Review: Norway (“Melodi Grand Prix 2020”) – Finalists

NORWAY

Norway will select an artist and a singer for Eurovision 2020 via the traditional selection process: “Melodi Grand Prix 2020
After 5 weeks of semi-finals, “Melodi Grand Prix 2020″ will come to an end on Saturday the 15th of February 2020.
10 artists will compete for representing their home country Norway in Eurovision 2020.
5 among them pre-qualified for the final, due to a decision of NRK (The Norwegian broadcaster). The other 5 qualified for the final, after winning in semi-finals.
In this post, I will review the 10 songs.

The running order is still unknown, so the order in the article will be decided by the semi-finals where each singer performed in.

#1.Sondrey – Take My Time (pre-qualifier)

Sondrey

It’s a Dance-Pop song with R&B motives. The genre and the color of voice reminded me of “The Weekend”. Sondrey is wearing a  red jacket and standing on a lighten cube with a microphone stand. The verses are characterized in fast R&B singing. I was waiting for an impressive chorus, but it just was weaker than the verses. In the first half of the performance, the singer and the dancers stand on their cubes. Afterward, they move to the front of the stage. There is a strong element of camera shots and lighting in the performance. honestly, there is nothing really special in the song or in the performance. It is very similar to the Swedish act in Eurovision 2017.
#2. Raylee – Wild (semi-final 1 qualifier)

Raylee

It’s an ethnic dance-pop song. The song is opened with massive acoustic guitar strings.
There is an atmosphere of nature and jungle in it.  Raylee moves and dance on the stage with a lot of confidence. 4 dancers join here on the stage. There are a few Latin motives in the chorus.  The instrumental sections after the chorus are the best part of the melody. The verses have ore “acoustics” properties.
My main criticism is the song isn’t original. It sounds like a mixture of a lot of previous Eurovision songs like “Toy”, “Fuego”, “Chameleon”. The song is decent and modern, but I expected an original song.

 

#3. Didrik & Emil Solli-Tangen – Out of Air  (pre-qualifiers)

P 20 NO – Didrik & Emil Solli-Tangen – Out of Air

It’s a mid-tempo pop ballad. Emil opens the song with a dark vibe. Afterward, his brother Didrik is singing ant it becomes “brighter”. There is a screen where family photos are shown. They are wearing identical outfits (blue suits). The genre can be described as a boy band from the previous one-two decades. The brothers sing in a stable harmony. They show versatile vocal abilities. The chorus is being sung in higher voices. 2 children are dancing on the stage. In some way, they represent two singers. Of course, the two children won’t be able to dance on the Eurovision stage.
The song is catchy and decent. I would revamp it into a darker version, so the final outcome would be less predictable.

 

#4. Rein Alexander – One Last Time (semi-final 2 qualifier)

Rein Alexander

This is a Viking power ballad. The song talks about self-empowerment. It opens with a dated instrumental section. The stage is dark and full of thick smoke. Rein is singing in a low and deep voice. Suddenly, 6 dancers are getting out of the smoke. The chorus continues directly the melody in the verses, it’s more powerful. The chorus can belong more to the world of rock music. The dancers have a  big impact on the final outcome.
I see some common lines between this entry to the song of Denmark for Eurovision 2018.
I think that performance lifts up the song more than it is as a studio version.

 

#5. Akuvi – Som du er (pre-qualifier)

Akuvi

It’s another ethnic dance-pop in the line-up. This time, we get it the Norwegian language and with Rap singing. Akuvi and her 6 dancers are wearing black and orange outfits.  The verses are sung in mode of fast singing and/or rapping. The bridge has a drop of beats. while the chorus is more rhythmic and relies on dance-pop motives.
My main problem here is that Akuvi isn’t a strong vocalist. The instrumental sections after the chorus make the song better. I’m more satisfied with her dancing rather than singing. The verses lack identity, while the chorus is more catchy.

