Aussievision's Norway Melodi Grand Prix Rankings - 1st to 10th
This weekend sees the final of Norway's Melodi Grand Prix after five weeks of semi finals.
The five semi final winners from different parts of Norway will join the five pre-qualified artists announced at the start of the contest.
The final takes place this Sunday at 5:50am AEDT streamed live at https://www.nrk.no/mgp/. All ten acts will perform with four getting through to the 'Gold Final' where they will compete in two head-to-head battles. The winners will then sing off in the Gold Duel for a place at Eurovision. All voting will be done by the public only.
Ahead of the final the Aussievision team listened, watched and voted on their top ten performances. These are the results with comments.
1st: Rein Alexander - 'One Last Time' (101 points)
Highs: 12 points from Dale, Fleur, Liv, Emma and Kyriakos
Lows: 5 points from Laura
Kyriakos: Let Schlager Rein for eternity! Game of Throne feels! Check. Fire! Check. Rein Alexander! Check. This song and performance ticks all the boxes for me. Eurovision 2020 needs this. It is my winner and I want to watch it live in Rotterdam!
Liv: This. Is. It. Winner. Put a stamp on it and mail it express post to The Netherlands. Another Viking-esque entry at Eurovision but don’t fix what’s not broken, if people like this content then keep us fed Norway. I worry the internal audience might shy away from this because of some similarities to Spirit in the Sky last year (eg. themed, slightly dated entry with a big drop) – although I think there is enough to stand this on its own two feet and have it be successful if it makes it all the way to Eurovision. This is a cracker.
Dale: Eurocheese is a genre I, and many others, enjoy at Eurovision and has a good track record. Denmark 2018, Norway 2019, Moldova most years, and this does it so well. The man can sing and he conjures up his back-up dancers from the dead. It even has a fire prop. This has Eurovision written all over it and I would LOVE to see this in Rotterdam.
Emma: Didn’t think much of this based on studio cut but it really came to life on stage. It’s a bit Rasmussen and it’s not breaking any ground but I still love it!
Fleur: My gut feeling tells me that Rein Alexander will win it. I can see this doing well in both the juries and especially in the televotes. Rein has been performing since the 1990’s, so he is well known to Norwegian audiences. ‘One Last Time’ has all the classic Eurovision elements and honestly, who does not want to see a euro-pop viking banger at Eurovision??? The fire in his hand in particular has been the best staging moment in this competition. Overall his staging has been the yardstick and no one else has come close.
Aaron: Rasmussen’s dad has killer vocals that lend themselves to some killer symphonic metal, but it’s not even close and that is a HUGE let-down. At least it’s a bit catchy.
Laura: I do like Viking bops but Norway really robbed ‘How About Mars’ for this??? There are moments when Rein over-sings the song but it only serves to his advantage of being an energetic and passionate Viking. Either way, I’m sure it will storm the televote.
Mike: An absolute triumph in the Semi Final. This is every bit of Nordic Eurovision cheese I never knew I needed in my life. He’s an experienced performer that can deliver on stage and I expect a really spectacular performance in the final. It’s won me over.
Steve: Rein emerges from the mists like a warrior, before creating fire in the palm of his hand and being joined by his crew of dancing companions. His deep voice masters this techno-Scandi “Game of Thrones” performance piece (hello, Denmark 2018) and saves it from becoming pure novelty.
2nd: Ulrikke Brandstorp - 'Attention' (84 points)
Highs: 12 points from Laura, Steve, Guy and Mike
Lows: 1 point from Liv, 4 points from Fleur, 5 from Dale
Laura: One of the best songs that Norway could possibly send to Eurovision at this point. It hits all the right notes, the strings are dramatic, it’s a very good song to cry to, the emotional impact is huge. It could be the next ‘Undo’ (Sweden 2014), even down to the lighting. I just wish they didn’t give it the X Factor Winner Pyro Staging (tm) treatment - there’s so much more room to be creative and imaginative.
Steve: A deceptively simple song in which an identifiable message (the conflict between seeking others’ attention and being oneself) is sold well by a talented performer with strong vocals. I also love the opening string melody.
