Melodi Grand Prix: Ulrikke to represent Norway at Eurovision 2020

Beating 9 other contestants, Ulrikke came out victorious and is now heading to Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Norway is aiming for international succes in their 60th anniversary year.

Update: A peoples jury consisting of 30 people decided which four acts continued as first part of the voting. This was a plan B set in place by NRK if anything should go wrong. And it was needed to take in use as voting were down from 21.15 to 21.39. In the first of the five prior heats, voting also caused issues. Dropping televoting to rely completely on online voting has been challenging in Norway – and fans are anything, but pleased. Those 30 people are to blame for acts like Rein Alexander, Magnus Bokn and Didrik & Emil surprisningly all being out after first round.

Last year, Norway finished 6th in Tel Aviv, Israel. This year, the Eurovision Song Contest is moving to the Netherlands. Norway is celebrating that it is 60 years since they joined the contest – and for that, their national selection had a different shape this year with five regional heats prior to the big final, which took place tonight.

Tonight’s show kicked off with a great performance from KEiiNO. With their Spirit In The Sky, the atmosphere was set right from the beginning – in between the song, the 10 acts taking part were presented. Last year, we weren’t really in doubt that KEiiNO would win. This year, it was a bit more difficult to predict the winner.

Eurovision potential

All ten acts tonight went on stage with the hope to be crowned the winner. To be the one that will represent Norway at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest in May in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In our previous coverage, we looked at the songs and the presentation. As the performances tonight were almost identical, we instead look at the Eurovision potential for all of them. This is a subjective opinion, but your writer has followed Eurovision since 1984, and intensively covered it since 2000.


First up tonight, we meet Raylee again. She took part in the very first heat, from South Norway back on the 11th of January.

The recipe is well known to Eurovision fans. This pop song with latin vibes includes it all; a lead singer dressed to attract sexually, dancers around her with a specific routine and of course fire. It worked well for Cyprus in 2018 where Eleni Foureira came second with exactly this. Last year, they tried again – and carried out by Tamta, they finished 13th. Will it work for Norway too? I am afraid not. Cyprus is a hot country. It fits them. Without saying that every country have to follow a standard suitable for them, I am just having a hard time seeing this work for Norway – and also, do we really need it? We can probably expect that Greece will choose something not completely different from this, but they are in a different semi-final than Norway. If it qualifies, it will be very close – and in the final, I am afraid it will drown.

Didrik & EmilOut Of Air

The 2010 Norwegian participant Didrik and his brother Emil had been pre-selected for the final. This well produced pop banger is nothing like their usual repotoire. Vocally, the brothers are spot on every time – and they deliver a really good performance too – better than when first performed. It’s a classic pop song, where it is really hard to pick on anything negative.

Most TV viewers across Europe (and Australia) will be able to enjoy it, but will they vote for it too? I really do like it, but I am afraid it might be one of those songs, which might just be on the edge of qualifying – if it ends up with other similar songs in the same semi – but if they do, which I hope, it will probably finish around 10th – 15th in the final. You won’t hear me complain though, if it does significantly better than I predict. I am a fan.

Magnus BoknOver The Sea

I was a bit hard on this song in the fourth heat, on the 1st of February. I was that because I could hear a potential for this song to be even better. That’s still the case, although I have to be fair and add: I do like the song. It’s catchy, I remember it – and it’s performed well. I just can’t help thinking that it’s not quite finished. I hear the potential for a Eurovision winner here, but in the shape it is now, unfortunately not. It frustrates me.

While it could have been even better, I still think Norway wouldn’t be all off with this one as it will stand out. It should be able to qualify for the final, and it might also just sneak into the best half in the final, but I will be suprised, if it’s in top 5.

AkuviSom Du Er

The only song with Norwegian lyrics that reached the final was a pre-qualified entry by Akuvi. It’s a pop song with elemets from reggae, African sounds and hip-hop. Akuvi shows off her dance moves backed up by plenty of dancers. It’s a mix which is not working for me. I can’t relate to it – and I am afraid, many TV viewers will feel the same. With this entry, I don’t think Norway will qualify for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. I simply can’t see from where they should get the points to do so.

Kristin HusøyPray For Me

We’re now heading back to the third heat taking place on the 25th of January. This contemporary, rather quiet pop song secured Kristin her place in this final. She does sing it well, she performs well too, but it is not doing anything for me. It’s not a track, I would skip, but I am unable to remember it afterwards, and that’s a bad thing for Eurovision.

I am afraid that this would drown in the semi-final. It wouldn’t stand out in any way, and as such, probably won’t qualify.

Rein AlexanderOne Last Time

On the 18th of January, Rein took part in a tough second heat – and won it. This is a song that stands out; a bit of When Spirits Are Calling My Name (Sweden 2000), Higher Ground (Denmark 2018) and Spirit In The Sky (Norway 2019). It’s a weird mix, but it works! I am captured right from the beginning – and I remember it. This is the kind of song, I want to see win Eurovision, but I am not sure, we are there yet.

