Bærum, 5 February 2022

Tonight, the fourth 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 Maria Mohn, Kim Wigaard, Sofie Fellvjang and Alexandra Joner.

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 – Subwoolfer

Each MGP live show will feature a live showcasing of one of the finalists. This week, the featured finalist are Subwoolfer, the Ylvis-inspired sensation in lupine spandex costumes.  As you know, Subwoolfer were set to showcase last week but one of the two caught a Greek letter and had to sit out. 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. Subwoolfer’s scores have been collected already however, to ensure that each Autoqualifier is rated on equal, studio-based footing.

And now, for the actual reviews:

Boris – 4

“This Latin-Pop-For-Dummies vehicle. ‘Hasta la vista‘ is about as innovative as ‘The Wheels On The Bus’.  I would normally loathe it in Melfest, where it would be performed by Méndez and then quality for the Final through AC for reasons that defy comprehension (ie: male privilege + horrible scandi taste). Here however it’s performed by a random influencer wench, so it will NQ and then fail to get picked as a wildcard for Heat 5, so I really can’t be bothered wasting my Angry Man Logic on her. At least her time out here helps Alexandra’s future Instagram modelling career. ”

 

David – 6

“Alright… I do like me some Latino inspired music, and that accordion really sells it for me as well, but I’m also so damn tired of these songs. They are all similar, all sound the same and yet… it still works. It’s a colorful, full of life and summer happy sound. I’m sick of all these Latino clones, but I can’t help enjoying most of them. I enjoy this, but it’s nothing new, so it’s gonna get old fast.”

James – 6

“Alexandra’s Dad is well known for arranging and conducting a salsa version of the opening movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and Alexandra herself tries to bridge her ancenstral homeland of Cuba and the pop music of Scandinavia. She does so better than the clunky cacophony of Hurricane’s “Hasta La Vista, Baby” (Serbia’s entry for the doomed Eurovision 2020), but only to the degree that the confines of Scandipop allow. Chanel’s “SloMo” didn’t impress too much as a studio cut, so much depends on Alexandra pulling out all the stops for staging. And those knitted bras and denim chaps from her video for this song won’t cut it.”

Roy – 3

“They tried to make this a fun latino-inspired song while still making it sound Scandinavian somehow. Aaaaand, it just is not working for me… The lyrics aren’t very imaginative and inspiring either.. There just isn’t that much to get excited about for me here if I’m honest..”

Stefan – 7.5

“If you thought that this would be anything else than a Latino banger (well sort of), get out of here! Yes, it does need some kind of explosion, but we did get it in last chorus. Is it good? Yes. Can it be better? Yes. Do I like it? Yes. Will I listen to it again? Not so sure.”

Tyler –  8

“Loving the Latin vibes from this song! “Hasta la vista” is cliché to me as a song title, but Alexandra handles the song well in my opinion, and I can definitely see this winning the heat it’s in. Of course, as long as it doesn’t become a trainwreck onstage, which is also a possibility. The lyrics are fine despite the “Hasta la vista” title, but all in all, I quite like this song.”

William – 7.5

“OK. Can I admit this maybe isn’t the most innovative or creatively thrilling song in the competition? Yes. Is this the 17th song called ‘Hasta La Vista’ we’ve been subjected to during a Eurovision season? You know it is. But what can I say? The second the Spanish accordion sound began, I was hooked.  There’s a refreshing earthiness and vitality to that sound. This music track feels lived-in, if that makes sense, like a melody that’s been passed down over generations. Sure, the lyrics are a little expected. But, musically, this is going to stand out in a big way. ”

Total Score: 42/70
Highest: 8 (Tyler)
Lowest: 3 (Roy)
Average: 6.0

 

Boris – 5

LAAAA MELODIA DEL DESTIIIIINOOOOOO. My brain is hemorrhaging itself by trying to process this song. ‘La Melodia‘ is odious, a charity monstruosity of the sort I should hate with the ardence of a thousand Elenii, but then… the cheesy opera chorus, the stilted Italian catchphrases, the ‘LA LA LA’s, the f’cking ‘I Am Queer Have No Fear’ness of the bridge, there are pictures out there of Kim wearing a massive golden tuxedo dress like an even more flamboyant ‘It’s my life’ …. Iconic? Iconically bad, for sure, but maybe in an ironically good sort of way? I cannot decide this without a live performance, so I’ll give it the cop-out score of 5/10.”

David – 6

“Would this go under power ballad? Anyhow, it feels more like a vocal showcase, which can get bothersome, but even the instrumental bits have their moments. Great build-up, both instrumentally and vocally, but also quite cheesy. The slow classical start did almost lose me, but caught me just in time to keep me interested.”

