Review: “Melodi Grand Prix 2021” – Grand Final (Norway)

This Saturday, the 20th of February 2021, Norway will hold the national final of “Melodi Grand Prix 2021” – the national selection show for Eurovision 2021.
National selection included 5 semi-finals and a “second chance” round.
In each semi-final, 4 artists competed and only one qualified for the final.


26 artists competed this year at the “Melodi Grand Prix 2021“.
12 lucky artists made it to the final.
The broadcaster picked 6 automatic qualifiers in advance, 5 other artists qualified for the final after winning their semi-finals and the 12th semi-finalist got a wildcard.

(image credit: Eurovision Norway, Facebook page)

In this post, I will review the 12 songs that will be performed in the final. We will discuss them according to the running order.

#1. Atle Pettersen – World On Fire

Atle Pettersen has already participated in “Melodi Grand Prix 2013“. He has been chosen as one of the automatic qualifiers this year.
It started as a dark and mysterious dark pop.
The first verse includes finger snapping, keyboards and classical elements such as violin playing.
The chorus has more energy and it’s catchy. I have “The Weekend” vibes while hearing it. High notes at the end can be better. As for the staging, the red color is dominant. The dancing movements with the microphone stand are good.
Atle knows how to move and has tons of charisma.
It is one of the most polished and “Eurovision ready” performances of the MGP 2021


#2. Raylee – Hero

Raylee participated in “Melodi Grand Prix 2020” with the song “Wild” and ended in the top 4 in the grand final. This year, she qualified for the final after winning in semi-final 2.
Raylee returns, this time with a mid-tempo dance pop song. The song has wide influences of the 1980’s music. Raylee is a performer, not only a singer
I must confess I like the verses more than the chorus, although her singing in the verses is less convincing. The chorus is a little bit thin in the sense of words.
The melody is based on a typical dance composition, alongside a drum beat that can be heard along the song.
The shower element is one of the strongest components of the song.
Raylee is planning to change her performance for the song, focusing on changing the dancing movements.
In my opinion, the song was inspired by “I Need a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler

#3. Stavangerkameratene – Who I Am

Stavangerkameratene has been chosen as automatic qualifiers.
The song has been translated into English especially for the final. The original version of the song was in Norwegian language.
It’s a country pop song that you can hear on the radio while driving the car.
The melody is based on simple keyboards and guitar playing, with motives of violin playing.
In the verses, each member of the band sings a particular part of the song. Each one of them has a different color of voice: high, raspy and etc.
However, the chorus is being performed by all of them together. Vocally, it is stable and professional . Their harmonies sound really good. At the performance, they are standing near each other while singing. The floor has a led screen showing pictures of children (maybe the band members from when they were young).
Nevertheless, I am happy with the decision to perform the song in English. I think it made the song a little bit cheesy and full of cliches. It’s the middle of the road for me, not bad but not good enough to stand out.

#4. KiiM – My Lonely Voice

KiiM qualified for the final, after winning in semi-final 4.
It’s a power love ballad. KiiM has a wonderful warm voice that can belong to soul singers.
The melody is based on piano and string instruments. The song opens with a fading voice.
The verses are slow, sad, and exciting while the chorus is powerful and intimate.
In the C part of the song, we can hear KiiM giving us a key for his soul by out crying while the backing vocalists support him.
The lyrics of the song don’t fall into the range cliche, although they engage in a popular theme of love and loneliness. It isn’t random that the staging includes a dancer behind a curtain of strings: As KiiM is playing on the strings of our hearts.
KiiM shows impressive control over his voice with professional technique.



#5. Blåsemafian feat. Hazel – Let Loose.