Mike: I was excited by Ulrikke’s return and she hasn’t disappointed! Cracking ballad which she brilliantly performed live. It has real ‘Sanna 2014’ vibes and I can’t pay any higher compliment than that!
Liv: I find this type of vocal not my cup of tea, plus the message although good intentioned at heart a bit clumsy. Not for me.
Kyriakos: From the first listen this song just draws you in. I would throw all the love-heart eyed face emojis at this song. I would also be very happy to see Ulrikke go to Rotterdam with ‘Attention’. The finger clicks just add to the attraction and her voice is amazing. With awesome staging this will go far.
Aaron: Possibly the ballad of the season. It didn’t surprise me Morland had a say in this, at all. Ulrikke’s come a long way since ‘Places’ and I’m glad she’s bringing her vocal to something that could be so impactful. The staging needs to be reworked to convey the emotion of the song, though.
Dale: I really enjoy the studio of this and you can see the staging is designed for us to feel everything the song has to offer.... but it doesn't all quite come together. It's about 75% there but without being 100% it really drops for me, I don't feel a connection with the live.
Emma: I found this very difficult to separate from Tone Damli. Beautiful voice in this power ballad but it’s dated and looks like something you’d see on the Eurovision stage back in the 90’s.
Fleur: This is a lovely ballad although it does take a while to get going. Ulrikke has a beautiful voice but this will probably get lost amongst some of the other songs in the competition. She is very well known in Norway, so that might just help her in the televotes.
3rd: Magnus Bokn - 'Over the Sea' (69 points)
Highs: 12 points from Aaron, 10 points from Dale, Steve and Emma
Lows: 1 point from Mike, 4 points from Laura and Kyriakos
Aaron: Magnus has got the voice for this, the look to pull off the jolly sailor jig, and he’s accompanied by a catchy three minutes of violin folk. This is ‘Silent Storm’s happy and optimistic baby cousin, and it comes to life live. I want to be singing “Might be better, and it might be wrong, will we ever figure out where we belong?” on the Sunday morning of the Final.
Mike: Over the Sea? More get in the sea....! I hated this in the Semi Final. It reeks of inauthenticity. Having said that, this is a simple song that will appeal to a lot of people. It will probably do well, but I find in it hackneyed and cringeworthy.
Dale: I know this doesn't feel 'real' but it's fun, it feels very fishing village Norway and plays that up in a enjoyable track. Magnus does a good job and the staging concept is simple but effective.
Steve: I can see this folksy, “Irish fishing village”-style ditty being a real crowd-pleaser. It certainly charmed me, helped by its rousing chorus and the almost mandatory key change.
Emma: This has grown on me. A very Ed Sheeran type radio friendly song which lends itself to some culturally themed staging. He’ll have to lose the kids on stage though.
Laura: The violins are nice and cheerful and JOWST’s production helps lift the song. Well-performed, and Alexander Rybak definitely helped influence the staging with nods to ‘Fairytale’. That being said, it’s not my preferred genre of music. I’d love for Magnus to come out of his musical shell with a song that was more his own instead of being Alexander JOWSTbak 2.0.
Fleur: I picked this to win in the Western Semi. Overall though, this song just does not standout in this line up. It’s too much of a sea shanty ditty and Eurovision needs something more powerful. The staging too would have to vastly improve from Magnus’ previous performance.
Liv: I could absolutely hear the Rybak stamp all over that violin ‘drop’ – as far as folk-type songs go, I want two things: pretty instrumentation and a real journey in the lyrics…this does neither. It just kind of sits in 2nd gear for 3 minutes then packs up its fiddle and gets off stage. But - there is something charming about this limp song. I can’t put my finger on it.
Kyriakos: I was not a fan of this one upon its release. It has grown on me. Great to see former Eurovision artists work together on songs for Eurovision, but I don’t feel like this is right for the Contest it is too dated for me.
