Today the next batch of seven hopefuls will hit the stage in Norway to compete for a spot in the Melodi Grand Prix final on February 4th – but only three will make it to the final. Last week the staff accurately predicted two of the qualifiers through their reviews, so who do we think this week’s three could be? Well we asked the writers for their thoughts once again, and they certainly delivered.

For the purpose of this review article five ESCUnited writers –  Boris, Connor, David, James, and Tyler – ranked all seven entries competing in the second semi-final on a 1-10 scale, and offered feedback on the entry. Then, each reviewer’s score will be averaged together to create an average rank. Without further ado let’s get to it!

Alejandro Fuentes – “Fuego”

Connor – “There’s a large part of me that feels like this is one of those songs that is somewhat blah in studio, but will light up the stage live. Compared to some of the other Latin inspired songs we’ve seen as of late, I don’t mind this one as much. Overall I think it’s just fine but it doesn’t stand out as much as I was hoping it would knowing Alejandro’s other releases.” 6/10

Tyler – I did not escape Sweden just to run into Alvaro Estrella again! I’m sure the live performance will be lively and fun, but the song itself doesn’t distinguish itself to me in a meaningful way. Hearing the Spanish out of Norway is cool I guess, but that’s all the song really has for it. Doesn’t sound unique enough to warrant going to Eurovision and it doesn’t dethrone Eleni has having the superior song titled “Fuego”, so who cares! Bye!” 4/10

David – “My brain didn’t even hesitate to think “Despacito”. Okay, I’m aware that there exists A LOT of songs, that are like this, even before “Despacito”, but I’m just sharing my thoughts here. However, because as I say, there are A LOT of songs like this, then I’m just immediately bored, literally no originality. Can be enjoyable, but dies out VERY fast.” 3/10

James: 6                                                       Boris: 3

Average: 4.40 out of 10

Bjørn Olav Edvardsen – “Turn Off My Heart”

James – ““Lyrically, the song’s central metaphor is a little ropey. I get what he’s going for with the metaphor in he wants to stop his wild heart going free and getting hurt, but every time I hear it I think, “you’re just going to drop dead, son. No good will come of that.” Anyway, he has a real pleasant voice and he written a serviceable ballad. Perhaps with lyrics focused on romantic or sexual discovery he’d improve this as that would be a better fit for the instrumentation, as it has more of a “champagne in the hot tub” vibe than a broken heart one.” 7/10

Tyler – “This song sounds like it’s the B side of the debut single from a former boy band member, and while to not everyone that’s a bad thing, it doesn’t jive well with me! It sounds dated to me, and while I think Bjørn sings well, this song doesn’t do anything for me at all. Perhaps my heart is already turned off by this? Who’s to say!” 5/10

David – “A ballad… NOPE! (Sorry, I just can’t, this is top tier cliché ballad… a genre I personally despise).” 1/10

Boris: 2                                                       Connor: 4

Average: 3.80 out of 10

JONE – “Ekko inni mig”

David  – “A prominent start, that completely crashes before take-off. This is the definition of 00’s Scandinavian club music, not that I don’t mind it, but it just jumps into these deep bass and heavy synthesizer beats, which lacks some proper instrumentation and quality. Credit for going Norwegian, since I actually enjoyed it lyrically the most.” 3/10

Connor – “Listen I REALLY want to like this, but I think that it’s a mixture of not my cup of tea, and I also find the opening sample line to be a bit repetitive and disruptive melodically. I think it’s a good addition to the line-up and represents a subsection of the Norwegian party-music scene, but the sad half chorus just ruins the moment for me.” 4/10

Boris -“Like many songs in this Semi, “Ekko inni mig” sounds it was written on autopilot –yoiking to a techno beat, it really doesn’t get any more “Token MGP party anthem” than this. Regardless, it’s makes for a very entertaining three minutes, with plenty of variation and absolutely no pretences, it provides me with the freedom to unwind after another stressful day at work. Probably my favourite of the non-Tresko crop so far.” 8.5/10

James: 7                                                       Tyler: 7

Average: 5.90 out of 10

Elsie Bay – “Love You In A Dream”

Tyler – “I don’t want to reduce this song to being a sophomore slump compared to “Death of Us”, but like…this is the same song lol. Whereas last year it was a breakup song, this is more of unrequited love, but the instrumentation and the musicality is the same to me, just a new coat of paint. I like it, but not as much as last year’s entry. I don’t doubt Elsie will blow away the public to get votes, but I don’t see her winning MGP. We’ll see though!” 6/10

David – “Oh dear Elsie, you are slowly winning me over, but there’s a long path still. Composition wise, I already feel it’s stronger than “Death of Us”, but seeing this being her artistic style in music, I would need something spectacular in order to fully appreciate it. I feel the emotions much better this time, but barely with any proper interest.” 3/10

