Norsk Melodi Grand Prix, what a gem!

For the past couple of years now the Norsk Melodi Grand Prix has been my favourite national final. The widely varying songs and the real enthusiasm of the Norwegian people never cease to impress me. That’s partly why I was so happy to see Maria Haukaas Storeng do so well in Belgrade last year.

The one area of their Melodi Grand Prix that has gone down hill over the past couple of year is the presenters. Oh Lord, what a snooze fest, now I know what you’re all saying… I don’t speak Norwegian, so what do the presenters matter? Well, I think that no matter what the language, the presenter has to build a sense of anticipation and excitement. Ivar Dyrhaug, who hosted in 1982, 1983, 2004 and 2005 editions had a entertaining manner, there was a bit of frivolity. I nearly feel asleep when Per Sundes was hosting last year. Hopefully the addition of Maria will add a sense of fun.

For a contest that’s nearly 50 years old, it’s amazingly fresh. I’d have to say that it’s one of the most modern national finals anywhere. It is becoming decreasingly schlager based. In fact, there is only really one schlager song in this year’s line-up.

There are just so many from the 21 songs that I love. Alexander Rybak’s Fairytale is really good, there’s a sort of Brainstorm feel to it. It’s such a pity that Belarus can’t muster this kind of entry, considering he is originally from Belarus. I’d love this one to win, I’d hope it could do as well as Hold on be strong.

Then there’s Alexander Stenerud, who sang Always, always last year, he has a great song that I was sorry to hear turning into a fast beat dance track half way through, it could have been much better as a simple ballad, but still a great song. I can only hope though that his stage show is better than last year’s attempt. He looked like an office drone letting go with the karaoke machine at a work do.

And then I can’t forget the lovely piano lead lilting ballad Two of a kind. I could literally listen to this one all day, as I nearly have the past week. Espen Hana sings it beautifully and it is the kind of song I would love to see winning the whole damn competition.

Even before I mention any of the other entries I have to say that the lyrical quality of the songs this year is simply superb. I’m not sure I’ve heard better lyrics in any national final as a whole. I know there’s a high standard of English in most Scandinavian countries, but the same can be said for the likes of Poland and they gave us Time to party, not exactly a lyrical masterpiece!

A song that I think has more than an outside chance is Soul train by The Rebelettes. With the right stage presentation, this could go all the way. They’ll need to capture the sense of fun that the big band-style music from The blues brothers film has for to be incredibly infectious and a super finalist. The lyrics aren’t exactly the strongest, but repetition can be a good thing if done properly, which I think they have managed here.

There is only really one song that sticks out like a sore thumb and that’s Alt har en mening nå. Poor Wenche Myhre should have waited till she found a better song to return. This is just short of boring. I am a big fan of good schlager, but this is not it. I’ll bet now that I’ve said that it’ll storm to victory. It’s simply a case of like the artist, loathe the song I’m afraid.

There are so many more that deserve a mention, but if I go on any longer I’ll begin to bore myself, never mind you lot!

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