Just outside the “medal placing” is a country I placed very low in my rankings last year, but has completely turned it around this year (for me anyway!) Three-times winners Norway win the prize for top Nordic country this year. Their entry this year has Eurovision written all over it (and in a good way!) but will supergroup KEiiNO‘s popularity in the fandom be reflected in a good result at the actual contest?
Norway’s long running national selection show, Melodi Grand Prix, reached its 57th edition and 59th year this year. It was a slightly overly convoluted final, given there were 10 finalists, there were still 3 stages of voting/progression as finalists were reduced to a final two. Given KeiiNO were by far and away my favourites, it led to a few nervous moments for me but in the end they actually won relatively comfortably with “Spirit in the Sky”.
As mentioned, KeiiNO are a “supergroup” – with the three members all having their own previous/current musical careers. They are Tom Hugo; Alexandra Rotan (who was in Melodi Grand Prix in 2018 with a duet with Stella Mwangi, Norway’s 2012 contest entry), and Fred Buljo who is Sami, a member of a Sami rap group and has also been an MP in the Sami Parliament of Norway.
So as suggested from the presence Fred Buljo, there is a Sami influence in this – and in fact, the whole song and production is very “northern lights”. It’s a big slice of cheesy electronic dance pop – catchy, danceable – and it has joiking in the middle of it. The message of the song is all about equality and equal rights.
It’s proving a fan favourite – particularly among UK fans. They got the biggest reaction of the night at London Eurovision Party, topped the voting at the pre-contest Eurofest at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and also came top in the UK voting of the OGAE International poll. Now there is a possibility that this might be considered that dreaded word “fanw*nk” but I think their live vocal is great, it’s upbeat and you have neighbours in their semi-final and also UK and Ireland who will go for this. I will admit I do have a fear this could suffer the fate of that great fanw*nk from a couple of years ago, Estonia’s “Lost in Verona” which failed to qualify. It’s not a Eurovision winner I think – the juries will probably see to that even if the televoters don’t. But whatever the result, it already feels like a Eurovision classic.
Official music video:
National final performance:
My preview video:
Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1960
Appearances (excluding this year): 57
Best result: Winner 1985, 1995, 2009
Last year’s result: 15th