Bærum, 12 February 2022

Tonight, the fifth heat of Norway’s anticipated selection show, Melodi Grand Prix will air! For the final time, we’ll see four acts competing in duels for a spot in MGP’s finale on 19 February.

However, unlike the previous weeks tonight’s show will be a Last Chance show, with 4 previously eliminated acts competing for a second and final time. These are TrollfesT, Mari Bølla, Maria Mohn and Kim Wigaard.

The four acts competing for a Last Chance tonight

Naturally, we at ESCUnited don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to shatter more hopes dreams and expectations. However, since we already reviewed the four second chancers, we will instead review the five acts that were directly placed in the finale. Will they hold up to the acts we’ve witnessed so far? Buckle-up for 35 spittle-flecked rants on Elsie Bay, Christian Ingebrigtsen, NorthKid, Subwoolfer and Anna-Lisa Kumoji

 

On today’s review panel we once again 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

Also note that these reviews and ratings were collected before the live showcase of each direct finalist, meaning that these statements don’t necessarily reflect the current opinion of the person quoted. 

Boris – 6

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve grown obsessed with ‘Queen bees‘. Unfortunately for Anna-Lisa, I’ve grown obsessed with how bad it is, OOPS!! Not only is ‘Queen bees’ a temporal wreck (It’s like a drunk “Je me casse”, progressing at half the speed you’d normally expect from an electro-swing number, only to swerve abruptly into an outro so fast it outpaces its own nightcore), but it is also lyrical mess. Between ridiculous lines such as “Servants, bring my tea!” and ridiculous rhymes such as “sunday/honey”, this song also claims that queen bees don’t hide in hives – darling Anna-Lisa, I’m not sure where you’re aware, but a queen bee outside her hive is nothing more than a slightly thicker bee. Anyway, no matter how much of a cataclysmic disaster this novelty crap will be live (and that it will be, this is MGP 2022 after all), it still makes a much better autofinalist than the eejits wearing flamingo suits, so…”

David –  7

“I’m getting heavy electro swing vibes from this song, and it’s done quite well, very fun and catchy. Maybe a bit too much attitude for my liking, especially as the outro starts where the song is everywhere in your face. Something I can enjoy, but not something I would listen that often to, cause it would eventually become a bit too much for my own good.”

James –  3

“I have several problems with this electro swing number. The lyrics are the dumbest in the selection, and this is one where idiot trolls refer to a “dancing floor” and space muppets are trying to violate a wolf with a banana. Anna-Lisa tries to rhyme bees with rings, hives with vibes, and it doesn’t work. I was a big fan of Kumoji’s “Holla” from a couple years back, and I had hoped she would go explore that female empowerment and body pride angle with Cardi B sound some more.  “Queen Bees” is a misguided retreat for someone I consider a promising artist.”

Roy – 3

“This is just trying a bit too hard. It tries too hard to be sassy, it tries to be sassy to have a gimmick, it tries too hard to be cheeky, it tries too hard to make comparisons to bee’s. Not really working out for me, but I am sure that this has its fans.”

Stefan – 10 

“Starting with a BOP, aren’t we… This song screams for an over the top flashy performance full of glitter and fireworks and hopefully it will get it. Totally deserved being one of the direct finalist. It’s no secret anymore it’s one of my faves in MGP this year. ”

Tyler – 5.5

“Picturing this song on the stage now–a big top theme, with plenty of dancers in giant bee costumes while breathing fire or performing hoop tricks. This just reminds me too much of Royane from last year (a different genre but still feels like trainwreck potential). This kind of electro swing vibe I’m getting too just isn’t my thing, as I find the effects more annoying than anything. I wanna see Anna-Lisa do a better song, but she’s stuck with this right now. This is also my second attempt at trying to write anything, as I got a migraine soon after hearing this for the first time so. Does “Queen Bees” cause haters to have 2d6 mental damage? Perhaps!”

William – 6.5

“This song is ridiculous, but it’s got such a playful, jazz-y energy that I can’t help but be won over. OK, the lyrics are a little … on the nose, but it’s got a memorable hook and the right amount of attitude. It does feel a little too long. The song has a pretty literal central gimmick that gets stretched thin. Still, I hear a lot of potential. I don’t think this is the winner, nor should it be, but I have caught myself belting this in my car three times this week, and that has to count for something.”

Total Score: 41/70
Highest: 10 (Stefan)
Lowest: 3 (James, Roy)
Average: 5.9

 

Boris – 1

“Hej NRK?! You *are* aware that you can just decline bad songs, instead of directly putting them in your finale, right? “Wonder of the world” makes Michael Bublé’s repertoire look daring and experimental. To the person who thought “three minutes of comparing your lover to man-made structures” made for a worthy MGP entrant, let alone an AUTOQUALIFIER: I hope you stub a toe.”