Blåsemafian feat. Hazel qualified for the final after winning semi-final 1.
It’s disco dance pop song with modern production.
The main part of the song is the instrumental section that is based on trumpets playing.
Blåsemafian is a band of 3 trumpet players that attach the vocalists Hazel to that song.
My main problem here is communication. I didn’t like the concept at all: Hazel is singing behind the scenes while the band members are just playing and moving on the main stage.
The singing part is pretty short and repetitive. Another issue I had here was the vocals by Hazel that weren’t accurate. In general, the song has the potential to become a bop or even party hit.

#6. EMMY – Witch Woods

Emmy qualified for the final after winning semi-final 3.
It’s a dark alternative pop song. Emmy is a young singer with a fresh attitude.
She has a high and thin voice. The song starts with a section from the chorus. The first verse is being performed in a speaking style. The bridge is the best part of the song, vocal wisely.
The chorus is memorable and catchy.
Surprisingly, her live vocals were as good as in the studio version.
The staging was great: Emmy and her dancers wore black outfits, while video art behind her presented black building in the dark. Her performance also included pre-recorded videos that sometimes haven’t been combined well.
The only thing I would have sharpened is the break part that doesn’t look good.
Emmy reminds me a little bit of Tones and I from Australia, following her music style.
It is one of the most contemporary songs in the running.


#7. TIX – Fallen Angel

TIX has been chosen as an automatic qualifier by the broadcaster.
The song has been translated from Norwegian to English, but the new version hasn’t been published yet. Therefore, I am going to refer to the original version.
The melody is based on keyboards playing with a massive production.
It’s a pop rock song with influences of the 1990’s music.
The verses are a little bit faster than the chorus. The chorus is powerful and its namely thanks to the singer’s voice. Choosing to include backing vocals here is a smart decision.
TIX has a magic in his voice that you can’t ignore, it seems like his voice is already a part of the melody.
In the performance, TIX wore a white angel costume while he held gold chains that were connected to his dancers. The dancers wore black outfits and wings which may hint they were angels with “negative intentions.”




#8. Kaja Rode – Feel Again

Kaja Rode has been chosen as an automatic qualifier by the broadcaster.
It’s a mid-tempo pop song with influences of the 1980’s music.
What I love here is the way of doing high quality pop.
The song starts with keyboards playing. The first verse has a constant structure: “I’m a __” .
Thereafter, we can hear the electronic beat for the first time. Kaja‘s singing becomes stronger and more powerful, while the tension is built interestingly.
In the chorus, she is singing in a higher voice while she is moving on the stage. The third verse is more rhythmic and we can recognize again the familiar electonic beat.
After the second occurrence of the chorus, we have an electronic transition where Kaja is singing in a softer voice. It precedes a wishful moment of key change where Kaja proves how professional and outstanding she is!
The closure of the song is the first verse which creates a cyclic structure.
Kaja Rode is an amazing vocalist. She gave an excellent vocal performance in the semi-final performance. My only problem here was the camera shots that sometimes were just too far from her.
The staging reminded me a little bit of Loreen – Euphoria (Sweden Eurovision 2021 winner).


#9. Rein Alexander – Eyes Wide Open

Rein Alexander has been chosen as an automatic qualifier by the broadcaster.
The team behind the song are Rein Alexander alongside the 2 writers behind “Attention” (the Norwegian entry for Eurovision 2020, performed by Ulrikke): Christian Ingebrigtsen and Kjetil Mørland.
The song is a “James Bond” dark pop song with elements of rock.
It starts with a dark stage and Rein Alexander speech.
The verses are slow and his singing is effortless (in a good way). The melody in the verses relies on string instruments and keyboards. The chorus is powerful and fast. However, I had some difficulties finding the connection between the different parts of the song.
The ending of the song was just too much for me.
In my opinion, the song is good. However, the performance itself was just too musch: it was messy, including too many elements, and the dancers distracted me.


