Ahead of tonight’s Norwegian semi-final, and the last one before next week’s Melodi Grand Prix, our team once again sat down to scrutinise the four songs on offer from Northern Norway.

Here, Daniel, David, James, Melanie and Roy dissect each entry. Who comes out on top?

Elin & The Woods – We Are As One

Daniel – 8 – “Oh this might be one of my favorite songs from the semi-finals. This song is dark but also has its ethnic influences. I think this song strikes a very interesting balance of being edgy and poppy enough for the mainstream. I am very enchanted by what the staging will be, but this song is of good quality in my opinion. It truly embodies a future Norwegian sound and the instrumentation is great.”

David – 3 – “This one is giving me all the right vibes, there’s some Nordic vibes, there is some adventure vibes, some fairytale vibes and the good stuff that I like, but it just comes out as a horrible mess. It just doesn’t always work, the inclusion of Sami worked so great last year, but not here, there is just to much to deal with and so I personally can’t be bothered with it.”

James – 6 – “Sami MGP 2017 veterans Elin & The Woods is back, this time will help from the Persson sisters. Elin has typically played more in the realm in the avant garde, so that this one is a relatively generic ballad with a few touches of the Sami is a little disappointing. Elin usually slays with the staging, which she will have to with this song as it’s not really much of note. For an artist who has usually had a strong and distinctive point of view and style, it is just a letdown she’s come back to MGP with a paint-by-numbers unity ballad.”

Melanie – 6 – “Elin & The Woods gives us a interesting composition with there song We Are As One. It almost feels like they take you to another universe with this song. Sadly the song bores me after the first chorus. It really need an interesting staging to keep the viewers and their attention. But I like their unique style and I hope to see them next year with a better song.”

Roy – 5 – “Ahh, a familiar face. I remember listening and watching their previous performance an being a bit confused about it whether I should like it or not. This one seems to be a bit more “basic” and doesn’t go as eccentric as their previous entry. It doesn’t capture the forest sound as much as we heard before. I am again a bit unsure how to feel about it, it is interesting and would add something to the final, but I am not sure if I am fully on board with this entry.”

Total = 28 (avg. 5.6)

Jenny Jenssen – Mr. Hello

Daniel – 3 – “This song is interesting. It is carnivalesque, Oslo meets New Orleans, a little bit everywhere. I mean it definitely is unique but this charming song is just, well, charming. It is saccharine and does not really hold much depth. While I appreciate the reference to Bayou culture, this song would be kitsch even here in the US, so I cannot imagine this not being a literal circus at MGP.”

David – 0 – “Who made this and who approved it?!?!? Back to the circus with this!”

James – 5 – “On the plus side it’s fun. And sure, it’s refreshing that someone is bringing something uptempo and in the spirit of swing to a Eurovision national selection. On the down side, this is not that good an example of swing. The lyrics are daft, the switching between English and Norwegian is clunky and nonsensical (pick one or the other), and instrumentally it just checks the boxes for a standard swing song without bringing anything special.”

Melanie – 2 – “Were do I have to start? I think there are fans for this kind of genre, but I’m not one of them. I’m glad to see Melodi Grand Prix to try something else than the standard pop song we see a lot in their national final. But this is not the good way to go. Mr. Hello is too repetitive. I have the feeling she’s singing the sentence over and over again. Maybe she can dress it up with a splendid staging, but for now, it’s just not my cup of tea.”

Roy – 1 – “Yeah no, this is 100% not for me. I do not get any satisfaction from this and can’t wait for it to be over. It reminds me of a circus/carnival from the past with freak attractions and weird stuff like that. I’m not sure if this has a market, but that market surely isn’t me…”

Total = 11 (avg. 2.2)

Kevin Boine – Stem på mæ

Daniel – 5 – “This is a feel good song that is riding the coattails of low-key yoiking. It is easy to get the rhythm and follow along. The slow-down breaks the pace but I think that makes the song more interesting because it gives that unique factor. The key change, I really could have done without it if I am being honest. It’s a nice song with a banjo and in Norwegian so it is at the very least original.”

David – 1 – “What a hillbilly song! “Vote For Me”, that’s the title of the song… Well, good thing I don’t live in Norway, cause I feel bad for the people who have the possibility to vote for this. A desperate song with all to many things added in it. Become a politician instead, cause that future is already looking a lot more brighter.”

