Tonight will see Norway kick off their search for the next Eurovision star in Fornebu, and with the big boots to fill of the ever-popular KEiiNO from 2019, the pressure is on to produce another hit in 2020!

But what do our team think of the first hopefuls in this year’s Melodi Grand Prix? Do we feel there is another Eurovision classic in the making from the four artists of Southern Norway?

If #YOU haven’t yet had your say on the four entries, make sure to vote in our poll here!

This time, our panel consists of David, James, Melanie, Roy, Sean and Stefan. Here’s what they thought…

Geirmund – Come Alive

David – 2 – “Not my kind of song… at all. Here’s the problem, I just couldn’t find a hook in the song, after listening to it, there was just nothing that made me remember the song. Other than a strong voice, which took too much of the spotlight, then I’m pretty much left without a proper impression. I just didn’t care what I was listening to.”

James – 2 – “Was this written by an A.I. whose only inputs were inspirational quotes found on signs sold at HomeGoods? “Come Alive” is another self-belief song, but it is just a dire collection of clichés (“On my knees!” “Feel the rain!” “Let go of my demons!”). “I want to feel the power of the blood inside my veins” is the only somewhat original lyric, but it only makes sense if Geirmund is a Jedi. And besides, if you want to feel the power of your blood you’d want the blood in your arteries, not the oxygen-depleted blood in your veins. An extra point off for the lazy “African tribal” drums and vocals at the bridge.”

Melanie – 5 – “This song has a really interesting build. I really love the verse, but when he hit’s the chorus, I just feel a kind of mismatch with his voice and this song. I think this sound suited someone better with a deeper voice. They try to bring over a kind of intensity to the listener but I’m not really feeling it. Geirmund deserved a different song and this song deserved another singer.”

Roy – 6 – “This song is intriguing to me. I could have pictured this song on the radio 3 or 4 years ago. I feel like there is a lot of room to make this song look and sound good on stage. This is the kind of song that really comes alive when performed on stage, pun intended. I can imagine it standing out in this semi final of 4, but I question whether it will do the same in the final or even at Eurovision itself where there are 26 countries in the final. I am curious to see this song performed live however and it could surprise us all!”

Sean – 7 – “The verses in this song are great but I find myself feeling underwhelmed when the chorus kicks in. It feels like some kind of great mysterious indie-rock song is about to explode, but it all feels rather formulaic instead. Nonetheless this is a solid effort and has growing potential, and elements of this put me in mind of the vibe from Rasmussen’s “Higher Ground”. With a captivating performance this could do very well.”

Stefan – 5 – “Gotta say that this is the weakest song of the semi. I felt nothing listening to it. Barely managed to hear it fully. I could hear some ethno vibes, but it just not a song I see progressing to the final”

Total = 27 (avg 4.5)

Kim Rysstad – Rainbow

David – 5 – “Overall, very dramatic and intense, but did I enjoy it straight away… not really. I’d probably appreciate this a lot more after more listenings (which is often the case), but I’ll admit that it’s a nice effort, but not something I haven’t heard before, especially in Eurovision, so no points for originality. I’m very split here, because I hear the potential, yet I don’t believe in it.”

James – 6 – “Are we getting a Balkan ballad in English from Norway? It is a pleasant enough self-belief ballad with jazz touches, and the “Give it to me, the rainbow” chorus is powerful and emphatic. That being said, the song slows down at the bridge to try ramp up for a key change, but it just falls flat, saps momentum out of the song and arrives too late, giving the feeling of a sudden ending. I am a sucker for songs with a narrative (this one is of the “I came, I saw, I conquered” variety with subtle lyric changes as the verses progress), and this one gets an extra point for that.”

Melanie – 3 – “When I first heard this song, I thought that somebody gave Kim Rysstad a checklist with “This is how you write a winner Eurovision song” and he just tried to check every box with this song. Building Verse? Check! Dramatic Chorus? Check! Meaningful Lyrics? Check! Trying to create a moment (almost) Check! But because he’s doing it like this, it’s sounds like a song that would do well in the 90’s, but not at Eurovision nowadays.”

Roy – 3 – “This song started and it grabbed me immediately with it’s opening sounds. I expected something epic, but was disappointed massively with all that followed. This song low-key reminds me of “Scream” by Sergey Lazarev last year, but the major difference is that Lazarev’s voice was a lot more interesting and more happened in the song. To be honest Kim made a decent song, but it just isn’t good enough to catch your attention. This should not go to the final!”

Sean – 3 –  “I’m sorry, but this isn’t original or exciting for me. This type of dramatic piano ballad has been copied and pasted across most Eurovision national finals over the years, so this is in drastic need of a revamp to try and emphasise some of the rockier instruments in the composition. It feels a bit too Denmark or (sigh) UK for me.”

Stefan – 7 – “Promising opening, flat till the chords. Interesting burst, but it gives me a deja vu feeling. Kinda sounds a bit outdated. Overall experience – meh.”

Total = 27 (avg 4.5)

Lisa Børud – Talking About Us

David – 7 – “I appreciate this, I can feel that the song and the singer goes very well along and complement each other throughout the song. If Lisa has the charisma to sell this one, then I’m pretty sure that this could impress. However, listening to this, I feel that some of that needed energy is missing, so I’m not left as excited and happy as the song sounds and feels like.”