4th: Raylee - 'Wild' (60 points)
Highs: 10 points from Liv, 8 points from Dale, Laura and Kyriakos
Lows: 2 points from Aaron and Steve, 5 points from Mike, Emma and Guy
Liv: Really love the energy and concept behind this. Overall it has an easy, quick hook and you can’t deny she sells the hell out of a song of questionable quality. Once the chorus hits once it does repeat itself a lot for the last two minutes and stagnates. I also worry about the jury appeal of her vocal. In saying all this – I really like the overall package.
Laura: “People tell me I’m a fish” are already some of the most iconic lyrics this national final season. Raylee performed this amazingly in the semi final and gave it 100%, if she can do the same again, she’s in with a shot. However, if it does go to Rotterdam, I think it will suffer due to Fuego/Replay comparisons.
Fleur: There is nothing wrong with Raylee or ‘Wild’. However we have all heard this type of song before, especially in recent times. I just don’t find it endearing enough. Unless Raylee brings some extraordinary staging to the final, I don’t see this going through to Eurovision. Her toughest opponent is Rein Alexander. That said, ‘Wild’ is easily one of the better songs in the competition.
Emma: I really enjoy this pleasant radio friendly track but the best thing about this is Raylee herself. I think she’s been overshadowed by some better quality songs in the later semi finals. I’d like to see her come back with a better song next year.
Dale: I don't feel this is a 'Fuego' rip off as many suggest, yes there are some generic similarities, but it's a well produced and performed pop song. It does feel a little 2018 dated but with 1 million + stream and a decent staging arrangement, you'd have to say it's the one to beat, particularly with the head-to-head battles.
Steve: Questionable vocals and far too similar to the Fuego-Replay sound we’ve heard (endured?) for the past two contests. In my view, this is both unoriginal and monotonous.
Kyriakos: Raylee’s staging is amazing. The song is catchy and one I have in my playlist. Again I would be happy to see this go to Rotterdam. But I do feel like we have done it once with ‘Fuego’ and then ‘Replay’ taking a break from this bop style might be a good thing. The lyrics are a little ridiculous but that is what makes the song so much fun.
Mike: For many, the stand out of the qualifiers from the Semi Finals. Raylee delivers great energy and a good vocal to this upbeat number. Unfortunately the song is lyrically ludicrous and musically rudimentary. It’s solid, but this wouldn’t get past the Semi Final at Melfest let alone Eurovision.
Aaron: I am OVER Fuego knock-offs. STOP. The Slavko braid is a nice touch and somehow befitting of this mess.
5th: Sondrey - 'Take My Time' (58 points)
Highs: 8 points from Liv and Mike
Lows: 2 points from Guy, 4 points from Aaron and Emma
Mike: A nicely produced piece of Scandi RNB. It has a good groove and Sondrey can really sell it. It will inevitably, and unfairly, be compared to it’s American contemporaries, but I think this stacks up in its own right.
Liv: Nice funky, fresh song. I like the little Sondrey clones and dancing – it works for me. I wish the song was a bit more contemporary and the visuals and song weren’t as repetitive. Certainly a studio I will sit through but I wouldn’t reach to watch the national final performance (unless they change the staging before the final).
Laura: Sounds a bit like Benjamin Ingrosso’s music and doesn’t appear to have much of a personality outside of that. At least the beat is funky and the song is well-staged with the light-up microphone stands.
Steve: Instantly recognisable as a Swedish-inspired (hello, Robin and Benjamin) slickly manufactured pop. This is a decent song, but may suffer from comparisons to recent entries from its neighbours.
Dale: I get some 'The Weeknd' pop vibes to this, nice arranged song and he's a compelling performer. The song probably misses a knock out moment though to get me truly excited.
Aaron: Righteously neutral.
Emma: Dance You Off 2.0
Fleur: This might be very Melfest, but Sondrey has some uniqueness about him. It is a pleasant bop with some 1990’s RnB flavours but it’s still fun to listen to. I don’t think it will win but I get the feeling that he will be back.
Kyriakos: I do get slight Bruno Mars vibes from this one and Sondrey does sound great and if keeps up with the dancing in the performance. I love songs that make you want to get up and dance and this one does the trick. There is a little too much predictability with it though.
