Review: “Melodi Grand Prix 2023” – Semi-Final 2 (Review)

On Saturday, the 21st of January 2023, Norway will hold the second semi-final of “Melodi Grand Prix 2023”. 7 artists will perform their songs for the first time. 3 of them will qualify for the final, based on 100% public vote.
In this article, I will give a personal review of the songs.

#1. Sandra Lyng — Drøm D Bort (Eng: Dream You Away)


It is an ethnic ballad. The song is performed in the Norwegian language.
The song starts with a short instrumental part, based on keyboards playing.
The first verse is slow, and the melody is based on acoustic guitar and keyboard playing.
Sandra sings it with a soft voice.
In the pre-chorus, the rhythm is different: we can hear drums that are getting powerful, together with backing vocals. The chorus has more hymn flavor and it is mainly based on “Na na na”.
At the beginning, the chorus lacked any melody, but slowly it gained the melody back. The chorus is closed with backing vocals and drums. The second chorus includes slow drum playing and acoustic guitar playing. The rate is slightly faster, compared to the first verse. This second verse is closed with a long note. The pre-chorus is short and performed more powerfully. Once again, we get the chorus with almost no diversity in the lyrics. This time the melody includes some string elements.
The bridge starts with fast singing and it ends on a long high note.
Thereafter, we get the final chorus in bold production, based on orchestral string elements and male backing vocals.
Sandra is a talented singer-songwriter. The atmosphere of the song creates a nostalgic Viking era. However, the chorus let me down. I would be happier to get a chorus with more diversity in the lyrics. In addition, the chorus is too simple, melody wise.

#2. Jone — Ekke Inni Meg (Eng: Echo In My Voice)

It is an ethnic electro song.
The song starts with a backing singer of a female singer , her style of singing sounds quite close to Yodeling. Jone enters the song right after. He sings in a stable voice, with a mid-high tone of voice. The melody is based on electric keyboards.
The pre-chorus is performed with a higher pitch in its first half. There’s a soft beat which leads us along the melody. Thereafter, the rate is faster and Jone moves to sing is a slower rate.
The chorus starts with echo pre-recorded singing. The majority of the chorus is performed by the backing female singer. The chorus is based on a combination of 2 beats, one of them is drum beat.
The other part of the chorus is performed by Jone.
The second chorus comes just after. It starts as rap singing with a high speed beat.
The pre-chorus is more melodical and it is longer this time.
Thereafter, we get the chorus which starts with his singing, while the melody is based on keyboards. The backing singer returns while singing a specific loop in the chorus.
The bridge starts with echo singing, the beat becomes faster, and we can hear both of them singing.
This is the part where the song turns more into electronic style.
First of all, what bothered me the most was the lack of credit for the backing singer. It isn’t just backing vocals, but featuring artists.
The production is good, and the mixture of genres creates an interesting package.
It is enjoyable to get such songs in the Norwegian language.

#3. Swing’it — Prohibition

It is a swing jazz song.
The song starts with an instrumental part, composed of trumpet, trombone, drums and more.
The first verse is performed by a singer with mid-high tone of voice. The singing rate is quite fast.
The melody is based on wind instruments and drum beats.
The pre-chorus is based on a slightly different melody. The musical bars are longer and we get a warmer voice from the lead singer.
The chorus is based on percussion and wind instruments. Vocally, it is more impressive.
We can hear some backing vocals towards the end of the melody.
The second verse suggests a different style and structure. The singing is much faster, almost spoken word. The melody is simpler and the style is even more “punky”.
We can use her secondary voice for this part.
The pre-chorus is short and leads us directly to the chorus.
The chorus has a very important presence of wind and string elements.
After the chorus, we get vocal improvisations and later on a short instrumental part composed of the trumpet.
This leads us to the last chorus where the trumpet and trombone take control.
There’s something pure, innocent and fun about this entry.
The advantage is that it is different from the others in the line-up.
However, I am afraid it will be too niche for Eurovision. Will it be supported enough? I don’t think so.

#4. Ella A — Waist

It is an electro pop song.
The song starts with a short instrumental part, composed of electric keyboards and drum beat,
Echo backing vocals can be heard in the background of the first verse. She sings it very easily, the sentences are split by the rhythm.
Pre-chorus is catchier. She gives us a hint of her high notes towards the end of the pre-chorus,
The beat is becoming intense towards the chorus. In the middle of the chorus, we get a tiny break where echo-processed backing voices can be heard.
The electronic beat becomes more unique, as it is mixed up with a loop of singing.
The second verse has a more modest production and the focus is on her singing. We can still hear the familiar beat. In the pre-chorus, the beat is faster and she sings it with a higher tone of voice.
Once again, the chorus is catchy and it is built on the mixed singing sampled beat.
Thereafter, comes the bridge. It is sassy and perfumed with a different attitude. She sings in an almost spoken word style and in the Portuguese language (Ella A is Brazilian Norwegian singer).
The melody of this part is based on keyboard playing and a slower dance beat.
The fast beat comes back with festive Latin American pop elements.
The last part is the chorus which comes this time with a variety of processed vocals.
The song is very catchy, and the Latin influences elevate it even more.
The chorus is strong and memorable, but I still with it would have included more words.
Such an excellent effort.

