So this Melodi Grand Prix thing? It’s Norway’s annual contest to select its Eurovision entry for that year.
What date is it happening? Date? Singular? No. This is Scandinavia. It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s January. Let’s have six dates’ worth of primetime television entertaiment. Five heats and a final. With the first heat taking place this evening, and then every Saturday, before the grand final is broadcast on February 20th.
How many songs in each heat? Each of the five heats will have four songs, with only one progressing to the final. There, they will join six pre-qualified songs.
Why does the final have six pre-qualified songs? Have you seen the Fire Saga movie on Netflix? Well just like in Iceland, Norway has elves with a vested interest in Eurovision success for their nation. They threatened that if these six artists weren’t guaranteed a place in the final, bad things would happen.
So we get six pre-qualified songs, and five songs making their way to the final from each heat? Precisely! Though we will also get another song, too, to make it a neat 12. After the fifth and final heat, Norwegian viewers will be able to vote for a wildcard finalist – a song that didn’t make the final from its heat.
When can we hear the songs? The songs from the heats get released on the Monday before each heat. On Monday this week, we got the four songs from heat one, for example – and you can check them out below.
And the pre-qualified songs – when do they get released? The six finalists will be released one by one, week by week, on the Friday before each heat. And in each week’s heat, said finalist will also perform, non-competitively. So yesterday, we got the first finalist and they will perform on the show tonight. Although actually we got two, because there are six pre-qualified finalists and only five heats. But from next week, it will be one per week.
This is all wonderful. How do I watch? It is wonderful! And you should watch. You can do so at 19.50 CET at www.nrk.no/mgp – wherever you are in the world.
Ok great! And actually, it would be nice to check out the songs beforehand. We have you covered. Check out the songs you’ll see tonight, below. And check back here on Monday for next week’s Heat 2 tunes.
THE FOUR SONGS OF HEAT ONE
Stina Talling: Elevate
(Bård Mathias Bonsaksen, Hilda Stenmalm, Stina Talling, Eirik Hella, Monika Engeseth)
The contemporary pop ballad that many other nations around Europe would deem suitable enough to represent them at Eurovision without the faff of holding a six-week national final. Not Norway.
Blåsemafian: Let Loose
(Jørgen Lund Karlsen, Sigurd Evensen, Stig Espen Hundsnes, Benjamin Sefring, Caroline Teigen)
Brassy dance-pop that will serve as an enjoyable highlight of televisual entertainment tonight, but probably won’t be viewed as anything seriously competitive.
Beady Belle: Playing With Fire
Something alternative to tick that particular box, this is a perfectly pleasant entry to the contest, but alas won’t be anything more than that beyond tonight.
Jorn: Faith Bloody Faith
(Åge Sten Nilsen, Jørn Lande, Eirik Renton, Kjell Åge Karlsen)
Ludicrous faux-metal given a Nordic twist, a Scandinavian shake, and mercifully hammered away at to fit into a schlager mold. Done so effectively, that this is actually the entry that most pop fans are hoping makes the final. It’s a funny old world, this Norwegian Eurovision selection process.
THE SIX PRE-QUALIFIED FINALISTS
(Tom Hugo Hermansen, Alexander Nyborg Olsson, Fred Buljo, Alexandra Rotan, Rüdiger Schramm)
Bonafide pop titans – the last time Norway sent this lot to Eurovision, two years ago, they went and WON the televote in the final. Those boring old juries marked them down enough for Norway to ultimately finish in 6th place, however. And so the popular trio are back for another shot, and are out to win the whole thing. Many fans already believe they can. And the song itself literally sounds like the band summoning the Norse gods – all of them – to help them out with achieving this feat.
TIX: Ut Av Mørket
TIX was the big streaming success of 2020 in Norway – lifting his nation out of gloom with an endless repertoire of banging tunes that were one measure Markoolio, and two measures Samir & Viktor. In that sense, it’s quite the achievement for broadcaster NRK to have bagged him for Melodi Grand Prix. And while the Norwegians won’t dream of sending such a localised in-joke to Eurovision, they will be very happy to see him on stage in that final. He’s gonna put bums on seats. Well – on sofas, at home. Cos COVID.
Atle Pettersen: World On Fire
(Atle Pettersen, Jesper Borgen, Magnus Clausen, Alexander Pavelich, Peter Daniel Newman)
(Tommy Fredvang, Lars Horn Lavik, Robin Sharma, Glenn Lyse)
Kaja Rode: Feel Again
(Magnus Martinsen, Mirjam Johanne Omdal, Andreas Gjone, Erika Dahlen)
Rein Alexander: Eyes Wide Open
(Rein Alexander Korshamn, Christian Ingebrigtsen, Kjetil Mørland)