David – 1

“Dramatical ballad… I’m about to bang my head. At least that’ll make me less brain dead than suffering for 3 minutes.”

James –  8

“I was prepared to hate this corny piano ballad with swelling strings by the Norwegian lad from A1, but after all the cynicism and poor attempts at comedy at this national selection, I am down for this sincere, sweet dedication to a lover who is compared to the wonders of the world. It certainly beats being compared to the warehouses of Brighouse, West Yorkshire. It’s perhaps saccharine to say the biggest wonder of the world is to love and be loved in return, but the world could use this sentiment rather than mopey break-up tunes and nihilistic comedy.”

Roy – 6

“First of all, these lyrics are insanely cringey. The song reminds me of Michal Szpak’s ‘color of your life’. The chorus is structured very similarly. If Christian can bring said chorus as epic and charismatic as what Michal could, I actually see some potential in this. I do have my doubts whether he can actually pull that off. Let’s see how the live-performance will be and perhaps I will change my mind a bit after that.”

Stefan – 5 

“Emotions are there, we can all feel them, but yet again it also feels a bit monotonous. Certainly not winning material, but for sure is there to melt the hearts of teenage girls and why not some boys. ”

Tyler –  5

“It’s “Where in the World is Christian Ingebrigtsen?” and we’ve already been all over the world in the first verse! Well, maybe not Jericho, but I remember liking this song better when it was in 2002 and sung by a Maltese woman. The music is so sweeping, but the lyrics feel so forced and unnatural to me all at the same time, that it just makes me dislike this song quite a bit. Really not my thing, but good luck!”

William – 3 

“Christian has a pretty voice, and I appreciate the song for committing and being unapologetically unhip. It’s all just very … soggy. I suppose I can picture a live performance of this that really sells the song’s (not unwelcome) quaint, uncomplicated emotion, but I can’t picture a live performance that puts this anywhere close to winning. This is ultimately sweet and harmless, but a little lightweight.”

Total Score: 29/70
Highest: 8 (James)
Lowest: 1 (Boris, David)
Average: 4.1

Boris –  8.5

“One 2022 plot twist I didn’t see coming (and probably should have) are the rampant appearances of hush-voiced indie girls wearing oversized jumpers in almost every national final. Although Victoria only recently bombed with the audience, and missed the top 10 spot? “Death of us” is very good, however. It is a lovely ballad that would effortlessly cruise to a Left-Side finish in Eurovision proper, with nice progression and powerful instrumentation. Judging by the overall bad quality of MGP, it seems clear NRK have pinned all of their hopes on Elsie del Bey winning it, which I would be into. With no Tix around to hijack the NF, surely nothing will be going wrong this time, right? 🙃”

David – 2

“The classical ballad, the one that makes use of all the strings and emotions. Yet… I couldn’t feel anymore empty. This one just comes as heavy and depressing for 3 full minutes, and I’m just struggling to “show” any sort of interest. Good voice, string instruments that stand out, but I just don’t care…”

James –  7

“This is quite an improvement from “Witch Woods,” which Elsie wrote. As break up songs go, there is a finality here, as opposed to NorthKid’s still moping and thinking about his girlfriend’s granny’s dentist or whatever that was about. Elsie’s over it, done with her ex-beau’s issues. Bye. The instrumentation is the highlight of this song, with the strings in particular selling the idea that her ditching her ex is a triumph and unburdening herself of someone who was eager to weigh her down. This is not quite as memorable as Bulgaria’s Victoria from last year, but it is certainly among the stronger entries in what has shaped up to be a terrible selection for Norway in 2022.”

Roy – 6

“Elsie’s voice is absolutely wonderful. I love it to pieces! The song however, leaves me a tad disappointed. The instrumentation is very odd. I feel like they overly try to make it sound more epic and emotional, but it kind of backfires. In this case, the good old saying ‘Less is more’ should’ve applied. It is a nice attempt, but Elsie should return a different year with a better song. Right now the song is kind of a wannabe emotional song. While I definitely see her voice being capable of making me emotional, with this song, I unfortunately feel nothing.”

Stefan – 3 

“Yes there are Billie Eilish – “No time to die” vibes, she even has similar hairstyle, but I just don’t get it. What I also don’t get is the immediate hype about this song. It’s also way too much like Victoria’s songs. I am sorry to say, but I just can’t see it winning MGP and if somehow it does, it won’t be the end of the world”

Tyler – 8.5

“I’m sorry, but when I hear the sweeping orchestra in “Death of Us”, it reminds me of the death of the orchestra in the Contest ☹ I think Elsie’s vocals in this song are quite good, but they overall don’t quite match up with the music itself. Honestly just an instrumental version of this song would be enough for me to push the score even higher. This song gives me hope for Norway, and will be so excited to see how this looks on stage.”