#5 Alejandro Fuentes — Fuego 

It is a mid-tempo Latin pop song.
The song opens with acoustic guitar playing as an instrumental introduction.
The first verse relies on a simple melody. The rate of the first verse is quite slow.
It develops very predictably.
At the end of the first verse, we can hear trumpet playing which continues into the pre-chorus.
Pre-chorus is more festive, even romantic and faster.
The chorus starts with a different melody, the syllables are split between the different musical bars.
Towards the end of the chorus, we can heat the word “Fuego” several times.
The second verse relies on mid-slow tempo, with emphasis on trumpet playing.
Thereafter, we get an additional verse.
The bridge steps into a more Latin direction, where he sings faster. It continues to be an acoustic production and another chorus.
The whole song sounds like an acoustic version of “Despscito“. The song isn’t original and even as a copy it isn’t good enough. I was waiting for any peak point or an interesting interpretation.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t happen.

#6. Bjørn Olav — Turn Off My Heart

It is a singer-songwriter ballas.
The song starts with cello playing as an instrumental introduction.
Immediately after, Bjørn starts singing and the piano takes over the melody.
The first verse is based on a simple and monotonous piano playing. He sings it with a mid-low tone of voice, which is also deep and accurate.
The chorus starts with a higher pitch. The melody is still based on slow piano playing, but we can hear some symphonic elements.
The second verse is slightly faster, but still silent and calm.
The second chorus is more impressive, with greater presence of the string elements.
The chorus ends in a dramatic style with a pompousic long note.
Thereafter, as expected, we will get a modulation.
The last part of the song is very simple, a kind of unplugged with emphasis on his voice.
The string elements close the song.
The atmosphere is similar to the romantic male ballads from the 1990’s.
The song was just made by the book “How To Write A Ballad”.
It isn’t bad, but it also didn’t give me something I have never heard.
It is one of the songs that usually does nicely with the jury, but does very poorly with the televote.
In a time where semi-finals are determined by 100% public vote, it will be better to choose something more competitive

#7. Elsie Bay — Love You In A Dream 

It is a cinematic symphonic ballad.
The song starts with an instrumental section, composed of the piano.
The first verse is based on slow piano playing. Lyrics reveal the story from the very beginning.
She sings it with a mid-high tone, some of the syllables are longer.
The pre-chorus has a different structure. The melody is still based on piano playing, but this time the rate is faster. It builds tension before the chorus. The sentences are cut, and sometimes it sounds like a series of words without any logic, maybe demonstrating the urge to tell a story.
We can hear some backing vocals in parallel.
The chorus is the most dramatic piece of the song. It is a high quality cinematic track. Elsie reaches a very impressive pitch in this part. The melody is based on piano, cello and violin. Backing vocals wrapps the melody. The atmosphere is emotional, and yet doesn’t fall in the field of cliches.
The second verse repeats on the structure of the first one, but is is faster. It ends on a long, high note that sounds like an outcry.
The second chorus puts the orchestral elements in the front, however her singing is still powerful.
The bridge starts silently with simple piano playing. Thereafter, we get a very impressive instrumental part, based on violion playing.
The song ends with the last memorable chorus. This time the pre-chorus comes right afterwards with a very similar melody. As the end of the song becomes closer, the intensity of the instruments create a “tight bubble” of pressure that explodes with Elsie’s long note.
It is a song you can’t ignore. It isn’t a regular ballad, but something that was created very wisely and carefully. The 3 different parts of the song seem like they are rooted from different songs, but magically they complete each other. Another important choice here was the combination of string elements with piano.
Elsie‘s voice is from another world. Well Done!

My Personal Ranking

  1. Elsie Bay — Love You In A Dream
  2. Ella A — Waist
  3. Jone — Ekke Inni Meg
  4. Sandra Lyng — Drøm D Bort (Eng: Dream You Away)
  5. Bjørn Olav — Turn Off My Heart
  6. Swing’it — Prohibition
  7. Alejandro Fuentes — Fuego

My Prediction

I see 2 solid qualifiers among the 7 participants:

  1. Elsie Bay — Love You In A Dream
  2. Ella A — Waist

As for the 3rd spot, I believe it will be one of these, with a tendency to the first one:

  • Jone — Ekke Inni Meg
  • Sandra Lyng — Drøm D Bort (Eng: Dream You Away)

Which song is your favorite in the first semi-final?
Who will qualify for the final?
Is Norway’s song for Eurovision 2023 included in this semi-final?

Our playlists keep on updating every day, and you can find them here:




Who will be the 3 artist to earn a spot in the final?

Don’t forget to visit our full guide to Eurovision 2023: Our Eurovision 2023 homepage

Doron Lahav is 30-year-old, who lives in Israel. Doron has been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and shows interest in singing and writing.

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