6th: Akuvi - 'Som du er' (52 points)
Highs: 10 points from Laura, 8 points from Fleur
Lows: 2 points from Dale and Emma, 3 from Guy and Mike
Laura: This is a whole BOP and Akuvi performed it amazingly, nailing the staging and the choreography. There are a few moments where the vocals will need improving for the performance in the final, but I also have this horrible feeling that Norwegians won’t vote for it because it’s in Norwegian. Please prove me wrong, Norway!
Fleur: This was my favourite pre-qualifying song. Typically, it is not a song that I would go for but I quite enjoyed it. I really like the fusion of the afro beats with the Norwegian language. This is the only song at MGP that features Norwegian. A solid contemporary song which stands out in this competition.
Mike: I want to like it! But ultimately, the live we saw was: Akuvi capably delivers this average song with predictable staging and the adequate amount of energy required. There’s no real ‘moments’ and it just never gets out of 3rd gear. It’s just so middling
Kyriakos: This song is a bop! It just draws you in from the first line of the song. The choreography is amazing and if it goes to Eurovision they need to stick to that dance style. I love the urban style and that she is not singing in English. She does need to show some more vocal range though.
Dale: Love the studio, love her, but ultimately I felt it went a little flat in the live.
Liv: Loving her energy – it stood out. I also like how they’ve played around with some syncopation for her melody versus the backing in the verses…it doesn’t quite land for me and I find it a bit jarring but kudos for trying something different.
Emma: Looks like she is trying to recreate Renaida’s Melfest performance from a couple of years ago with all that orange! This is a catchy dance number but I find it quite uninspiring.
Steve: This is an energetic number with a good beat and contemporary vibes. Having said that, a mix of dance-pop and rap just isn’t for me. I can see its broader appeal though and it’s good to see a song in Norwegian make the final.
7th: Kristin Husøy - 'Pray for Me' (47 points)
Highs: 10 points from Fleur, 8 points from Emma
Lows: 1 point from Steve, 2 points from Kyriakos and Guy*
Fleur: Kristin proved to be the pleasant surprise for me this year. She seemed a little nervous during her performances in the Central semi but still delivered a solid performance. Her staging needs a little improvement but the song itself does not command anything over the top. ‘Pray For Me’ could do well at the final. It certainly has the wildcard question as Kristin is relatively new on the Norwegian music scene. I am really hoping for this song to do well.
Steve: Prayers are the only way this song is likely to take out the MGP 2020 crown. Garbled lyrics, whistling and clapping? Nope, not my bag at all.
Mike: One that’s grown on me a little. A lot to like about Kristin’s vocal and her overall onstage presence. Not sure the song is one that will stand out in a line up however. I’d like to see her back with something more appealing.
Liv: There is nothing wrong with this package – but there is nothing unique or standout about it either. Unfortunately, this type of soulful song his been done many times before in other national finals and is a bit too safe to make an impact. She has a lovely voice but I find this very
Laura: ‘Stones’ 2.0 never sounded so good! The whistling is nice and memorable and Kristin performed this well. The atmospheric, dark, moody black-and-white staging and camera effects elevate the song, complementing it nicely. Weirdly enough, the chorus sounds like something I’d expect to hear in an Aussie hip hop song, not on the MGP stage! Points for being different!
Dale: Big drumbeat ZiBBZ 'Stones' type track. It's enjoyable, she's good, but there are better for me.
8th: Didrik and Emil - 'Out of Air' (44 points)
Highs: 7 points from Aaron and Mike, 6 points from Dale
Lows: 1 point from Laura and Fleur
Mike: The song itself sounds a little dated, but the studio version is actually not that bad. The boys themselves are good performers, but that live performance was a dog’s breakfast from start to finish. However there’s something about this that is still quite listenable.
Fleur: The Solli-Tangen brothers have big voices and that is the highlight of ‘Out of Air’. I just don’t enjoy this at all. It sounds very 1990’s boyband, I can even see rain and a choreographed dance routine in the film clip. I am not expecting this to do well.
Aaron: After Germany’s outrageous success with S!sters, it’s Bro+hers? This sounds like it should be a gay duet, but it’s a literal bromance. Maybe they could go full glam for the final and find some Jedward wigs?
