NRK lifts the lid on Melodi Grand Prix 2014

With a fourth place under their belt from 2013, Norwegian broadcaster NRK has a great deal to prove when finding a worthy successor to Margaret Berger. An announcement was made earlier in the year, telling of plans to revamp the MGP concept. Today NRK finally gave fans the details they’ve been waiting for, including dates and host names.

Reactions were mixed, when Norwegian broadcaster NRK announced earlier in the year that it was to do away with the existing national selection format, the same that has brought Sweden much success in recent years. Gone are the heats that were broadcast over three consecutive Saturdays from around the nation. Instead, next year’s selection will be brought to us from Oslo, with three heats taking place at the far more intimate venue Folketeatret on the 7th, 8th and 9th of March. In accordance with tradition however, the final will still be held in Oslo Spektrum, scheduled for the 15th of March. Of the five acts competing in each heat, three will win a spot in the final.

Musical producer of Melodi Grand Prix Vivi Stenberg is in the middle of an intensive selection period. With the help of a panel of four, fifteen artists are to be selected from the entries that have been submitted. The team are not quite there yet but are well on their way. The fifteen successful acts will be presented to the public at the end of January, giving us plenty of time to get to know the artists. The four that are assisting Stenberg with the arduous task are Marie Kommisar, musical producer with radio station P3, musician Tarjei Strøm, editor of 730 Gisle G. Stokland and managing director of Music Norway Kathrine Synnes Finnskog. All hold key positions within the Norwegian music industry, which bodes well for the selection ahead.

The chief objectives for next year’s national selection will be to open up the process more, through the use of social media and internet, giving viewers the opportunity to follow the preparations leading up to the heats more closely. As Stenberg stated in an interview with NRK, the main focus of the contest is music. When asked if she was concerned about losing some of the allure and excitement by making the selection process more accessible she replied : "I think it will be really interesting for viewers to see just how good pop music is created. Unlike other music competitions, we’re dealing with brand new compositions that nobody has heard before. We aim to give viewers much more background information before they decide which act they’re going to vote for. The audience will see the selection process in detail and so we’ll get to show far much more of the competing acts than is possible with just three minutes on stage." 

A camera team will be filming the entire process, showing both work behind the selection of the fifteen acts, but also studio work, choreography rehearsals, choosing outfits and other preparations. All of this in addition to following each of the acts from the moment they find out they’ve made it to the qualifying heats and up until the final on the 15th of March. Hosts for the show will be Jenny Skavlan and Erik Solbakken, who did a sterling job in presenting last year’s selection. Many will no doubt remember Erik as one of the three hosts from the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo. Tickets for all shows are due to go on sale later today.

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