James – 8

“Wigaard is making a play for the pop opera segment. Unfortunately, he is doomed as he lives in Europe and not Miami, where this sort of thing brings out the punters in droves. There’s a few moments where “La melodia” could collapse into farce – the “la la la”, the frantic burst of Italian lyrics in the chorus, the key change you can hear arriving from Miami – and only one or two do. Instead of pop opera, we should label national selection entries such as this Vincentcore: pop opera entries specifically designed to enter Eurovision performed by a genial and agreeably handsome man. “La melodia” will have its fans at Eurovision, but I don’t think he has enough in Norway to win even though it’s arguably better than most of the pop trash at MGP 2022.”

Roy – 1.5

“I genuinely have no clue how to call this song. Like did they try to make opera? Did they try to make it musical theatre? Why are there random hi-hats in the chorus like it is some sort of trap song? Why is the chorus only lalalalala? All of these questions and a grant total of zero answers. Just a puzzling entry really…”

Stefan – 10

“Chills, literal chills. I will dare to put it in the same league with Grande Amore. I just can’t wait to hear him sing it live. It has such a performance potential and I hope he will go all in! I might have my personal favorite in MGP this year.”

Tyler – 5.5

“Okay, like. For a song called “La melodia“, I would have expected the melody to be memorable. But the song just feels like a bunch of nothing, especially with that chorus. Kim did a good job in 2021 with Maria, but he can’t save this kind of song. I like the Italian in the chorus, but the rest of the lyrics mean nothing to me, especially the chorus. It’s just lazy, and if the “la”s are supposed to be the titled melody? It’s a pretty basic one! I really didn’t like this song, but it is competent enough to be fodder, so a positive?”

William – 3

“I was a fan of his previous MGP effort, the duet with Maria Mohn at the 2020 contest. OK, it was a bit cheesy, but it was unabashedly theatrical. This year, whereas I think Maria has returned with a more elevated sound and point of view, “La Melodia” sounds like a step backward for Kim. I just cannot accept a song that’s entire chorus is “la la la” over and over. Surely we can come up with something better? I remember him as a great live vocalist, so perhaps this will work better on stage. But, right now, I’m unconvinced.”

Total Score: 39/50
Highest: 10 (Stefan)
Lowest: 1.5 (Roy)
Average: 5.6

Boris – 8

“Okay hear me out: ‘Fly‘ is obviously a Eurovision-only thing. It is schlager disguised as Wiccan Druid Anthem, it has the generic “Believe In Yourself” message, it liberally doles out the Oohs and Aahs with its choir backings, and it’s never ever EVER viable as a stand-alone song. However, as far as entries of that archetype go, ‘Fly‘ is loads of fun? It’s instrumentally rich, highly immersive, infectuous, features great vocals. MGP2022 is a wasteland of the boring pretend pop and awful gimmicky gobshite whatever else the zoomers are supposed to love, so it’s great to have a casual throwback to the 2000s Eurovision’s Women-In-Chiffon-Or-Leather-Screaming-To-New-Age-Beats craze that I grew up with. ‘Fly‘ is a more than welcome port in this sh*tstorm of an NF.”

David – 10

“Dark, mystic, atmospheric, dramatic, just overall very fascinating. I feel this somehow represents the darker side of Norway, but still in a positive way, there’s a story going on here, which comes alive. I’m fully intrigued by this. A wonderful composition right here.”

James – 7

“I am not sure why a child is being choked out by a ninja in Maria’s video for “Fly.” A metaphor for the Black Death, in the medieval village where Maria is presumably his mother and also praying for his return to health? As for the song itself, this appears to be the one that hews closest to Norwegian tradition (at Eurovision with the New Age instrumentation, and in general) without going full-blown ham a la “Hammer of Thor.” The track does sound like it’s for a Norwegian airline ad, but with a revamp and some more percussion could be repurposed for a contest. Maria has a phenomenal voice, and though her English is impeccable, I am sure that will only inflame the language purists (who don’t live in Norway) who want a song in Norwegian to then abandon it when the Eurovision Semi-Final arrives.”

Roy – 4

“I get what they were trying to go for, but it just isn’t fully working. Firstly, nothing exciting really happen until 1:30 into the song. A bit too long if you ask me for a song like this. The chorus lyrically feels odd. As if they had written the song already and tried to squeeze in the text later. It just doesn’t really flow nicely and it kind of gives me an uncomfortable and claustrophobic feeling.”

Stefan – 4

“Yes, she is offering something different, something ethnic, but we did get our Nordic hit last week. I can give her thumbs up for her vocal capabilities, but that’s all.”

Tyler – 6.5

“”Fly” should be a fun song! It gives me “Spirits Are Calling My Name” vibes from the Nordic chanting and feels like it has more traditional instrumentation than others. But it also feels outdated and cliché too. I don’t care for the lyrics also, but appreciate its message of persevering. I think. I do like the rhyming scheme in the lyrics, but not enough to really enjoy this song that much. Could be fun to watch, but “Fly” isn’t really a revolutionary song to me.”

