Bærum, 29 January 2022

Tonight, the third heat of Norway’s anticipated selection show, Melodi Grand Prix will air! During this live show, four acts will compete in a series of duels, with one qualifier reaching the finale on 19 February.

Naturally, we at ESCUnited wanted to get in our reviews of the four hopefuls before the live performances screw up our hopes, dreams and expectations. Buckle-up for 28 spittle-flecked rants on Mari Bølla, Sturla, VILDE and Oda Gondrosen.

On today’s review panel we find:

  • Boris Meersman, a self-proclaimed article gremlin and fan blogger from Belgium
  • David Popescu, our Discord Admin doubling as a correspondent for Denmark and Romenia
  • James Maude, an exiled British Rock fan currently residing in California, where he writes about all things JESC.
  • Roy Postema, a part-time Youtuber and full-time (unintentional) United Sex Symbol, from the Netherlands
  • Stefan Resimic, our Serbian contact and a fan of all things that are bops and bangers
  • Tyler Griffiths, our Alaskan correspondent who can see Russia from his window
  • William Carter, our Texan supersleuth, always on the look out for fun facts to share

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the reviews are those of the person making the statement, and not of ESCUnited as a whole, nor of Matt or Sean. If you take umbrage at what will be written below, take it up with the person who said it, but be aware he may hold the right to ignore you forevermore <3

AUTOQUALIFIER SHOWCASE – NorthKid

Each MGP live show will feature a live showcasing of one of the finalists. This week, the featured finalist are NorthKid, a popular boyband from the very north of Norway. They will be filling in for Subwoolfer, who are in quarantine after one of them caught a certain Greek letter. Because of the way the autoqualifiers are being revealed during MGP, with Anna-Lisa Kumoji being showcased during the Second Chance round (Heat 5), the Autoqualifier reviews and scores will be published on the day of the Second Chance Round (Heat five) on 12 February. NorthKid’s scores have been collected already however, to ensure that every Autoqualifier is rated fairly and equally.

And now, for the actual reviews:

 

Boris – 7 

“O hej, Olivia’s having a go at Melodi Grand Prix. This bland selection suits her…x Credit to Mari though – she easily could have went full-on Hannah Montana (or Mari Sassari w/e) and delivered safe disney poprock, but instead chose to pepper her verses with hilarious rap breaks, making this song markedly better than the ‘Good for you‘ it was based on. Keep on losing BOREdrigo…x”

David – 4

“What is this? Pop? Rock? Rap? Anyhow, for some reason I do get some Kelly Clarkson vibes, but far from as good. There might be too much cramped into the song that’s just too short to handle so much. I don’t wanna say it’s poor, but it’s neither great, very simplistic and average. In the end, not my loss, I guess.”

James – 7

“Good news! It sounds like the modern take on pop punk doing the rounds. It’s your standard female self-empowerment while telling some wally ex to piss off anthem, but with that upbeat mall pop punk sheen. Bad news! It’s just sheen. Remove the guitar and it doesn’t alter the song one bit. Mari’s vocal parts are great, and we shall see if she can transition that attitude into a compelling stage show with some mean girl choreography and a lot of neon colors. For some reason I doubt it.”

Roy – 5

“Okay, what is happening, my brain cannot keep up. There is a few parts that are quite good and fun, but also a lot that aren’t good or perhaps a bit dated. I do love the chorus and especially how we roll into it. Overall, this song just leaves me confused and I think they would have bene better off going for one direction rather than trying to combine everything.”

Stefan – 7

“High School Musical/Camp Rock/Disney channel ALERT!!! I’m having an overdose of déja vu, but can’t just figure this song out. Love the bridge, the chords not so much. Thumbs up for the load of positive energy, though!”

Tyler – 7.5

“”Your Loss” gives me mid-to-late 2000s Avril vibes, which could be good if she’s one of your all-time faves, but also shows it’s kind of outdated. “Your Loss” tries to update itself with the instrumentation though, and it kinda succeeds. Mari could give a good performance with this song, and I wasn’t unimpressed with her vocals here, so she totally could. This song is overall good, not quite original, but I can overlook that if I enjoy it.”

William – 5.5

“This is just fun. If I’m being totally honest, there’s more than a hint of “Bang Bang” here, most pronounced in the backing beat and during the rap section.  But moving past that, the song is a welcome blast of upbeat energy. I can imagine this will be a lot of fun on stage, and it’s going to stand out. There’s nothing else competing at MGP this year quite like it. Ultimately, I don’t think this one is a winner, but it’s an exciting debut entry and hopefully a sign of better things to come from her in the future.”