It will qualify for the final. A top 10 in the final should be secured as well. Denmark’s Rasmussen finished 9th two years ago (I am still wondering why the juries robbed it!) – and question is whether or not this might just do a bit better. As always, it depends on the other songs, but potential is there. Norway will do well with this entry.

Tone DamliHurts Sometimes

We move on to yet another pre-qualified entry, actually the last one of these songs to be released. I really like it. It’s a pleasant really nice song, but there is a problem; I covered the semi-final in which she performed this song, but I don’t remember it. It feels like I am hearing it for the first time, which I know, I am not. When a song is that forgettable, it’s not working in relation to Eurovision. What does it matter that people like it, if they don’t remember when it is time to vote.

I don’t think it will bring Norway into the final of the Eurovision Song Contest.

SondreyTake My Time

I remember this song because it was the first pre-qualified entry we got to hear. He performed it in the weakest of the five semi-finals, and easily stood out as superior to anyone else. Now that we’ve heard all the other songs, he doesn’t stand out anymore. It’s a nice enough song and I enjoy watching the performance, it is just being compared to stronger songs now.

This might just reach the final, but it could also easily miss it. Around 7th to 12th in the semi-final brings it just on the edge. In the final, I don’t think, it will end up in the best half of the scoreboard.

Ulrikke BrandstorpAttention

Be prepared for Norway to be bookmaker favourite for quite a while with this one. When I look at previous winners like Arcade (The Netherlands 2019) and Rise Like A Phoenix (Austria 2014), I can see this one with a good chance of winning too – if this is what Europe wants this time. It’s always hard to predict – in particular with so few songs selected at this moment. So far, Norway will be in the lead with Ulrikke, but I am a bit hesitant to declare this a Eurovision winner simply because I doubt it can win after last year’s Arcade, but who knows.

The song will sail right into the final where it will finish in top 10, probably even top 5 – and it might just win.

Liza VassilievaI am Gay

I really enjoyed this song in the fifth Norwegian heat from last weekend, on the 8th of February. It knocked out the lovely We Are As One by Elin & The Woods. Liza won because of her charm, a happy song with an extremely catchy chorus and a message just to be yourself. I am hocked again because of that damn chorus, which I can’t get out of my head, but I recognise its weaknesses when it comes to Eurovision.

It’s not one of those songs that are strong enough to make it on their own – totally unlike the one we just heard from Ulrikke, but also the one from Rein Alexander. Liza’s result very much depends on the other songs. If there, for example, are too many power ballads in the semi-final, Norway will qualify with this one. If the other songs are strong, and with a good variety, this might be left behind. The same in the final – it all depends on if there are too many songs in the same style. One thing is sure; we are not going to see many songs like this – so it will stand out. If she qualifies, it can finish anything between 5th and last place in the final – it all depends on other songs, similar to each other, to steal points from each other – and leave Liza with enough to secure a good result.


After the duels in the five preliminary heats, Norway changed format for the final. The final consisted of three voting rounds, but only one duel. First the 10 songs was cut down to four, then to two and finally – one winner. Points was only given in the last round – and they represented each their part of the country. In order to vote in this final, you had to be logged in to NRK, and choose which part of Norway you come from.

Update: A peoples jury consisting of 30 people decided which four acts continued as first part of the voting. This was a plan B set in place by NRK if anything should go wrong. And it was needed to take in use as voting were down from 21.15 to 21.39. In the first of the five prior heats, voting also caused issues. Dropping televoting to rely completely on online voting has been challenging in Norway.

The five spokespeople are well known acts; four of them previously represented Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest. 

  • Margaret Berger (Norway 2013) – Representing Mid Norway
  • Tom Hugo Hermansen (Norway 2019) – Representing South Norway
  • Bjørn Johan Muri (National finalist from 2010) – Representing West Norway
  • Åge Sten Nilsen (Norway 2005) – Representing East Norway
  • Agnete Johnsen (Norway 2016) – Representing North Norway

After first round of voting, four acts proceeded to the ‘gold final’: Kristin Husøy, Ulrikke Brandstorp, Liza Vassilieva and Raylee.

After second round of voting, only two acts were left with the chance to represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest. They met in a socalled Gold duel: Kristin and Ulrikke.

And finally, it was time to decide the winner. Who will be heading to Rotterdam, the Netherlands?

Region Artist Points
South Norway Kristin 16.756
South Norway Ulrikke 19.854
Mid Norway Kristin 51.176
Mid Norway Ulrikke 21.770
East Norway Kristin 69.696
East Norway Ulrikke 102.663
West Norway Kristin 31.107
West Norway Ulrikke 38.906
North Norway Kristin 19.632
North Norway Ulrikke 17.153

Norway is taking part in the first semi-final on the 12th of May. They have been drawn into the second half. Neighbouring country Sweden is in the same semi-final. Other countries, in the same semi-final, that usually always do well are Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Australia.

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