Norway! One of the most beloved of Eurovision nations – at least to me. That Scandinavian bloc can’t stay out of trouble lately, Sweden is the poster child for Eurovision success, but in the last decade Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway have all tasted Eurovision victory (come on Iceland…). Sure, Norway have also tasted their fair share of disasters over the year, still holding that nul points record that’s unlikely to ever be broken now the semi-finals are here, but they are consistently a good bet for some top quality Scandinavian pop.
They’ve been in Eurovision almost since it started, and have picked up three wins – most recently Alexander Rybak’s landslide victory in Moscow, winning the 2009 contest. Last year was a good year too, with the amazing Margaret Berger picking up 4th place. Norway have tasted defeat enough to keep them on their toes though, and qualification isn’t handed to them as readily as other nations.
Three semi-finals whittled 15 competitors down to nine, with a national final held at the Oslo Spektrum once again. A 50/50 mix of a jury vote and a public vote decided who was flying the Norwegian flag in Copenhagen, and trying to keep Eurovision in Scandinavia for a third year.
We all love a bit of dated rock, don’t we? No, me neither. It’s tuneful enough but it doesn’t exactly seize the imagination. The chorus is pretty good but this is just stuck in the past, I have no interest in it.
Elisabeth Carew – Sole Survivor
I bet those fairy lights too ages to un-tangle. A bit of Norwegian Schlager, it’s not too bad is it? She doesn’t exude the sort of personality I that suits being surrounded by shirtless dancers with sticks, but I’m not complaining. A few shaky vocal moments but once she gets going it’s all pretty good stuff. Yeah, I like this one!
Dina Misund – Needs
Ack, more banjos? Admittedly I’m not sure I’ve seen any actual banjos this season but it’s yet another country-lite entry. The result is fairly expected; perfectly nice, sweet vocals, but ultimately not that memorable. I can see why it didn’t grab the voting public but it’s quite nice all the same.
Oda & Wulff – Sing
The most Norwegian sounding names. More buskers though, Passenger have a hell of a lot to answer for this year, he’s even got the nasal voice down. Fortunately he’s hot and she’s got a lovely voice. Perfect for trending hipsters with a passion for vintage hashtag bullshit. A bit too twee for its own good, but at least they have a concept of a decent bridge. Don’t know if I’m charmed or annoyed by it.
Charlie – Hit Me Up
She wants me to hit her up? Is that a sexual thing? A violent thing? You’re standing the wrong way, love. A bit of a generic synth-pop track, but of course I love it. For a change the singer can actually sing it, it sort of reminds me of Owl City & Carl Rae’s “Good Time”. It’s like a Junior Eurovision entry disqualified for suggestive content. But yeah, I rather like this!
Knut Kippersund Nesdal – Taste of You
Forget those guys though, here’s the first of the superfinalists. Ooh he came from nowhere, I love this cheesy magic show intro, and he’s hot! What a lovely voice too, I hope this chorus is good. Hmm… well it’s good, it’s just a bit weedy. But still, this is easily one of the more likeable entries so far, and definitely one of my favourite voices. Ooh that’s a big note, and a key change, praise the lord!! He was robbed!!
Mo – Heal
What strange hair, Mo’ a girl, right? I honestly can’t tell – oh no a boy surely? Good lord. I like that “Ooh!” bit in the intro. It’s like an Eric Saade album track, but with a black hermaphrodite (if you can imagine that). It’s sort of good, it’s definitely modern but it’s just a bit like a lot of things that I’ve heard before. Big beats to try and inject some drama but I’m not quite feeling it. Would’ve been a decent entry though I think.
Linnea Dale – High Hopes
Sounds like Regina Spektor with a dance beat, for better or worse. It starts off a bit strange but I really like that chorus. Those verses are rather odd, I can’t quite get into the rhythm of them, and it’s a bit disjointed when the choruses break in. First impressions are everything at Eurovision, and while she’s quite watchable as a performer I just don’t really know what I think about this song after it’s finished – not a great sign. But it came 2nd in the end, so what beat it?
Carl Espen – Silent Storm
Well I knew this was a big favourite, and hype in this case wasn’t a good thing. It’s got the impact but I think it might be a bit hit & miss. Sensitive but rough-looking bloke singing tenderly about his inner turmoil; it’s not hard to see the appeal here.
It’s just the fact that he’s so deadpan throughout that puts me off a bit. Of course that’s keeping in with the feel of the song, but he’s not really showing the emotion in his performance, except for the slight voice cracking at the end – he has got complete control over his voice though, and this will certainly be one to watch in Copenhagen. But I just feel something is missing. In Icelandic or Estonian I’d probably be all over it though… sigh.
But anyway, well done Norway, it might not have been my favourite but it’s going to be a big one I think. This year’s final is certainly streets ahead of last year – even if there’s no “Feed you my love” of “Bombo” to show for it.