 

#6.Kristin Husøy – Pray For Me (semi-final 3 qualifier)

Kristin Husøy

It’s’ a soul-pop ballad. In the beginning, the shots are black and white. The stage is pretty black and there is smoke on the floor. The song has a happy vibe in it, although the described story isn’t that happy. She tells about a harmful relationship she is going through. She asks us to pray for her, so she can get out of this situation.  I really love the warming and unique voice that Kristin has. The end of the lines in the chorus is characterized in prolongation of pronunciations.  The section after the chorus includes whistles and moanings. The pick of the song arrives after one of the chorus occurrences. She is singing higher than usual. She is clapping according to the rhythm and her backing vocalists are supporting her and doing the same. The 4 backing vocalists are bring exposed and all of the five (including Kristin) move to the front of the stage.
Kristin has got a beautiful voice which is really suitable for the genre. The son itself is well written and composed. The production keeps it alive and interesting.
Kristin pours to us all of her misery and hardship.

 

#7. Ulrikke Brandstorp – Attention (pre-qualified)

Ulrikke Brandstorp

It’s a power ballad with classical motives. The song is opened with a violin and a cello solo. Afterward, Ulrikke confesses “I find myself longing for attention”. It’s a painful song where the singer is asking us to look deep in her soul. She has got an impressive and strong voice. There is a short beat that keeps returning in the song and being almost muted ib the bridge. The chorus emphasizes the clarity and beauty of her voice.  In the pea of the song, she is singing in a higher voice, almost unplugged. thereafter, we get the wishful returning of the violin and cello. The performance is simple, but there is no need for something else.
This is the most complete and “ready” song in the line-up, it is just meant to be for Eurovision (and even beyond).

 

#8. Magnus Bokn – Over The Sea (semi-final 4 qualifier)

Magnus Bokn

It’s a traditional country-pop ballad, with American influences. The song is opened with a violin solo. The melody in the verses is based on guitars playing. In the verses, Magnus is singing in a calm way, almost to himself. The guitarist is being used also as a backing vocalist. The melody in the chorus doesn’t include the guitar, but the violin is back. His singing in the chorus is more convincing and powerful. Moreover, the performance includes some traditional dancing. The melody is just bigger than the lyrics and the song itself. The whole package starts to be attractive only in the chorus which is way too late.

 

#9. Tone Damli – Hurts Sometimes (pre-qualifier)

Tone Damli

It’s a mid-tempo ballad. The melody is based namely on piano. In the beginning, Tone is standing in separate space with a curtain behind her. The camera shots show here in different situations, in some of them she is even without a microphone. At the beginning of the chorus, she is standing with her back to the crowd where most of them have ballons and flashlights. In the chorus, guitar playing is being added and we also can hear backing vocalists. In the middle of the song, she is standing with her face to the crowd. The song is catchy, but far from being original. The style and arrangement fit more to Eurovision 2000-2003 than Eurovision 2020. Tone has proven herself before as a good singer, but her current effort isn’t enough.

 

#10. Liza Vassilieva – I Am Gay (semi-final 5 qualifier)

Liza Vassilieva - I Am Gay

It’s a mid-tempo pop song. We will start by mentioning that the singer herself isn’t LGTB member, she performs the song as an act of solidarity.  The song itself is a typical teenager’s Tv series theme song. Liza is wearing glitter clothes. The song is pretty predictable and it’s radio-friendly. Nothing special happens in the song as a musical entity or in the performance. however, Liza is really cute and she has got the right energy for the song.

 

Norway 2020 (Melodi Grand Prix 2020, Eurovision) (ESCBEAT.com) 310

 

My Ranking

01 – Ulrikke Brandstorp – Attention
02– Kristin Husøy – Pray For Me
03– Didrik & Emil Solli-Tangen – Out of Air
04 – Raylee – Wild
05 – Rein Alexander – One Last Time
06 – Sondrey – Take My Time
07 – Tone Damli – Hurts Sometimes
08– Liza Vassilieva – I Am Gay
09 – Magnus Bokn – Over The Sea
10 – Akuvi – Som du er

 

My Prediction

I see one of the following as a potential winner of MGP 2020 (again, as a prediction) with an Importance of order:
Raylee, Ulrikke Brandstorp, Sondrey, Kristin Husøy 

I live in Israel and watch Eurovision since the early 2000s. I work as a mathematician but have a big interest in singing, music, and writing

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