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Norway: JOWST – Grab The Moment

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…
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No-way!

Should it make the final, it’s highly unlikely that the song will achieve anything outside of the right-hand side of the scoreboard.

User Rating: 2.91 ( 28 votes)

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?

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About PurpleKylie

New Zealander. INFP. Music lover. Wannabe-artist and critic. Travelbug. Man United fan. On a road to nowhere since 1988.

8 comments

  1. The fact this isn’t a bad choice tells you everything about the standard of mgp this year. Will struggle to qualify.

  2. This would be a clear NQ in the first half but it may stand a chance in the 2nd half, the fact it was picked late is a concern as I doubt they will have enough time to come up with a staging that take’s this song to another level.

  3. I’ve lost count of the number of new Eurovision songs I have heard today, so my observations about Grab The Moment need to prefaced with the caveat that I’m no longer thinking straight.

    That said, on three listens, I believe two stars for this is very harsh. It feels modern, it is risky (if you’re going to go down at least go down fighting!) and has got a strong chorus.

    I might wake up tomorrow and listen to the song again and think, ‘what a pile of shite’ but at least I’m off to bed tonight looking forward to hearing it again.

    I will end by voicing the opinion that while the songs unveiled today and earlier this week are mostly no-hopers in terms of winning Eurovision, they have signalled an upturn in both the quality and variety of what is going to be served up in Kiev.

  4. Here’s the resident Norway lover coming to say her piece!

    Meh. It’s competant, its inoffensive, its radio-friendly. That’s about it really. I do get what the international juries saw in it and it did win the televote fair and square, so I have to respect its chances. Can’t see this ending up anywhere near top ten though.

    The guys have told us in press that the chopped up vocal bit will be done live but sung slightly different, so it’ll be interesting how that turns out.

  5. Review written by yours truly is up 🙂

  6. I don’t invest time in the national finals for Eurovision apart from my own country (UK), and I loosely follow Melodifestivalen simply because it never fails to produce any big songs, so I found this article really interesting. Thank you! That being said when I heard this for the first time I really liked it and have it ranked #6 at the moment. I think the song will only continue to grow on me as well, but time of course will tell (excuse the unintended rhyming).

    However, I can see where you are coming from, that the song is quite “safe”, and has potential difficulty in performing live due to pre-recorded vocals. I think last year this song may have struggled, but there is a lot of progressive music this year (probably thanks to 1944) and something more simple like Grab The Moment therefore has better potential to flourish. Perhaps I am biased because I quite like the song, but I genuinely feel this is a certain qualifier, and whilst Norway may not mount too much challenge on the left-hand side of the board, I wouldn’t assign them to a bottom 5 finish because there are a few too many countries avoiding simplicity and something too tidy.

  7. Having had time to reflect – I think the strength of this song is the accessible chorus. The verses are less accessible. The staging (while it initially grabs your attention and has good lighting effects) with it’s three ‘consoles,’ is too static.

    • I take the opposite view. The first verse is promising but the chorus is a let down. Visually, the staging is clean and simple, and I agree that the lighting and the purple design makes it look distinct.

      On a side note, why is there always a song in ESC each year about hearing voices in your head? Am I the only one who doesn’t? 😛

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