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Norway: MGP 2018 Lineup Unveiled

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.

Conclusion:

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.

About Gavster

Owner & Chief Editor   I’m a qualified designer and the official geek in the crew, dedicating most of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

13 comments

  1. Catriona colville

    Tengo Otra is the only bad song. But nothing stands out to me. Alexander, Rebecca, Stella & Alexandra and Ida all have solid songs. I hate Nicoline’s song, but I hate that kind of music in general. It’s basically budget Margaret, but that kind of music is loved among a certain section of the fanbase. Rybak’s song is better than I expected. Quite catchy, but unlikely to threaten.

    I’d say it’s between Nicoline, Rebecca and Ida, but it’s very hard to call, and there is plenty of room for dodgy vocals.

  2. Another poor selection for me.A couple of decent songs,but i wont risk a dime backing them because i have no faith yet that they can deliver live.Hope remains if they can,but its just hope for now.
    Rybak’s song doesnt even deserve a mention really,its utter rubbish.70s disco funk bands would roll around laughing.Disco funk melody with a bridge just to get his violin out.Hmm ok.
    I hope Stella does well though,she was robbed at ESC.

  3. Totally respectful of you’re opinion Gav but from my perspective I don’t see how this is a huge improvement on the last few years? None of these seem to have the ability to reach top 10 and I personally think only Rebecca and potentially Rybak ( not great but stands out a mile and with a second half draw who knows) can be confident of qualifying, the rest would be borderline at best.

  4. Eh… I love Stop the Music. Who We are is fine as well 🙂

  5. Rybak’s song is shite. It sounds like the whole concept was lifted straight off of Love Love Peace Peace. Knowing the way Norway tends to vote in MGP though, I don’t think they’re going to gravitate to him just because of who he is.

    Stella and Alexandra’s song is a real treat, both free to do what they do best. It sounds like it belongs in a musical but it still sounds fresh and a bit tongue-in-cheek. I’d love this to go to Lisbon, I’ve maintained a real soft spot for Stella since 2011.

    I like Alexander Wallmann’s entry as well, JOWST is a solid writer and producer, but I don’t think they’ll win it two on the trot.

    Rebecca’s song is interesting as well, written by Morland from 2015, but it’s a bit too little too late after a promising start.

    I haven’t heard Vidar Villa’s entry yet, it’s not working on Spotify for me. Charla K’s song is nice. The rhythms are a bit all over the place a la Icebreaker but nowhere near as jarring or blunt. ‘Scandilove’ gave me a giggle as well but unless the staging is a bit mad I can’t see that contending for the ticket.

    It seems quite an open contest. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

  6. It was first listen and 10 songs is quite a large field, but that said, for most of the songs I was struggling to get to 3 minutes. There were only three that I wanted to listen to again. I’m not sure about Alexander Rybak’s song – it feels dated rather than retro – but I’d imagine he’ll sell it live. Aleksander Wallman’s number has some merit but feels under-produced. Nicoline’s has an accessible chorus. The song didn’t improve on second listen though and I wonder if the repeated smoking references might put some people off.

    In a field of mediocrity, it’s possible that the novelty song Scandilove might sneak through if it is staged well. It has a bit of a Love Love Peace Peace vibe about it. It would probably flop at ESC though. Even Ida’ s recorded vocal wasn’t the best. God knows what she’ll sound like live.

  7. Anyone knows if there will be a jury involved? I’ve asked NRK, but they’re not really responsive.

    • It would be dangerous not to given the voting strength of Rybak. One has to hope viewers see his song for what it is!

      • Catriona colville

        I think they’ll see it as a fan, catchy song with broad appeal that will likely be their best bet at Eurovision.

    • MGP usually announces a 4-strong super final and has regional juries and then they bolt on the televote at the end. I imagine the way they calculate the super-final uses a similar mechanism to the following;

      It’s not exactly 50/50, I think it’s something like 2000, 4000, 8000, 12000 points from each jury and then they add on the raw numbers of how many calls/texts each act received from the televote. This means the area including Oslo tends to have the biggest impact on the vote due to the higher population. I think there was maybe one year they tried it with just a televote but I can’t remember which.

  8. 50/50 international jury and televote,then 100% televote super final of 4.Is Norway going to do an Eesti laul?.The jury should keep Rybak out of the super final,but if they are ESC sycophants will they?.Sitting on my hands on this one i think for now.

  9. Ok so I just listened to Moren din from the Youtube link on this page and…

    Well let’s just say you need to turn on the subtitles to see why this could sneak into the superfinal.

  10. Just caught up on all things MGP.

    Tough one to call. There’s a couple of acts who can absolutely win if they can jump the jury hurdle and make the Super final. Scandilove is a good bop, and is a pretty well written novelty song as novelty songs go. That’s How Not to Write a Song is quite fun too, but you do get the sense that Rybak is there to serve a purpose, with that purpose being to boost the ratings than to actually win the whole thing.

    Elsewhere, Aleksander has a half-decent entry there, but I’d echo Ben by saying that 2 on the trot would be a stretch. Not much to say about the others until we see how they look on stage.

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