William – 8.5

“The composition is the star of this song. It’s very dynamic, fluid, and unexpected. It zigs and zags, but never feels disjointed. It’s all very cinematic. I love Elsie’s voice. She has such character and vulnerability when she sings. A voice like hers is special. However, a voice like hers also makes me nervous. Can she deliver this live? It’s a very airy, intense style of singing that she does, and it can go very wrong if not delivered perfectly. Despite my reservations, this is obviously an incredible piece of performance and songcraft. It’s the presumptive favorite for a reason.”

Total Score: 43.5/70
Highest: 8.5 (Boris, Tyler, William)
Lowest: 2 (David)
Average: 6.2

 

Boris – 3

“I usually have a soft spot for the Homely Scandi Boy Bands in these selections (FO&O 😍), but NorthKid turn me off within the first cringe-inducing SadBoi lines of their song “Hey! How you’ve been? Have you ever been to Berlin? Are you fallin’ asleep now?” Is this how GenZ flirts? Because if so, humanity may die out by itself before the end of the decade. After the cringe verses follows the most generic run-the-mill pop ballad chorus in the ENTIRE nf season so far! I am bored and annoyed! Watch them beat Elsie del Bey in the Gold Final as well, because the Slightly Less Homely Lead Singer is still gliding by on residual popularity from winning that Star Battles show.”

David – 1

-“Let’s have a full boyband sing a love ballad… I’m about to puke…”

James –  2.5

“A painfully dull and oddly specific break-up stalker ballad. I suspect the pain she feels at our protagonist being dumped by her has to do with him being a control freak. The song starts with him asking her about her Dad, did she get a car, did she go to Berlin… Christ above, son, you‘re obsessing a little too much here. Why not carry on in the second verse by asking if her aunty’s dentures got fitted and if she got the right upholstery cleaner for the old couch they used to watch TV on? No wonder she’s someone who hates you! If the guy from “You” was a drip, this would be his song.”

Roy – 8.5

“This is really good! Staging potential is most definitely there and it is a wonderful inoffensive song that would probably give Norway a very decent to good result in the Grand Final of Eurovision. I totally get that this is an Automatic Qualifier. Just a lovely song to listen to that is quite easy to perform. Gotta love it!”

Stefan – 7.5

“Just another boy band song, for which I can say that it’s kinda different. There are some emotions, they do bring influence of positive energy, but I am still missing something. I’m guessing it will grow on me a bit after the live performance, so let’s just wait and see… ”

Tyler – 5

“Well, “Someone” feels less One Direction and more Disney Channel boy band. The lyrics and the song itself aren’t memorable enough to stick in your mind, except for the last line in the chorus (really like that line! Great line). I just don’t feel any charisma from any of the members of NorthKid in a song that would be buried on B-sides from the 2000s. I wish “Someone” the best of luck, it’s going to need it!”

William – 4

“This song has a lovely melody, but it’s ultimately a bit forgettable. There’s a lot of … personality in some of the MGP entries this year, so a mellow song like this would need to be really outstanding in order to make an impact.  I just don’t think it’s good enough. It’s a rock solid sad-boy-pop ballad. Maybe in another year, this is what voters would be looking for. But not this year, not when it’s up against the sheer absurdity of something like ‘Queen Bees’ or ‘Dance Like a Pink Flamingo’. It’s going to get drowned out.”

Total Score: 44/70
Highest: 8.5 (Roy)
Lowest: 1 (David)
Average: 4.5

Boris – 5

It is the lack of fashion that truly strikes fear into my heart” – Dorian Pavus. I mean,

Where is the JAW???? :shudders:

These purveyors of lupine-tinged nightmare fuel are a lowbudget Ylvis on all accounts. “Give that wolf a banana” at least attempts to be a fun, if formulaic dance banger unlike the very hamfisted and irritating “What does the Fox say?” That’s where it ends for me though. The wolf boys don’t have the carefree panache of a Sirkus Elliassen, nor does  their song have  the unbridled party vibe of an “En Godt Stekt Pizza”. It’s entertaining in a vacuum, but it feels like fan service at best, and a nihilistic void at worst. Note that Subwoolfer were clearly supposed to go viral (why else would you Autoqualify them?) and promptly didn’t. Oh and, I don’t give a hoot whether they are Ylvis, or Jowst + Tix, or the Masked Singer costumes of James’s Fear and Loathing turned flesh; what I am wondering about is whether Keith’s loosely dangling ear will finally fall off during the lives, giving me some visual comedy instead of making me recoil in horror each time I’m forced to gaze upon those hideous mustard leotards.”

