Only 7 songs into the countdown, and we’re already hitting our second Nordic country. Norway, while famous for receiving more last places and nil points than any other country, are three-times winners and in recent years, make regular appearances in the top 10 at the contest. And it’s one of those winners who makes a return this year – Alexander Rybak won in 2009 by a colossal margin with “Fairytale”. Will it be a fairytale return for him this year?
Returning artists have had mixed fortunes when making a return to the contest, especially when it comes to those who have been previous winners. Johnny Logan made a triumphant return in 1987, winning the contest for a second time; Dana International however, crashed out badly at the semi-final stage on her return in 2011. With his huge win in 2009, it’s a risk that anything other a high placing would be a disappointment.
Alexander is still well known for his 2009 win though and there is no doubt he knows how to give a confident vocal and performance on such a big stage. His song this year is also insidious in its catchiness – that alone plus name recognition could ensure a decent result.
As you might have gathered from its lowly position on my countdown, it’s not found favour with me. It feels almost cynical in the way it’s been composed and written, imitating “Love Love Peace Peace” but without the humour and charm. Alexander himself comes across smug and smirky rather than cheeky chappy and it it infuriates me that this won the Norwegian final over at least two or three much better entries (in my view). Nonetheless, I am sure I will be dancing along to this with the rest of the crowd in Lisbon – even if it will grate that I am doing so!
Official music video:
Live performance at Norwegian national final (Melodi Grand Prix):
Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest:
First entered: 1960
Appearances (excluding this year): 56
Best result: Winner 1985, 1995, 2009
Last year’s result: 10th