James – 3 – “This is kind of crap. Sorry. There are moments here, but it’s a disjointed mess. He’s asking you to vote for him, but then there’s a middle finger “get in the ring, mother%$&%r” moment after some joiking. And then the slowdown of the verse and the obnoxious key change just adds to the cauldron of unmixable ingredients. If you take three of the seven or eight ideas going through Kevin’s head, you’d have something. Remember the episode of The Simpsons where Homer gets to design a car and puts on so many horrendous bells and whistles that it bankrupts his brother’s car company? This is that car in song form.”

Melanie – 5 – “Alright so Kevin is serving us a mix of LT United “We are the winners” kind of lyrics with some Joik elements we seen last year from KEiiNO. To be honest, it’s very clever to sing in your native language that people have to vote for you, because the rest of Europe won’t understand your message and only hear the catchy melody. Very enjoyable, but can’t help to see it more as a parody that’s using elements of songs that did well before.”

Roy – 7 – “This song starts off quite interesting and fun. The chorus is maybe a tad lacklustre, but isn’t too bad. The Jojking adds something cool although it is a bit out of place. The “rapping” even adds something cool and I think the main sentence of the song has a good phonetical sound to it. BUT THEN…. At 2 minutes the entire song that I was starting to enjoy is getting ruined by this odd slowing down and speeding up cliché. Without that part I would have come out fully swinging, but it just puts such a downer on the overall feeling to the song to me. It goes from cheerful, playful fun to something a bit kitsch because of that. This is far and away the best option in this semi however and I did enjoy all the rest quite a bid for some reason.”

Total = 21 (avg. 4.2)

Liza Vassilieva – I Am Gay

Daniel – 6 – “Oh this is a coming-out song which is very sweet. Beyond the message, which is highly positive and important, the song is a fun pop song. I think it definitely is on the better aside of pop songs from this year’s MGP. Nevertheless, it is still somewhat basic, like your very traditional bubble gum pop, completed with equally fun imagery. I think it is a sweet song for what it goes for.”

David – 1 – “We all know that there is a large number of gay people within the Eurovision community, so right now I wanna know (yes, I’m asking this), is this an insult to gay people? The lyrics are absolutely ridiculous! I mean, I would’ve been insulted if I were gay… I think… I dunno anymore… Just be yourself anyway, if others can’t accept you as you are then screw them, but no need to go all out and show the entire world.”

James – 5 – “This sounds like the theme song to a Disney teens show. Murmansk, Russia born Vassilieva has had an interesting career – she has an advanced degree in a Social Science and has worked in data management for the government of Norway. And, um, some internet sleuths have noticed that she’s straight. I don’t think that is the point of this song, though. As a straight, she is expressing solidarity. She means well, there is no ill intent. The problem is the underlying track is lightweight bubblegum. Frankly, this might have been better handing off to a JESC candidate as teens are the one who need this positive message in this particular format (though I imagine a lot of JESC fans would blow a gasket if a song called “I Am Gay” was ever entered, but if Matheu can go cruising for girls in his 2019 entry, why would a harmless pride kids song be off-limits?). This song is very Hannah Montana era Miley. Eurovision is a venue for the “Wrecking Ball” Miley.”

Melanie – 4 – “So I remember called Lisa Borud’s song a typical Disney song, but this song fits more in a Disney series than Lisa’s song. I see Hannah Montana singing this song to tell the world that she’s gay. It’s very cute, but that’s it. She’s trying to make a statement with her song, but she isn’t gay herself? It just make the song a little bit confusing and I’m asking myself why she is singing a song that doesn’t have a meaning for herself. She’s just a Disney actress that has to sing this song for her role.”

Roy – 3 – “This reminds me of “Marry Me” from Finland 2013. Not that I am comparing the both musically, but because I hate the exact same thing in it. I don’t want to rain on her parade, but I just really dislike this. Not because of the message, but because of the way it is trying to be presented to us. I am always a big preacher for finding ways to write creative lyrics. I already found last year’s “Proud” too straight forward for me to get into it and like it. Any other semi or selection, this would be getting even lower of a score, but I guess there is a song in this that is sooo much worse than this even. At least the melody is decently well produced and her voice sounds good.”

Total = 19 (avg. 3.8)

So, where does this leave our thoughts on Semi-Final 5?

  1. Elin & The Woods – We Are As One – 28
  2. Kevin Boine – Stem på mæ – 21
  3. Liza Vassilieva – I Am Gay – 19
  4. Jenny Jenssen – Mr. Hello – 11

As #YOU can see, we think Elin & The Woods would be most deserving of that spot in the final. But will this be the case? We’ll find out later tonight!

Who do #YOU want to represent Norway in Eurovision 2020? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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