Total Score: 42/70
Highest: 7.5 (Tyler)
Lowest: 4 (David)
Average: 6.0

 

 

Boris – 6.5

“The title of this song is so Scandinavian I’m half expecting it to don a helmet and put banana on pizza. Sadly, ‘Hammer of Thor‘ is so quintessentially MGP 2022 as well: It hinges entirely on a lazy, underutilized gimmick that barely distracts from this repetitive and somewhat poorly written scandipop anthem. Still, I’ve come to ironically embrace ‘HoT ‘for its inherent lameness. DID YOU KNOW Oda stole the Hammer of Thor? Stole the Hammer of Thor! She stole the Hammer of Thor! They (whoever “they” are) think they won the war, but watch out! Oda stole the Hammer of Thor. It’s no longer in the hands of Thor!!!! The ‘Circle of Light‘ tease of it all mild <3″

David – 4

“Here we go, the Viking anthem of the year. Very boring actually, I would expect that the music would be more intense than the vocalist, not the other way around. I also don’t think Thor would approve of this song either, anyhow, I just wish there was more energy from the music, cause I feel left empty.”

James – 5

“Good news! This sounds like it could only come out of Norway, even if it is in English. Bad news (or good news, depending on your viewpoint)! It’s so typical of New Age that it can sound simultaneously silly and boring? The lyrics are repetitive to the point where it is unclear what this is about – is it a riff on a classic Norse legend, a metaphor on stealing power from males in power? The track feels like an intro to a Viking metal track, in that at the three-minute mark we expect a group like Tyr to step in and explain how Oda steals Thor’s hammer from Thor. As a standalone track, I am not convinced.”

Roy – 5

“The song of 2 faces. It starts really mysterious and epic. You get sucked in immediately and are curious what will happen next. Cue to the amazing shouts!! But then… This chorus… Is probably the biggest anti-climax of the season so far. You think the song will be epic throughout but the chorus is just boringly repeating the same lyric…. Such a shame, because this had so much potential to be epic and amazing…”

Stefan – 8

“As many others, I also would love for this to have been sung in Norwegian. It’s magical, mystical, powerful and I’m guessing it will have an amazing performance. The only way how it could’ve been even better is that she sang how she stole Jonathan. Only a true Marvel fan will understand this.”

Tyler – 8.5

“I wonder if Oda stole Mjolnir? The lyrics are repetitive, yes, but also I don’t care because “Hammer of Thor” is such a fun song. A mortal woman committing robbery to take back control from the gods? Yes please! I can’t wait for the staging, as this has potential to be a fun trainwreck that will be at the top of my year-end NF faves. Oda seems to be having fun singing the song just as much as I am listening, so can’t wait to see this live. Great song!”

William – 5

“This is the kind of absurdity I’m looking for out of MGP. It’s definitely scratching that Rein Alexander-itch. I can only imagine how nuts this staging is going to be. I just wish there was a little more creativity in the songwriting. The song gets very repetitive after the first minute or so, and the ending is abrupt.  The mood-setting and spirit is there, but it reads like everyone involved ran out of ideas? Just make it 90 seconds long, then. Why not? Don’t drag it out. I have affection for this. I just wish it was a little better.”

Total Score: 42/70
Highest: 8.5 (Tyler)
Lowest: 4 (David)
Average: 6.0

Boris – 5

“An anonimous attempt at synthpop that fails to provide an enticing hook or even a memorable melody. It’s toothless, and brings us to the opinion purgatory of “Not good, not bad and definitely not interesting.”

David – 5

“This is actually a sweet attempt. Well produced, great build up and meaningful lyrics. It’s actually a sweet melody, and I was quite surprised that it ended so fast as it did. I feel it could’ve gone further and had a bombastic ending, rather than just ending as it does.”

James – 2

“A sad diddums with a poor little broken heart song. Go away.”

Roy – 7

“This has some potential! I get that this might get a bit lost in the shuffle when you put it in a big batch of songs. The good thing for Skurla is that he only needs to be compared to 1 opponent at a time. And honestly, this song is well written and quite cohesive. It has some good potential for a good live-performance too. I feel like this could be a song that sneaks under the radar and then goes in for the kill on the night! It is very streamable too, yeah I quite like this one!”

Stefan – 5

“Only two and a half minutes? He does know for the time limit? Anyway, I wasn’t charmed. Just another radio friendly song. How I would’ve liked Oda’s song to be in Norwegian, I would’ve liked this to be in English. I’m sorry to say but, for me, there’s nothing special here.”

Tyler – 6.5

“”Skår i hjerte” is a pretty inoffensive song to me–it’s cute, but also too short for my liking. I can’t really gain an attachment to this song since it comes in quickly and then leaves before I start to feel into it. I want to like the song more for it being in Norwegian, but not when it drops after 2:30. Makes me wonder if another verse got cut or something. Notwithstanding the shortness of the song, it’s fine! Sturla is fine! That’s it though.”

William – 7

“This song is a vibe. The airy vocal, the swoony melody, the Norwegian-language lyrics… they all combine to create something truly refreshing and mellow. If Sturla can deliver this live, this performance could be a real moment. It’s low-key without being inert, understated without being anonymous.  It’s the kind of song that can just wash over you, if you let it. I don’t see this as the winner. I’m not even sure I see it making it out of the semi-finals. But I’m happy it’s here to be a breath of fresh air. I’m rooting for this one. Fingers crossed.”