William – 8

“I’m happy to see Maria back at MGP with a more definitive perspective and mood. The traditional instrumentation, soaring vocals, and pulsating backing track blend to create the kind of song only Norway can really serve up. I hope she comes with a staging concept as epic as the song.  I’ve long since given up on predicting which songs Norwegian jurors and voters will respond to, I am almost always wrong, but I could see this as a bit of a dark horse. There’s something singular about this song. It’s going to stand out, at the very least.”

Total Score: 47.5/70
Highest: 10 (David)
Lowest: 4 (Roy, Stefan)
Average: 6.8

 

Boris – 6

“I’m in a bit of a bind here. On one end, ‘Made of Glass‘ is definitely one of many offenders that made this MGP feel like a scam (“Our selection is ahead of the curve and several are potentially winning ESC” is every Norwegian official a compulsive liar?). Yet, I feel Sofie has potential to be very good? Unlike, say, that horrible Farida song (forgot its name), ‘Made of Glass‘ has the foresight to steer AWAY from the stripped down ballad start, and transitions into a fun upbeat poprock song, with the instrumentation signifying the emotional fortitude and confidence Sofie gains over time. I appreciate the cleverness of it all (which is the only reason I’m giving it a passing mark), but it may be a tad too academic to work in the shark tank that is Eurovision.”

David – 2

“This must be the ballad of the year, and I could honestly live happily without as many of those as possible. It gains some tension far into the song, before it loses it again, too bad I’m lost by that point. I just don’t feel like waiting most of the song, before the interesting bit appears, just to not have enough time to appreciate the effort. I’m simply bored out of my mind.”

James –  3

“Oh no! Single white girl on a piano alert! It’s a frankly trite break-up song with clichéd lyrics about a temperamental beau and a fragile relationship. It tries to be an intimate plea between our singer and her beau, but then has strange intrusive elements like the backing singers coming in at weird points and soaring strings coming in when the lyrics suggest he is withdrawing. This song flattens my glass of chardonnay.”

Roy – 7

“Let’s be honest here, there really only is one option here! This is your typical song that you could also find in Melodifestivalen. I really enjoy how the chorus starts especially. In all honesty, it’s usually not the type of song that would excite me either, but in this heat… yeah… One option Norway, One option!”

Stefan – 6.5

“Even the birds know that I am a fan of a good powerful ballad. This song can be sorted in that category, but unfortunately I am just not feeling it. Something is just missing.”

Tyler – 6

“Nothing too crazy, nothing too extraordinary, “Made of Glass” is the kind of song that would be nice to see performed at Melfest, only to get voted out in 6th or 7th place. There isn’t anything technically wrong with “Made of Glass” and Sofie doesn’t mess up the vocals at all. But this song is too invisible to me to stand out in the field. This song doesn’t speak to me too much and it’s in one ear and out the other.”

William – 9

“GORGEOUS. I was really caught off guard by how much I responded to this one. It’s a pretty standard, belt-y ballad, which I’m not always immediately drawn to, but there’s just something special here. Sofie’s voice is HUGE. At the same time, she’s never doing too much with her vocal. The singing is emotional, without becoming overwrought. If she can hit these notes on stage, it’s over for me. I wouldn’t completely disagree with a criticism that this is a little … musical theater. But that doesn’t bother me, at least not in this song. This one has my heart.”

Total Score: 39.5/70
Highest: 9 (William)
Lowest: 2 (David)
Average: 5.6

MGP Ranking Week 3:

If it were up to our panel of opinionated idiots, Maria Mohn would fly her way to the finale! The Norwegian soprano takes second place on our ranking so far, between Lily Löwe and Daniel Lukas. Will the Autoqualifiers upset this ranking? All shall be revealed next week.

  1. Lily Löwe – “Bad baby” (84%)
  2. Maria Mohn – “Fly” (68%)
  3. Daniel Lukas – “Kvelertak” (65%)
  4. Alexandra Joner – “Hasta la vista” (60%) (Median: 6)
  5. Mari Bølla – “Your loss” (60%) (Median: 6)
  6. Oda Gondrosen – “Hammer of Thor” (60%) (Median: 5)
  7. Farida – “Dangerous” (59%)
  8. Sofie Fellvjang – “Made of Glass” (56%)
  9. Kim Wigaard – “La Melodia” (56%)
  10. Frode Vassel – “Black flowers” (55%)
  11. Sturla – “Skår i hjerte” (54%)
  12. Mira Craig – “We still here” (53%) (Median score: 6)
  13. Steffen Jakobsen – “With me tonight” (53%) (Median score: 4.5)
  14. VILDE – “Titans” (50%)
  15. Eline Noelia – “Ecstasy” (49%)
  16. TrollfesT – “Dance like a pink flamingo” (48%)

Tiebreaker rules:

Ties are broken by looking at the median score. If there’s still a tie, whoever has the highest score after taking out the highest and lowest marks wins. If there’s still a tie after that, the song with the highest individual mark wins.

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 fourth ‘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. […] HEAT 1 HEAT 2 HEAT 3 HEAT 4 […]

  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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