It was a blockbuster of a Saturday here in Euroland with the finals of Melodi Grand Prix in Norway and Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins in Iceland. It was definitely an exciting night, complete with alot of switching back and forth. Here’s what happened:
NORWAY – Model-turned-singer Tooji won the 2012 Melodi Grand Prix by a landslide (155,480 points to the runner-up’s 90,046) with his song Stay, written by Peter Boström and Figge Boström. It was one of my two favourites going into the competition, the other being Plumbo’s Ola Nordmann. Whereas Stay was my ‘guilty pleasure’ favourite, I was quite convinced that Ola Nordmann would walk it and I was happy for it to do so, as I thought it would be a fresh, authentic choice for Norway and make their bid unique and attract attention. So I was plesantly surprised when Stay won. It’s very similar in style to the Cypriot entry (and Jedward’s Waterline should they win in Ireland) so its not all that original and may suffer as a result. In any case, I’m thrilled that Tooji won and it was very touching to see him breakdown in joyous disbelief as the points came rolling in. He got the host a bit choked up! It was a wonderful show, with Norway picking a very strong entry.
Norway 2012: Stay performed by Tooji
ICELAND – No sooner had Tooji finished his reprise (and carried on with his state of joyous disbelief) than it was time to switch over to Iceland’s Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins in time to see Greta Salomé & Jónsi win the Icelandic ticket to Baku with Mundu Eftir Mér. It is a dramatic, bombastic ballad that’s heavy on the violin. It was also the best song of the night and a very deserving winner. Iceland have a tradition of translating their song into English for Eurovision but I think they ought to keep it as is as the song sounds so much more dramatic with the almost mystical-sounding Icelandic language. Another worthy addition to the line-up for Baku.
Iceland 2012: Mundu Eftir Mér performed by Greta Salomé & Jónsi
Oh, and Hungary selected their song. An eighties-inspired ditty called Sound Of Our Hearts by Compact Disco. I didn’t follow the final, nor listen to the song as I like to keep about half the entries unheard until the big night to be surprised and to keep things fresh. Apparently its not so good performed live.
Whew! It was a marathon evening and it was almost a relief when it was all over, just to have a respite from all the excitement and as a Eurofan put it on Twitter, “time to get back to our normal lives!”… atleast until San Remo starts on Tuesday!
Words cannot describe the farce that was the second semi-final of Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix last night. How on earth did Mimi-Oh’s amazing You And I and Rikke Lie’s beautiful Another Heartache not qualify for the Final, but the awful Ola Nordman by Plumbo and Malin’s generic Crush did?! I don’t even remember the other one. What are the Norwegians thinking? That’s two of my favourite songs out of the competition, two songs that could have done really well for Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest. I’m really upset and disappointed by all this. Let’s console ourselves by watching these two fab ladies again:
You And I – Mimi-Oh
Another Heartache – Rikke Lie
Doesn’t make it hurt any less. Norway has completely lost the plot.
This weekend sees the start of the Norsk Melodi Grand Prix with the first semi-final. Norway’s national final can always be counted upon to showcase some great music and this year is no different, with some truly exceptional gems shining through.
Rikkie Lie – Another Heartache (Composers: Rikke Lie / Maria Marcus / Niclas Lundin)
An absolutely gorgeous ballad with some truly epic strings. The wonderfully delicate melody paired with Rikkie’s unique waif-like voice makes this song a very strong contender. In fact, I’m calling this as the one to watch.
Lise Karlsnes – Sailors (Composers: Lise Karlsnes / Thomas Eriksen)
Dreamy electropop, a little in the vein of The Sound Of Arrows but more hard-hitting. With that soaring chorus, its a future radio hit. What I like about Sailors is that it is very ‘credible’ pop and not the kind normally associated with Eurovision.
Tooji – Stay (Composers: Tooji / Peter Boström / Figge Boström)
A catchy club track that is an interesting fusion of modern dance and Eastern influences. While I personally like it, I think this will be a challenge to perform live and, if not done right, could potentially fall part. I still think its great though.
Other songs that have caught my attention are Reidun Sæther’s High On Love, Minnie-Oh’s You And I and Malin’s Crush. All in all, the line-up for the Melodi Grand Prix is exceptionally strong this year and the race to the final will no doubt be an exciting one!