Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package
Should it make the final, it’s highly unlikely that the song will achieve anything outside of the right-hand side of the scoreboard.
The least anticipated of this year’s Nordic finals is over, with JOWST winning Melodi Grand Prix 2017 and the chance to represent Norway in Kyiv.
JOWST will perform Grab The Moment in second half of semi-final 2 and will be hoping to get Norway’s top-10 record back on track.
In the past few months, NRK has been vocal about their ambitions to win the contest in the near future, and the return of an international jury in this year’s Melodi Grand Prix was a clear sign of their ambition. During the actual show, they kept reinstating the fact that Norway “needed Europe’s help to find a Eurovision winner”, and the show’s space-themed opening number repeatedly claimed that “we will be the best for the fourth time”.
It’s always admirable when a broadcaster has a winning ambition, and I have no doubt that this is genuine intent from NRK and not just empty promises. And usually when a broadcaster has a winning ambition, they eventually achieve it in the end; look at Russia in the 2000s and Denmark in the early 2010s for two examples. So it came as a big surprise to everyone when the songs for MGP 2017 were revealed and a lot of the ESCtips faithful (including me) had the initial feeling that a second consecutive non qualification was in fact a lot more likely than a fourth victory.
The big problem is with MGP’s musical director Jan Frederik Karlsen, who last year replaced the outgoing Vivi Stenberg (2013-15). He’s a massive Eurovision fan and I admire his boisterous enthusiasm for the job, but after a second successive year where MGP’s song quality has been extremely poor, it’s clear to me at least that he’s not the right man to find the song that will get Norway their fourth Eurovision victory.
But I digress, let’s get on with discussing this year’s Norwegian representative. This year’s winner JOWST came out of nowhere to win the hearts of both the international jury and the Norwegian public in an open final where there was no big pre-show favourite like a Margaret Berger or a Carl Espen to capture any momentum. The song itself is a very contemporary radio-friendly song, anyone who is familiar with NRK’s flagship youth radio station P3 will know that “Grab The Moment” would fit in perfectly on their playlists alongside the likes of Astrid S and Seeb.
That contemporary sound, plus the Daft Punk-esque stage show with the light-up masks, is a pretty easy guess as to why the international juries liked it so much compared to its competitors. It also has a very positive message that anyone listening can latch onto with ease. Frontman Alexander Walmann is a solid singer having been a runner up of The Voice of Norway 2012, and cuts a very effortless and relaxed figure on stage.
One major issue they have to face in Kyiv is the scrambled vocal segment after the chorus, as like most other Nordic finals, MGP uses those pesky pre-recorded backing vocals that are currently not allowed in Eurovision. But having spoken to the guys in the press scrum after the show, they’ve told us that they’re fully aware of the necessary change and that they plan to sing that segment live in a slightly different way to how it sounds in studio. They also plan to expand their stage show for May.
Another issue is that while it is a solid chart-friendly song, it’s also very safe. It takes no chances and doesn’t really achieve anything other than just being a positive song. Outside of the light-up masks, it lacks a real USP and the song itself doesn’t stick in the head as much as it needs to in an international competition where the first viewing is vital.
Norway are fortunate that they’re in the second half of what is widely considered to be the weaker semi-final. Depending on the running order and the songs/acts surrounding it, it could collect some support on account of it being a fairly likeable uptempo pop song, especially if the sound mix in Kyiv really makes the bass pop through the TV feed. Should it make the final, it’s highly unlikely that the song will achieve anything outside of the right-hand side of the scoreboard. Better luck next year, I suppose.
Can Norway grab the moment in Kyiv?