivier Vanhoutte, Dag Solheim

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t4rYXvps5I

Published in Interviews

NRK, the broadcaster responsible for the Norwegian participation at the annual Eurovision Song Contest has managed to triumph at the competition three times, the most recent being in 2009 at the hands of Alexander Rybak with the track Fairytale but nevertheless, their outstanding last place finishes have always taken centre stage with their latest one coming last year as Stay performed by Tooji didn't rack up the votes. There is a mixed reception with regards to this years' Melodi Grand Prix but nevertheless, it seems that they could make a very intriguing choice this weekend.

The Melodi Grand Prix established quite a couple of years back is kept into existence through it's formula because it has somewhat succeeded. Three entries from each semi-final managed to qualify to the final stage of the competition but nevertheless, NRK have just decided to announce a tenth act to join the line-up as a wildcard and they will be Lucky Lips with the track Sweet and Heavy. Therefore, ten entries will now be competing to represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest, but ultimately, there will be four entries competing for the jury and public votes and this is known as a super-final. Eurovision.tv will be transmitting the show LIVE and escflashmalta.com will be covering the show with a LIVE Report taking place.

  1. Vidar Busk - Paid My Way
  2. Fjellfolk - Ulvetuva
  3. Adelén - Bombo
  4. Gromth feat. Emil Solli-Tangen - Alone
  5. Gaute Ormåsen - Awake
  6. Lucky Lips - Sweet And Heavy
  7. Datarock - The Underground
  8. Annsofi - I'm With You
  9. Margaret Berger - Feed You My Love
  10. Sirkus Eliassen - I Love You Te Quiero

Source: NRK

Norway and their disappointment at the Eurovision Song Contest continued last year when Tooji could only manage last place in the final stage of the competition and therefore, NRK is looking to re-invent the Melodi Grand Prix with various genres and it has to be noted that the second semi-final which took place last night in the city of Floro was stronger in quality than the first semi-final with a number of tracks which could do relatively well at the international stage which not be too far away, in the neighbouring country of Sweden. 

Three entries did eventually manage to make it through to the final and will be joining the acts that made it through last week which somewhat baffled the international community due to the fact that some of the best presented entries failed to make it through unfortunately proving difficult for a successful result in Malmö, Sweden. Surprises have become a thing for these events and last night, it seems to have been existent in one particular case but nevertheless, a pleasant trio of entries to make it through to the final. The three qualifiers which made it through last night are well detailed below. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for more news.

3rd place: I'm With You - Annsofi

One of the most (if not the most) discussed songs was undoubtably the song of Annsofi who performed extremely well I'm with you which was the big return of Alexander Rybak to the eurovision scene. The song has a lot of celtic and irish influences and touched the hearts of the people. Annsofi and Alexander Rybak met each other some years ago during a christmas show and stayed since then in contact. After reaching in 3rd place in the norwegian X-Factor things developped more and more for the now 18-year old singer with this participation. The singer got last night 3rd place but somehow we feel she will definately compete for the first place on 9th February in Oslo Spektrum in Norway. This is a definate qualifier for the final in Malmö if this wins, I even see it in the top5.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYXSXx6GNWk

2nd place: UlvetuvaFjellfolk 

The second place went to the band Fjellfolk also with a song with celtic influences. A total different song then Annsofi and very intimate and sung in Norwegian. Not bad at all but this would be a much bigger struggle for Norway to qualify for the final in Malmö.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWwUBfnsMi0

1st place: I Feed You My Love - Margaret Berger

The first place went to Margaret Berger who was already a favourite in this semfinal with Annsofi. I feed you my love is a very electronic and modern popsong and performed very well by Margaret. This might do well on some radiostations but i dont think this is the right song for Norway to represent the country in Eurovision as the style will push many people away from voting. Should this wins in Norway i see it struggling to reach the final.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hnC6T3cOzo

Thursday, 24 January 2013 01:00

Norway: Second Semi-Final MGP Acts Revealed

NRK, the Norwegian broadcaster responsible for the participation in the Eurovision Song Contest has decided to reveal the acts of each respective semi-final in a special show which takes place on Wednesday evening on NRK1 and following last weeks’ revelation of those which competed in the first semi-final, it seems that there was more interest surrounding last nights’ announcement. This is due to the fact that the press had run a story saying that Alexander Rybak, the winner of the 2010 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was set to return as a songwriter.  The rumours turned out to be true as the singer/songwriter indeed has his credits on one of the competing entries in the second semi-final.

Many people have been hoping to see Alexander Rybak back at the Eurovision Song Contest and this could be his chance saying a couple of months back that he would most likely try to return but as a songwriter rather than a performer. On the other hand, the second semi-final of the Melodi Grand Prix is going to prove much more interesting especially considering that there is also Bjorn Johan Muri involved as a songwriter. The individual had gained fame in the Norwegian music industry for his entry in the same competition entitled Yes Man. Artists who are involved are mostly new but have had past experiences in the scene through reality shows such as the X Factor amongst others.

The second semi-final of the 2013 edition of the Melodi Grand Prix will be taking place this weekend in the town of Florø, which has played host to some of the semi-finals in the past. Three entries out of the above will be joining the qualifiers from the first semi-final a couple of days back and therefore, will be their new competition. The first comments with regards to the tracks in this semi-final are quite positive especially following what was a disappointing first Saturday night. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com as we continue to keep an eye on the proceedings of the national finals all across Europe and covering as much as possible in the manner of live shows. 

Source: NRK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4D_hguWPQE