Eagerly awaiting a decent betting opportunity to get stuck into this year, the rumours suggested Norway might be that golden nugget.
Their broadcaster, NRK, has presented this year’s lineup to the expectant media and by jove they didn’t disappoint: a 100% improvement on recent years, bearing in mind the last few years were terrible, but winners? Nope!
1. Charla K – Stop the Music
Charla’s Stop the Music is a perfectly nice, gentle pop-ballad that has the potential to look and sound quite slick on stage. It’s the sort of song Denmark voted for in 2012; Should’ve Known Better that only just scraped into the Eurovision final.
The 12s available at Betsafe is about right. Charla could definitely make the super-final, ultimately losing out to one of the catchier fan favourites.
2. Alejandro Fuentes – Tengo Otra
Just at the point when Spanish-language pop is in vogue, you can bet your life that Spain blindly misses every chance of success and continues to occupy the bottom-half of the Eurovision scoreboard. Even so, Norway would fail to qualify with this anodyne example of the genre.
Unibet have priced him joint second-favourite at 4.0, whereas Betsafe are boldly offering 10s. I think both firms can afford to add an extra zero to those odds!
3. Alexander Walmann – Talk To The Hand
I can’t work out if I’m on the wrong side of public opinion here, because all I can hear is lightweight pop. Talk To The Hand, Alex, because my face definitely ain’t listening! Maybe this will come alive in the arena, or maybe it’ll be overshadowed by the bolder, grab-you-by-the-balls pop later in the running order. I’m with the latter at the moment.
Betsafe are 5.75 for Walmann to represent Norway in Lisbon. Unibet are a more realistic 15s.
4. Stella Mwangi & Alexandra Rotan – You Got Me
Happy pill, anyone? This is where the Melodi Grand Prix national final kicks the chair of every half-asleep Norwegian struggling to stay away. The infectious, foot-tapping, Swingfly-esque arrangement could be incredibly popular provided Mwangi & Rotan are able to deliver it live and maintain vocal clarity during what will be a frenetic 3-minutes. You Got Me, though!
Betsafe have priced the duo at 5.75 with Unibet offering 5s. That’s about right at this point.
5. Vidar Villa – Moren Din
Time for a cool-down filler-song. Moren Din ticks the foot-tapping box popular in the Nordic regions, but it’s probably a tad too uneventful to standout. Vidar would need two or three favourites to fall to make the super-final. It’s not impossible, just unlikely.
Bookmakers are currently offering 8.5 and 20s.
6. Tom Hugo – I Like I Like I Like
Tom Hugo is an unfortunate example of a song not fitting the face singing it. It’s like the local school caretaker was given a song written for Basim. As a song, I Like I Like I Like is as much a non-event as Talk To The Hand.
It’s no surprise to see both Unibet and Betsafe price Hugo at over 30s.
7. Ida Maria – Scandilove
Ida’s Scandilove was available in preview form a week or so prior to Monday’s reveal, and while fun and playful in approach, I worry about its transition to the live stage. Ida’s vocals are fine, but it’s so easy for a song like this to have the energy sucked out of it with poor staging. Having said that, it’s a real fan favourite and surprisingly good value in the odds, given how memorable it is.
Unibet are 20s, while Betsafe are 17s.
8. Rebecca Thorsen – Who We Are
A fan who listened to the songs before release suggested Rebecca could win Eurovision with Who We Are. It has the positive feel of Erland Bratland’s Thunderstruck from 2015, which was, in my opinion, far superior. Both songs fit the lazy ‘it sounds Eurovision-y’ description, yet the Contest has moved on from these nauseating, feel-good Disney pop-ballads. In terms of production, it’s one of the better entries, but it’s far from being a certain winner.
Current prices range from 4.0-4.25.
9. Nicoline – Light Me Up
Regardless of your opinion on Rybak’s song, going right before the record-breaking Eurovision winner will likely make it incredibly difficult to standout. Nicoline sort of manages this on song alone, with Unibet’s 50s confirming my own suspicion that Light Me Up will fail to spark any sort of voting momentum to reach the super-final.
10. Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song
Strictly speaking, Rybak hasn’t fallen foul of Trade Descriptions here: he has written a song. Opinion on his contribution ranges from “it’s memorable” to “what effing hell was he thinking?” How much goodwill for Rybak still exists in Norway? Surely Norewgians can spot a dud in the same way Swedes rejected Loreen’s pontifical Statements. It will depend if the live version of this ego-driven, Love Love Peace Peace-wannabe pastiche can break from its démodé, Siegal-cum-Waterman mould. Add to that accusations of plagiarism from an old Anne Gadegaard song and it’s hard to see why NRK gave the song such prominence other than to garner cheap PR.
Unibet has Rybak favourite at 3s, with Betsafe slightly higher 4.25.
Provided the four-act super-final remains, and subject to a different running order, I would expect to see Charla-K, Mwangi & Rotan, Ida and Rebecca challenge for the win. That would result in an all-female super-final, which in the current political climate would probably be celebrated as a success. Back in the real world we probably need to allow for some good old-fashioned XY chromosomes, so one of Rybak/Walmann could replace one of the less well performed female acts.
All will become clear when we see staging photography from rehearsals.