Boris – “I dunno, Elsie Bay doing her Elsie del Bay thing. Obviously there are issues: pedantry, smugness, pretentiousness and also the clear lack of a target audience (who actually *listens* to this sort of music in their free time?) and yet… I like this lol. I’m a sucker for orchestral ballads and the instrumentation is just rich enough that I’m willing to overlook the instances Elsie’s lyrics tread into Word Salad territory (“why do we do it, what good does it ruin?” lolwhat?).” 7.5/10

James: 8                                                       Connor: 7

Average: 6.30 out of 10

Ella A – “Waist”

James – “At least this club banger is not lyrically obtuse. With “taste my poison” and how she instructs her lover to “watch her waist” all but graphically presenting the ways in which Ella wants to spend her evening with her (apparently) clueless beau, subtlety is not this song’s strong point. Neither is structure and pacing, as this could do with a lot more bass to emphasize the sexuality, as well as variation in pace, with a slower start and a more explosive climax. I’m not suggesting she rain down sex toys at MGP, but if she’s going to be blunt with her lyrics, she should just go all out and engulf the concept full bore.” 7/10

Tyler – “The best part of “Waist” was the breakdown towards the end where she sings in Portuguese, but I didn’t like the rest of the song nearly as much whoops! The beat is too cacophonous for me to get behind, but maybe the live performance will make me ignore that! I liked the vocals and the lyrics otherwise though. “Waist” feels high octane, and if Ella can pull off the live and not get lost, then I can see this making it to the MGP final. Good luck!” 6/10

Boris – “It speaks volumes for the ‘quality’ for this delfinal I’m already mourning the death of a repetitive Thot Anthem at the hands of Bjorn Olav. “NOW SHADDAP AND WATCH MY WASTE” is a sentence that embodies this MGP to a Tee though. ” 7/10

David: 4                                                       Connor: 9

Average: 6.60 out of 10

Swing’it – “Prohibition”

Connor – “What I like most about this entry is that it brings a new genre to the MGP stage much like how Ella is doing in this semi-final. We haven’t really seen a lot (or any that I know of) Jazz and so mad props to them for that! While I think with the correct staging this could bring a party mood to the contest, it could also go the opposite way and be a chaotic mess. I think it’s a gamble, and a perfectly fine song, just doesn’t WOW me so to speak.” 6/10

David – “Swing music surely has it’s niche and somehow is still alive in 2023. I must admit, it did put a smile on my face, and how can’t it. The instruments get’s full swing, with no holding back, so does the vocals. Far from the most original piece, but it can still be appreciated, at least until the limit is reached.” 4/10

Tyler – “I’m not a fan of this genre of music that glorifies bygone eras that reminds me of the Baz Luhrman adaptation of The Great Gatsby, so take this review with a grain of salt. My main problem with this song is that the lyrics seem to indicate that this could be used as a protest song for fighting for your rights, but it’s firmly ground in protesting the temperance movement in America from a century ago. The music style doesn’t do it any favors, and the song doesn’t translate to me as being applicable to anything BUT Prohibition. It dates the song immediately. The crazy thing is, that I could see this doing well in the televote in how much it sticks out to the rest of the field. However, I think this song sounds annoying, it’s trying to have a greater theme but it fails, and the 1920s weren’t that good of a time actually! Enjoy going to the final.” 1/10

James: 2                                                       Boris: 3.5

Average: 3.30 out of 10

Sandra Lyng – “Drom b bort”

Boris – “The most generic Norwegian ballad. Did they use Stable Diffusion to put this together? Sure, the Na Na Na’s are catchy but if this is all your song has going for it, it’s a ‘barrel, bottom of’ type of situation.” 5.5/10

Connor – “This song and Sandra have SUCH a good song and potential that is ultimately let down by a chorus comprised of the word “nah” – which to me is just lazy songwriting. Had this song had a different direction lyrically I think this could have been close to a perfect score but it just takes me out of the beautiful verses. 8/10

James – “I mildly like this song! Sandra sings beautifully and I enjoyed the lyrics, but the musicality of it feels over produced in a weird way? I think “Drøm d bort” could stand on its own without the crazy instrumentation in the song to make it grander. Sometimes less is more! I can’t help be a little disappointed by this entry, but I hope Sandra slays on Saturday!” 5.5/10

David: 8                                                       Tyler: 5.5

Average: 6.50 out of 10

The final ranking

With all seven songs ranked, the averages shake out as such:

  1. Ella A – “Waist” – 6.60
  2. Sandra Lyng – “Drom b bort” – 6.50
  3. Elsie Bay – “Love You In a Dream” – 6.30
  4. JONE – “Ekko inni mig” – 5.90
  5. Alejandro Fuentes – “Fuego” – 4.80
  6. Bjørn Olav Edvardsen – “Turn Off My Heart” – 3.80
  7. Swing’it – “Prohibition” – 3.30

That makes Ella A’s song “Waist” the winner of the ESCUnited reviews of Semi-final two, just .10 points ahead of Sandra Lyng. Our final qualifier based on these results would be Elsie Bay, who was another .20 points behind Sandra.

What do #YOU think of  our rankings? Let us know on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!

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