After 3 semi-finals and a second chance round, Norway was finally ready to choose its song for the 2008 contest. Eighteen songs were reduced to 6 for tonight’s final.
Norway has an undeserved reputation among the wider public for producing a poor quality of song, but overall, the standard of the 3 semi-finals was high.
Crash – Get Up. Lets Rock! This 4-piece band certainly do that. This is rock in the more contemporary mode rather than the glam-rock offered by Wig-Wam a couple of years ago.
Ann-Mari Andersen – Ándagassii. This is a more traditional Norwegian song with a chanting style chorus and the use of traditional instruments.
Tinkerbells – Hold On. As one of the qualifiers from the ‘second chance’ round, you have to question their chances of winning. That said, DQ did it last year in Denmark so the unlikely could happen again. If so, this country song would make a credible choice.
Veronica Akselsen – Am I supposed to Love Again. A very simple song with minimal arrangement; just a piano, a solo violin, a double bass and an accordion. A contrast to what is about to come…..
King of Trolls – Far Away. Dressed like Ruslana and with backing musicians looking like Saxon Warriors – enter the bookies favourite. This is certainly an entertaining song and performance. In an era where acts are depending more and more on performance, this could be a contender for the big prize if the Norwegians give it the chance.
Ole Ivars – Som I Himmelen. A bit of old-fashioned Scandinavian dansband. This is the other song which had to qualify via the ‘second chance’ round and it’s probably expecting too much for it to win.
Torstein Sødal – Eastern Winds. Big ballads need a good voice to pull them off and Torstein doesn’t disappoint. It’s possible to see him in the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Judging by the audience’s reaction, this is one to watch.
Maria Haukaas Storeng – Hold On, Be Strong. This is a song for all those who have never given up hope of finding their soulmate. It sounds modern enough to appeal to the youngsters but still has enough to appeal to older listeners as well.
When all the songs had been performed, the public voted for 4 of them to perform again. Through to the last 4 were; Torstein Sødal, Veronica Akselsen, King of Trolls and Maria Haukaas Storeng.
For the final round, 3 ‘expert’ juries in each of the cities which hosted a semi, and a regional televote decided the winner. It wasn’t exactly close, claiming the top marks from all but 1 of the votes, the winner is…….Maria Haukaas Storeng with Hold on, Be Strong. She will sing in the first semi-final on May 20th.
In my view
This final was of such good quality that any of the songs would have deserved to win. It would have been great to see King of Trolls go through but Maria’s song is excellent and Norway can be very proud of their choice. On the whole, it was the best choice.The opinion expressed in "In my view" are those of the author and are not necessarily the one of EuroVisionary.com.