Total Score: 37.5/70
Highest: 7 (Roy, William)
Lowest: 2 (James)
Average: 5.4

 

Boris – 4

“Ugh, this overproduced Melfest Andra Chansen Flop excuse of a song. “Titans” is the sort of supercilious ‘self-empowerment pop’ (emphasis on ‘self‘ and definitely not on ‘empowerment‘) that has ZERO identity of its own but ticks off all the cliché boxes as it smugly expects qualification to be handed to it on a silver platter. I f’cking hope Mari crushes Vilda Ajax into paste during the Gold Duel.”

David – 5

This is probably the kind of song, that I should enjoy, but can’t stop feeling like I’ve heard it so many times before, powerful female vocalist, hard hitting instrumental, all great combined, and yet… I feel it’s nothing out of the ordinary. There is potential, but a shame it needs to be carried outside the song.

James – 3

“A Norwegian with mockney lyrics, with the chants in the chorus ending with the questioning “yeah?” I am not a fan of her vocals, though her lyricist is as she gets Vilde to rhyme siren with diamond, with lion and with titan. Cliches abound, and the fake gospel choir is horrid. Can Europeans please stop using gospel choir type vocals in their own personal pump-up self-empowerment mixes?”

Roy – 7.5

“I think this should easily be the choice for Norway in this semi-final! This will be really solid live and in such a mediocre heat, it should have no problems going through! Now is it the best song of the selection? No! That is also why I couldn’t give it a higher grade, but out of these songs, this is just THE option! It reminds me of a song who would go DTF in Melodifestivalen. Just some lovely scandipop!”

Stefan – 4

“I don’t want to say it, but, meh… It is very well produced and I also expect an amazing performance, but it won’t be enough to overcome the fact that the song is just average. It just sounds like any other song that you hear these days. I don’t see or hear anything that could make it stand out.”

Tyler – 7.5

While I don’t like “Titans” trotting out tired similes, I can’t help but think this could work really well on the stage and presentation. “Titans” is a bit of a tired inspirational song, but the music also works for me towards the end. Gives me “Icebreaker” songs, one of my favorite robbed NQ songs ever. Vilde sings the lyrics well too, so she might not flub the live. I’m conflicted because while I roll my eyes at parts of the song, it’s also just fun to listen to and enjoyable at the same time. Fast food music, perhaps?

William – 4

“There’s a pretty clear Sia-influence here, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sia has composed some modern pop classics. ‘Titans’ itself is a decent pop track, well-sung, if a little familiar.  Now that prerecorded backing vocals are here to stay, at least for now, I fear we’re going to hear a lot of Eurovision hopefuls pumping in gospel choirs as a cheap and easy way to evoke epic emotion and import. It’s a crutch, and we’ve heard it a million times before. I’m not saying an artist can never do it again, but maybe let’s give it a few years.”

Total Score: 35/70
Highest: 7.5 (Roy, Tyler)
Lowest: 3 (James)
Average: 5.0

MGP Ranking Week 3:

For the first time, we have a Tie: Both Mari and Oda received a score of 42, meaning that #TeamUnited would prefer one of them to win the semi. Since ties are broken by the highest median score, the median 6/10 for Mari makes her this week’s canonical winner of our editor poll.

  1. Lily Löwe – “Bad baby” (84%)
  2. Daniel Lukas – “Kvelertak” (65%)
  3. Elsie Bay – “Death of us” (TBA)
  4. Mari Bølla – “Your loss” (60%) (Median: 6)
  5. Oda Gondrosen – “Hammer of Thor” (60%) (Median: 5)
  6. Farida – “Dangerous” (59%)
  7. Frode Vassel – “Black flowers” (55%)
  8. Sturla – “Skår i hjerte” (54%)
  9. Mira Craig – “We still here” (53%) (Median score: 6)
  10. Steffen Jakobsen – “With me tonight” (53%) (Median score: 4.5)
  11. VILDE – “Titans” (50%)
  12. Eline Noelia – “Ecstasy” (49%)
  13. TrollfesT – “Dance like a pink flamingo” (48%)
  14. NorthKid – “Someone” (TBA)
  15. Christian Ingebrigtsen – “Wonder of the world (TBA)

Ties are broken by looking at the median score. 

For a comprehensive visual overview of which act competes in which heat, consult this chart:

Do #YOU agree with our panel? Who is #YOUR favourite in the third Dolphin final? Let us know in the comments, on social media or on our forum HERE. Alternatively, join the discussion on our Discord HERE

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. […] 1 HEAT 2 HEAT 3 HEAT […]

  2. […] Before the show last night, a Team ESC United panel of experts weighed in on the songs in this delfinale and collectively selected the song we thought should advance. Did we get it right or did we just embarrass ourselves?? Find out here. […]

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