#10. IMERIKA – I Can’t Escape

IMERIKA qualified for the final, after winning semi-final 5.
It’s a lyrical ballad. The song starts with piano playing and slow singing. The singer’s voice is fragile, high and unique. The bridge prepares us for an emotional moment that comes after.
The chorus is simple, exciting and well structured. IMERIKA is talking about the world but also about herself. The second occurrence of the chorus contains a soft drum beat.
Thereafter we have a stunning instrumental part where we can hear cello and violins playing which gives the song a kind of Balkan vibe. The song ends with a shout from the singer and then returning to a silent version of the chorus.
The staging is simple but effective. IMERIKA wears a black outfit and the lighting are glamours just lie her hair color.


#11. KEiiNO – Monument

The band has been chosen as automatic qualifiers.In 2019, they won “Melodi Grand Prix” and represented Norway at Eurovision 2019 with the song “Spirit In The Sky“. They ended up in 6th place in the grand final.
The song is a mid-tempo power ballad. It starts with Fred joiking.
Alexandra sings afterwards with a fragile but powerful song. The melody is slowly built to a peak point where it becomes more upbeat. Although the song talks about the last station of life: death, there is something uplifting in the atmosphere.
Fred received a bigger place here, while Tom Hugo is a little bit left behind unfortunately.
Sometimes, the joiking may be just too much even though it has importance and diversity.
Alexandra creates wonderful drama through her intetpartiion. Her voice is as pure and polished as any pop singer would have preyed for.
The translated lyrics for Fred‘s part: “Our paths are still visible/ Even though we’ve lost our legacy/ When the rivers have run dry/ I’ll be knelling by the abandoned fireplace …… ” Everything you see/ is created by the past/ Everything you hear/ is yesterday’s echo“.
I would have changed the arrangement here: Giving Tom more lines to sing, changing the staging to something a little bit more lightened.
To sum up, it’s a very catchy song that almost everyone can enjoy. Teh producion is wonferful.


#12. Jorn – Faith Bloody Faith

Jorn qualified for the final after he had won a wildcard.
Among the writers of the song, we can find Åge Sten Nilsen: one of the Wig Wam members that represented Norway in Eurovision 2005.
This is a rock song. The song starts with a spiritual instrumental introduction.
The melody is based on electric guitar, bass and drums. Jorn is an excellent singer with a raspy voice. The song sounds like a good rock song from the 1990’s. As the song continues, the key changes and Jorn improves again that he is a performer you can rely on.
I think the song is lacking a surprising moment, although it is already good enough.
Another issue I have here is that the lyrics are a little bit kitchy.
We are grateful to have an international metal rock star participating in the national selection.

For me, it’s one of the strongest editions of “Melodi Grand Prix”. It isn’t a coincidence that “Melodi Grand Prix 2021” includes 26 songs, just like at Eurovision.
I see the whole lineup as a proper Eurovision lineup. The majority of the songs have the potential to be successful songs at Eurovision itself.

My Personal Ranking

  1. IMERIKA – I Can’t Escape
  2. KEiiNO – Monument
  3. Kaja Rode – Feel Again
  4. KiiM – My Lonely Voice
  5. Raylee – Hero
  6. EMMY – Witch Woods
  7. Atle Pettersen – World On Fire
  8. TIX – Fallen Angel
  9. Jorn – Faith Bloody Faith
  10. Blåsemafian feat. Hazel – Let Loose
  11. Rein Alexander – Eyes Wide Open
  12. Stavangerkameratene – Who I Am

My Prediction

At the moment, I only see KEiiNO as potential winners.
I predict that 4 out of the following 5 will qualify for the second round:
KEiiNO, IMERIKA, EMMY, Raylee, TIX.

You can listen to the playlists on different digital platforms HERE:

Spotify

AppleMusic

YouTube

Norway will perform in the second half of Semi Final1 at Eurovision 2021

You can find all the relevant information on our Eurovision 2021 homepage:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Eurovision-2021-Homepage.jpg

Doron Lahav is 28 years old guy who lives in Israel. Doron watches Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and also shows interest in singing and writing.

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