David – 8

“Absolutely ridiculous… thank wolf for that! Fun dance track, ridiculous lyrics, but screw that, we’re having fun. I somehow expected more, seeing the setup these guys are going with. The chorus is by far the best part, so a shame that song doesn’t maintain that tempo throughout the song. Anyhow… where is that wolf anyway? Let’s get it a banana already”

James –  5

“Only Scandinavians have the ability to make a novelty dance track with a chorus about giving a wolf a banana before it eats my grandma boring. The bridge with the drums is cool, I guess. Maybe I am jaded because I recently heard Green Jelly’s comedy rock classic “Three Little Pigs,” also based on a fairy tale involving a douchey wolf. People can speculate all they like about Ylvis being on Subwoolfer, but Green Jelly featured Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, so yeah, take your banana and shove it, Norway.”

Roy – 9

“Sure the lyrics are silly, sure it is gimmicky, but this song absolutely slaps!! The way this beat gets introduced is absolutely wonderful! The little details in the chorus are an incredibly good addition that 9/10 artists wouldn’t think about adding. It just give it that extra liveliness. It’s wack, it’s crazy, it’s probably over the top, but at least there is an insanely well produced song backing it all up. In my eyes, it is either this or Northkid and as of writing this I would give the edge to Subwoolfer!”

Stefan – 4 

“If someone pulled a surprise it’s these guys. But to be honest it’s 80% shock factor with stage performance and 20% song. At first I was hyped, but now I’m like meh… I hope I am not too harsh saying that I am hoping this won win. ”

Tyler – 5.5

“Okay, “Give That Wolf a Banana” is an attempt at creating a meme song through absurdity, but the biggest problem it has is that it’s very much a one-and-done song. You watch/listen, maybe you’re mildly amused at this entry, then it’s over and you move on. There’s no real hook or anything to keep you interested and wanting to continue listening. The instrumentation is all over the place, and the song is sort of interesting in that sense! But it was good to listen to this once and that’s it! Also, this is getting the score it’s getting because it’s as if a Simpsons drawing came to life and it is terrifying.”

William – 7.5

“What even is there to say? You’re either going to be on board with this song, or it’s going to send you running for the hills in search of a huntsman.  I count myself among the former. The song is definitely … idiosyncratic, but it is such a blast. It is the great kind of stupid, the kind of stupid that only a team of smart creatives could dream up. This live performance is going to be a feast for the senses. I don’t know WHAT it’s going to look and sound like, but I know it won’t be boring.”

Total Score: 44/70
Highest: 9 (Roy)
Lowest: 4 (Stefan)
Average: 6.3

MGP Ranking (Full)

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. Subwoolfer – “Give that wolf a banana” (63%)
  5. Elsie Bay – “Death of Us” (62%)
  6. Alexandra Joner – “Hasta la vista” (60%) (Median: 6)
  7. Mari Bølla – “Your loss” (60%) (Median: 6)
  8. Oda Gondrosen – “Hammer of Thor” (60%) (Median: 5)
  9. Farida – “Dangerous” (59%)
  10. Anna-Lisa Kumoji – “Queen bees” (59%)
  11. Sofie Fellvjang – “Made of Glass” (56%)
  12. Kim Wigaard – “La Melodia” (56%)
  13. Frode Vassel – “Black flowers” (55%)
  14. Sturla – “Skår i hjerte” (54%)
  15. Mira Craig – “We still here” (53%) (Median score: 6)
  16. Steffen Jakobsen – “With me tonight” (53%) (Median score: 4.5)
  17. VILDE – “Titans” (50%)
  18. Eline Noelia – “Ecstasy” (49%)
  19. TrollfesT – “Dance like a pink flamingo” (48%)
  20. NorthKid – “Someone” (45%)
  21. Christian Ingebrigtsen – “Wonder of the world” (41%)

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.

Opinions on the autoqualfiers are divided, with NorthKid and Christian bringing up the rear of the ranking. However Anna-Lisa, Elsie and Subwoolfer finish in our top 10 for the selection, with the latter two coming top five. Lily Löwe comfortably wins our editor poll with the glam rock song “Bad Baby”. Out of the finalists, either Subwoolfer or second chances Maria Mohn (if she wins tonight’s show) will win the honorary title of being TeamUnited’s favourite finalist.

You can find an overview of how we voted for the past five weeks below!

You can check out the reviews of the previous heats via the link below:

HEAT 1
HEAT 2
HEAT 3
HEAT 4

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

Do #YOU agree with our panel? Who is #YOUR autoqualifier in MGP 2022? 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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