Three national finals take place on Saturday 20 February, but with 12 artists in the final, a history stretching back to 1960, and having produced three Eurovision winners, Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix is the biggest and most illustrious of Saturday’s group. One thing that the organisers will be hoping to avoid is the voting fiasco of last year when phone voting broke down for one segment of the final. Last year’s winner decided not to re-enter this year, but we do see the return of supergroup KEiiNO, winner of the public vote at Eurovision 2019.
Five semi-finals and a wild card show have whittled 26 songs down to the final 12, using a somewhat idiosyncratic method of selection within the semi-finals (4 artists competed in 2 duels with the winners going to a “golden duel” and the winner of that proceeding to the final). Unlike many national finals, there will be no votes given by a jury, with winner determined by a 100% public vote.
The final begins at 6.55pm and is available to watch via broadcaster NRK’s website.
My favourite, the (fan) favourite and returning artist: KEiiNO “Monument”
KEiiNO famously took part in the 2019 contest, winning the public vote in the grand final and finishing sixth overall with their song “Spirit in the Sky” (one of my 2019 favourites). The supergroup have not rested since their Eurovision success and have released a string of singles and an album in the past two years. They’ve been keen to make a quick return to Eurovision and they’ve certainly put themselves in a good position with this strong song that features strong vocals from Alexandra and, of course, some joiking. Although the eurofans are loving this, I’m not sure it has quite the same public appeal as “Spirit” though could be more jury friendly. They’ve got tough competition though so there is no guarantee. For my part, they would be my preferred choice to represent Norway again.
The challenger and chart success: TIX “Fallen Angel”
KEiiNO’s toughest challenge will probably come from the very popular TIX. His song has been riding high in the various Norwegian charts, and suggests he has a lot of popular support. One big caveat though is that both the chart single and the performance he gave as the interval act in one of the semis (like KEiiNO he had had a pass to the final) is in Norwegian, whereas he will be singing an English. If he wins the public vote, then it will be a fair win, but it wouldn’t be my choice to go to Rotterdam.