Emma: I don’t like this and I can’t quite put my finger on why. The brothers are likeable enough but the spoken word parts just sound wrong. The song title is apt as it sounds like they are running out of air at times!
Liv: I understand the brotherhood vibe they were going for but quite frankly this is just a bit of a dated, cringey, cheesy, mess…but honestly it kind of works for me lowkey.
Kyriakos: I don’t care that the song sounds a touch dated and super familiar. It is catchy and refreshing. It stands out from the other songs. The brothers did a great job!
Steve: This straddles the pleasant / cheesy dividing line for me. It feels dated and I’m also confused by what story the song is telling. The dynamic between the brothers doesn’t really work for me.
Dale: I know it's dated, and I know it was a little messy live but I just find the song so enjoyable. I find myself listening to it a lot and I think it'll do better than people expect.
Laura: At least it’s better than ‘My Heart Is Yours’, but anything is better than that in my opinion. The lyrics are cliche and the production sounds like someone tried to haphazardly brush a coat of modern paint on a very dated song.
9th: Tone Damli - 'Hurts Sometimes' (43 points)
Highs: 8 points from Guy, 7 points from Emma
Lows: 1 point from Dale, 2 points from Laura and Fleur
Mike: Pleasant, predictable, highly likeable Scandi-Pop ballad that was strongly presented live. As much as she tried to sell it, this doesn’t feel authentic. The whole thing is ‘fine’.
Steve: A rather basic song performed reasonably well by a decent singer. As such, it inevitably falls towards the middle of my rankings. It doesn’t have enough “oomph”.
Dale: This is a song I should like. I didn't find anything wrong with it, but I felt.... well nothing... passed me by and that's the ultimate sin in Eurovision. It's just 'there'.
Liv: This has Dansk Melodi Grand Prix vibes to me – a very soft impact type of song. Not my cup of tea and a bit too repetitive.
Fleur: For me this was the most disappointing entry. Tone Damli was one of the most anticipated artists in this year’s Melodi Grand Prix. However, ‘Hurts Sometimes’ is just a middle of the road song that just never gets going. I find it rather forgettable. No amount of staging can save this. Norway is in Semi Final 1 at Eurovision this year and I could not see this qualifying for the final.
Aaaron: This would be at home on an American high-school drama. It’s an inoffensive love song, and for Eurovision that’s too safe – even the key change doesn’t do much. Tone has a pretty voice though.
Laura: I keep forgetting this song exists. Nicely produced but I don’t think there’s much about it that stands out. Even the key change doesn’t add much to it. How did this automatically qualify again?
10th: Liza Vassilieva - 'I Am Gay' (22 points)
Highs: 4 points from Mike, 3 points from Dale, Laura, Fleur and Steve
Lows: 1 point from Guy, Aaron, Emma, Kyriakos
Mike: I knew she wasn’t gay the minute she wore those boots with that jacket... The song itself is not breaking any new ground but it’s catchy as hell! Liza showed she can sing this very well live and this package should add some colour to the Final.
Laura: I Am Definitively Gayer.
Emma: Sounds like something straight out of High School Musical or Glee. Still puzzled as to how this song won its semi-final. This one won’t be winning any song writing awards!
Kyriakos: A big fat no to this one. I find it disturbing that Liza is not gay yet sings about being proud and gay. The song caused controversy online and it will continue too if it wins.
Steve: Fairly enjoyable, high-energy nonsense with lyrics straight from a rhyme book. It is, however, infectious and for me the “ear worm” of the national final.
Fleur: I am still bewildered as to how this got through. To me it sounds like a song that belongs on the soundtrack of a Disney Channel Teen Sitcom. The lyrics are extremely clichéd. I admire her support for the LGBTIQA+ community so I give her kudos for that. I just wish that this was a better structured song.
Aaron: Nah, I have nothing polite to say about this.
Liv: Fun, basic and gets the job done. Is it worth saying this lacks authenticity?
Dale: This is well intentioned but completely inappropriate for a straight person to sing (just replace gay with black, Jewish, person with a disability and you can see how bad it is). It would have been mid-field otherwise because i find it quite annoyingly infectious.