The second-highest Scandinavian country in my countdown this year, Norway has carved out a great run of success in Eurovision of late. Since 2004, they have only failed to qualify for the final on three occasions and they have nine top 10 finishes in that period, including one win. It’s a far cry from the days of nul points Norway. Up next to keep the Norwegian success going is Alessandra.
Alessandra Mele is, as you might guess, half-Italian, and actually lived all her life in Italy until just two years ago before moving to Norway. She took part in Norway’s The Voice in 2022 and entered Melodi Grand Prix, Norwegian’s national selection, this year with “Queen of Kings” which she co-wrote and co-composed. She said that her experiences as a bisexual woman influenced the creation of the song, and it marched to victory at the national final. It’s a big anthemic Nordic EDM pop track that is all very gloriously Eurovision.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t on board the hype train that most of the fandom seemed to be when this won MGP. Of course, many of them then hopped on board the Sweden hype train, but it still has a lot of fans, and I’ve got to like this a lot more. I’m not at that “omg this is the best thing ever” stage many got themselves into, but I do appreciate this is a really good entry and all the better that she’s clearly been involved in its production rather than being another Scandinavian-factory produced song. She also seems to be quite a fun character and I think that’s also won me over more than the national final performance did.
“Queen of Kings” will be the very first song of Eurovision 2023 as it opens the first semi-final. It’s a real honour and sign of confidence from producers, though it does not always guarantee qualification by any means. I don’t think we need worry for Alessandra though – unless she has some Ronela-style disaster with the staging (extremely unlikely) this will get to the final and could well have an impact on the winner. Alessandra might herself have an outside chance of the win, but perhaps more likely the televote (and perhaps some jury vote) that she might receive, might impact on Sweden and preventing a landslide or a Swedish win at all. Whatever that impact though, this will surely bring Norway another good result.
PS. It’s great to see an Italian-speaking woman in the contest – Alessandra recorded an Italian language of Queen of Kings and it is fantastic. Do check it out.
Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1960
Appearances (excluding this year): 60
Best result: Winner 1957, 1959, 1969, 1975
Last year’s result: 10th