James – 4 – “It’s one of those generic “hey babe, we’re doing our thing so well all the haters are talking about us” pop songs. It’s just boring. I imagine the shade Lisa is talking about is more along the lines of “isn’t that the young couple who spend their Saturday nights at the detective novel readings down at the Upper St. Clair library” than any raunchy stuff hinted at in the lyrics. Why do I get this impression? Tweak the lyrics slightly, and this entry would fit in at Junior Eurovision. It’s got a Disney pop feel that sterilizes this whole effort. Co-songwriter Jimmy Jansson set a record for six entries this year at Melodifestivalen 2020. Perhaps he should concentrate more on quality than quantity, if this dull entry is any indication.”

Melanie – 4 – “Disney called and they want their song back! No, but seriously, I see this song doing really well in Junior Eurovision and being a hit by children. I just think it’s a sweet pop song that doesn’t really stand out in regular Eurovision.”

Roy – 7 – “This song would be a borderline finalist or Andra Chansen if it were to compete in Melodifestivalen. It is just a nice, slick, polished and inoffensive pop-song. I can totally imagine Norway wanting this in the final, but I am hoping that there will be many more interesting entries too. It is my winner for this semi however and I have a good feeling that it will do so too. It’s a good basic Scandinavian pop-song so not much more to talk about.”

Sean – 5 – “This almost, ALMOST strays into commercial radio territory, but it doesn’t feel attention-grabbing enough to make it as a chart hit with staying power. It’s a summery, upbeat anthemic track which I will probably end up singing in my head at inopportune moments after this review, but on face value there’s a lot like this out there.”

Stefan – 8 – “It feels like a Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj mix. It will make the crowd dance, but the real question is will people vote for it. I guess some big, colorful stage performance is lined up, I just have doubts it will be enough. I kinda like it, but something is missing here.”

Total = 35 (avg 5.8)

Raylee – Wild

David – 7 – “This is pretty much the kind of song that we nowadays hear all the time, but in this case, it works. I’m hooked on the sick beat, but sadly that’s all I like about the song. The lyrics seems very unneeded, especially the chicken sounds or whatever you’d call that after the chorus. Originality is very lacking overall in this song.”

James – 5 – “Oh yay, in the grab bag of terrible animal metaphors, Raylee includes running like a lion. That worked out well for Jurijus at Eurovision 2019, and “Wild” contains similar boneheaded mistakes. For instance, there’s the “run like a cheetah all the way to Zion” lyric which is an inspiration lazily and thoughtlessly pilfered from reggaeton, that comes off like the forced “tribal” chants in Jurijus’s doomed “Run with the lions.” It’s a fun enough booty shaking pop track, but is hardly original and the lyrics do my head in.”

Melanie – 6 – “So this song really sounds like the general club banger at the club. A typical song that gets the 16 year olds ‘Wild’ on the dancefloor, so they can start dancing like crazy. So it isn’t the most original of the bunch and a mediocre dance song, BUT I see potential; Raylee need to nail it live with her voice, dance moves and needs to create a 3 minute show that no one would forget. If she can do this, this can end up high. If she can’t do this, this will flop hard.”

Roy – 5 – “The first thing that I noticed while listening is that these lyrics start off rather cringe-worthy. She could have found a different way of conveying her message in my eyes. Then it builds towards the chorus and it is quite solid. I am curious whether she can also deliver this well live. The drop is rather basic, but fine until she started adding animal sounds. It does make the song memorable I guess, but to me it also adds a lot of cheapness to the song. I like the song, but I question whether it is memorable enough once more songs enter the frame. After the song was finished I was like, that was cool… next.”

Sean – 6 – “I haven’t read much of the reaction online yet, but I bet a lot of fans are going crazy over this one. It’s the type of song that has reached a certain hype level with the Eurofans in recent years so will be interesting to see how this translates to the stage in Fornebu. Personally, I find this a decent, catchy and danceable tune but doesn’t have an X Factor like… wait for it… “Fuego”.”

Stefan – 9 – “I like the strings in the opening lines. I already can imagine a performance with loads of flashing lights and pyro effects. Thumbs up for the modern, upbeat vibes. The only minus is the “CooKooLoo” line. We had enough of the chicken sounds. No more please.”

Total = 38 (avg 6.3)

So once we add up the scores, this is how we judged the first semi-final of MGP 2020…

  1. Raylee – Wild – 38
  2. Lisa Børud – Talking About Us – 35
  3. Geirmund – Come Alive – 27
  4. Kim Rysstad – Rainbow – 27

Not too much to split the songs, but it seems we have picked a favourite, and it’s Raylee with “Wild” on 38 points! We also envisage Lisa Børud as the second favourite in this semi-final, three points behind Raylee. But do we have the right idea? We will find out later this evening!

What do #YOU think? Have we judged these songs correctly or seriously underrated/overrated one of the competitors? Join the conversation with other Eurovision fans on our forum HERE, or below in the comments and on social media!

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