WHEN?: Saturday 20 February 2021
WHERE?: H3 Arena, Fornebu, Oslo
HOW TO WATCH?: NRK link
Sweden’s Melodifestivalen may be the average Eurovision fan’s favourite national pre-selection show but the quality on display in Norway’s 2021 Melodi Grand Prix means it is fast following in the must-see footsteps of its rival.
* Read on for reasons including who we think will win and how each song would do at Eurovision
- Atle Pettersen World On Fire (Atle Pettersen, Jesper Borgen, Magnus Clausen, Alexander Standal Pavelich, Peter Daniel Newman) OUR RANKING: 10th ESC PREDICTION: non-qualifier
Another act where the live performance detracts from the quality of the song. It’s Coldplayesque and accomplished if slightly run- of-the-mill songwriting with a song title that couldn’t be further from the truth. The evocation of Loreen’s Euphoria with the ‘up, up, up in flames’ reference is the highlight. There’s a difficult big note and the impressive light stage trickery can’t detract from the need for a more convincing live performance.
2. Raylee Hero (Andreas Stone Johansson, Anderz Wrethov, Laurell Barker, Thomas Stengaard, Frazer Mac) OUR RANKING: 2nd ESC PREDICTION: 11th to 15th
Hero was a song of the week for us in February and we said then: ‘Hero reminds us very much of Michael Sembello’s Maniac mashed up with The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights and the iconic pose Raylee pulls towards the end of the performance evokes the 1983 film as well as probably only being quite so successful in this Covid-19 affected year without a live audience.’ Not sung well enough we think to be a serious Eurovision contender though.
3. Stavangerkameratene Who I Am (Tommy Fredvang, Lars Horn Lavik, Robin Sharma, Glenn Lyse) OUR RANKING: 9th ESC PREDICTION: 21st to 26th
Arvingarna have already made Sweden’s Melodifestivalen finalen and do the man band thing better than their apparently younger, stetson-wearing Norwegian cousins. The tattoo-ed sleeve is a modern touch if the familiar folk sound is a little dum-dum-diddle predictable. The staging with photos, we’re guessing, of the band’s younger selves is cute but if they’re planning on wearing white trainers for the finalen they might want to keep their distance from fellow act Emmy and her Witch Woods.
4. KiiM My Lonely Voice (Kim Rune Hagen, Espen Andreas Fjeld, Vebjørn Jernberg, Niklas Rosström) OUR RANKING: 6th ESC PREDICTION: 11th to 15th
We’re big fans of the Divine Comedy and the title can’t help but remind us of mainman Neil Hannon’s comedy entry My Lovely Horse only because of the similarity of the title. There’s a simple, beautiful, haunting Mary’s Prayer-ish build to the chorus even if the hook is a little screechy. There’s a hugely ill-advised hand phone gesture in the live version which reminds us there’s a televote imminent which is much to the song’s detriment. Do we need the odd staging of a man surrounded by strings? We think not. KiiM’s also a little sweaty at the end of a not especially exuberant performance which is never a good look.
5. Blåsemafian ft Hazel Let Loose (Jørgen Lund Karlsen, Sigurd Evensen, Stig Espen Hundsnes, Benjamin Sefring, Caroline Teigen) OUR RANKING: 11th ESC PREDICTION: non-qualifier
We were quite enjoying the recorded version of this until we made the mistake of seeking out the live version. Allowing the brass section to take centre stage, confining Hazel to her own walled-up room with very basic lyrics for the beginning of the song and then heavily featuring both an epic sax guy and comedy tuba had us in stitches for all the wrong reasons. The white boots also have us worried. Norway what have you done?
6. Emmy Witch Woods (Olli Äkräs, Elsa Søllesvik, Morten Franck) OUR RANKING: 4th ESC PREDICTION: 11th to 15th
A disturbing lyric which should serve as a warning to white shoe-d city boys straying into the countryside, this benefits from being so out there. ‘We’ll burn you up in a bonfire,’ sings Emmy to a sinister fiddle accompanied by childish laughter. Rightly attracting attention for its: ‘We chop, chop boys like we chop. chop wood’ lyric, blood red lighting and flames, this is an entry untroubled by subtlety.
7. TIX Ut av mørket (Out of darkness) (Andreas Haukeland) OUR RANKING: 3rd ESC PREDICTION: 6th to 10th
Haukeland co-wrote Ava Max’s smash worldwide hit Sweet But Psycho and Ut av mørket is already a top 3 hit in Norway which means it’s probably the song to beat in this selection. The tune is strong and well-performed even if the black-and-white angel staging feels a little basic. There’s an all-important key change and with a switch to English in the final and if victorious here, this could be a contender in Rotterdam.
8. Kaja Rode Feel Again (Magnus Martinsen, Mirjam Johanne Omdal, Andreas Gjone, Erika Dahlen) OUR RANKING: 8th ESC PREDICTION: 16th to 20th
We very much prefer the recorded to the live version. Rode sounds a little like J-Lo to these ears and while this is a strong radio hit, the Loreen-esque performance seems predominantly shot from too far away to engage. There’s a strong vocal but the staging detracts from the charisma needed to maximise the effectiveness of a solo performance.
9. Rein Alexander Eyes Wide Open (Rein Alexander Korshamn, Christian Ingebrigtsen, Kjetil Mørland) OUR RANKING: 5th ESC PREDICTION: 11th to 15th
Alexander is a strong musical theatre-ish vocalist and this boasts a fabulously ridiculous spoken vocal intro that morphs into a mix of a Bond theme and Nina Simone classic Feeling Good. Alexander was a Melodi Grand Prix finalist in 2020 and was even plucked to appear in the fruity Second Cherry contest. This is better than that but with A1’s Ingebrightsen and former Eurovision contestant Mørland aboard as co-writers we had hoped for more.
10. IMERIKA I Can’t Escape (Erika Dahlen, Bjørn Olav Edvardsen, Morten Franck, Ben Adams) OUR RANKING: 7th ESC PREDICTION: 16th to 20th
A1’s Ingebrigtsen co-wrote Rein Alexander’s entry and the band’s lead singer Adams has a credit here. It’s a dark ballad with a sparse piano, anxious vocal and gorgeous descending piano motif. There’s a big note and build towards the end yet it finishes as gently as it began.
11. KEiiNO Monument (Tom Hugo Hermansen, Alexander Nyborg Olsson, Fred Buljo, Alexandra Rotan, Rüdiger Schramm) OUR RANKING: 1st ESC PREDICTION: 1st to 5th
KEiiNO, of course, won Melodi Grand Prix in 2019 finishing 6th at Eurovision with televote winner Spirit In The Sky. New single Monument was a song of the week for us in January and we said then: ‘What the band should be proud of is that they’ve learned from the success and not merely repeated it but built on it.’ The lyrical question of one’s legacy is one we think will resonate in these Covid days. It’s early days of course but we have Monument down as a potential Eurovision winner.
12. Jorn Faith Bloody Faith (Åge Sten Nilsen, Jørn Lande, Eirik Renton, Kjell Åge Karlsen) OUR RANKING: 12th ESC PREDICTION: 16-20th
Although we’re not fans of this genre – and there are better heavy rock entries in both Melodifestivalen and UMK – we can see this making it out of its semi. We were surprised it made it out of Monday’s Sistejansen however.