Review: “Melodi Grand Prix 2023” Semi-Final 3 (Norway)

On Saturday, the 28th of January 2023Norway will hold the third 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.
The running order will be:

  1. Akuvi – Triumph
  2. Tiril – Break It
  3. Skrellex – Love Again
  4. Eline Thorp – Not Meant to Be
  5. Stig Van Eijk – Someday
  6. Maria Cein – Freya
  7. Atle Pettersen – Masterpiece

#1. Skrellex — Love Again

It is a sclager pop song, with influences from Rupaul’s drag race.
The song starts with a dance club beat and drum beat combined.
The first verse relies on an upbeat beat composed of rhythmic beat and some studio effects.
We can hear fading backing vocals as well.
Pre-chorus is more festive and has a faster beat.
The chorus continues along the same line, with a significant vocal presence. Towards the end, we get a pre-recoded falsetto singing.
The second verse has almost the same structure as the dance club beat.
The second per-chorus sounds more like an empowerment song, however it is still danceable.
Thereafter, we get another chorus. After the chorus, we have a long instrumental with electronic production. The part that comes after is one last chorus with modulation.
First of all, among all the drag acts this season (one in “Benidorm Fest 2023” and 2 others in “MESC 2023″), this is the the best one with the most professional vocalist.
However, the song is too repetitive (melody wise).
The production gives is the vibe of a gay dance-club song from 2005.
It isn’t necessarily bad, but definitely not a song with huge audience potential.

#2. Tiril — Break It

It is an emotional ballad.
The song starts with a short piano introduction.
Tiril opens the song with her noticeable and unique voice.
The first 2 verses are slow and exciting. She sings it with a mid-low tone of voice. From time to time, she uses some minor manners in her singing.
The pre-chorus suggests more tension to the listener, it is a bit faster, but still permits her to showcase her emotions and fragility through voice. She sings it with a slightly higher tone and towards the end we can hear some vibrato and echo effects. The background effects are gone as the chorus begins. At the beginning of the chorus, the production is acoustic, based on simple piano playing and accurate singing. Thereafter, we can hear string elements accompanying the melody.
Immediately after, the third verse arrived, it was pretty short and preceded the additional pre-chorus.
The melody of this part is also based on the string elements.
The second chorus is more melodical. we can hear backing vocalists supporting her.
Their choir singing builds the required contrast between power and brittleness.
Vocal wisely, she uses a more fragile and high tone of voice, reaching all the notes successfully.
The last chorus is also the peak point of the song, where she gives some high notes and delivers emotions.
Some might claim this is quite a standard ballad. But I don’t see it this way.
However, even though it suggests a “Simple recipe” it pierces the heart.
She is a very talented performer and you can’t ignore her connection to the text.
The combination of piano and string elements elevates the song.
Let me end with a confession: I cried the first time I heard it.
For me it is a sign of the huge emotional potential of this excellent ballad. Not to forget how memorable it is. Well done!

#3. Akuvi (MGP 2020) — Triumph


It is a Latin R&B pop with African elements.
The song starts with humming and a short part of the chorus. The melody of this short part is based on string elements. The first verse is bases on a cyclic beat, Akuvi sings it effortlessly at the beginning. The second chorus is more upbeat, and her singing steps towards the R&B genre.
The chorus is catchy, and includes some a support of backing vocalists.
The first part of the chorus relies on keyboards playing and the emphasis in on her voice.
The second part of the chorus brings back the tribe drum beat, including creating a short instrumental part.
The third verse relies on a drum beat, but it less rhythmic than the chorus. Her singing is faster, and it moves between R&B to almost hip-hop, including some manners.
The chorus arrives again, she starts is with a lower tone of voice and being supported by backing vocalists. This time the hook/drop is longer and the volume of the drum beat is higher.
The bridge comes after and it gives the same melody as in the introduction, however this time is longer. This part breaks the regular melody of the song by bringing more classic sounds, relies on string elements. It is followed by another chorus that comes almost with no melody besides the drum playing. With some singing manners, she takes us to another chorus where backing vocals are getting stronger.
It is a different song in the mix, and therefore it will stand out.
I loved the fact it isn’t uniform in its structure.
In some cases I have had a difficulty to understand part of the lyrics. Reducing some of the vocal improvisations can be more pleasant as well.

#4.Atle Pettersen (MGP 2021)  — Masterpiece

It is a pop ballad.
The song starts with a short instrumental part, composed of piano playing.
The first verse is slow, Atle sings is with a soft and mid-high tone of voice.
towards the end of the first verse, we can hear secondary keyboards playing.
The second verse continues the same line, when the emphasis in on his voice.
The chorus is emotional and catchy, he brings a warmer color of his voice. The chorus includes some orchestral elements in its melody.
The third verse has a more acoustic style, the melody is based on guitar playing, with echo processed backing vocals. With soft voice singing, he leads us to the second chorus. This chorus has a different tempo, based on drum and guitars.
The chorus continues with high note. Thereafter, we get the bridge of the song which starts with choir singing. Atle joins with powerful singing and pre-recorded backing vocals, accompanied by electric guitar. The very last part of the song takes us to the piano playing and fragile singing.
It is a Scandinavian mid-tempo ballad, almost by the book.
However, it doesn’t fall into the field of generic songs.
First of all, there is something going on with the melody. It combines several different instruments, and avoid of being flat. Atle showcases a wide range of vocal abilities.
My only “forced” criticism can be related to some predictable parts in the lyrics.

#5. Eline Thorp — Not Meant to Be

It is a pop rock mid-tempo song.
The song starts with piano playing, and shortly after we can hear Eline starts singing.
She start with a mid tone of voice, follows carefully the curvy melody and notes.
This part is emotional and modern. The first verse is finalized with some effects.
The second verse arrives immediately afterwards. It is more exposed, and we can hear light use in xylophone.
The chorus break the melody in unpredictable direction. It is more pop rock style, with strong vocals and drums beat. The rate is faster, she sings it a mid-high tone of voice. Some of the words are performed in almost falsetto. The atmosphere is less personal, but rather more furious. However, it is still performed in a very gentle way.
The chorus is finalized with electric guitar stringing.
The third verse is more rhythmic. The melody is based on acoustic guitar, drum beat and electric guitar. The pre-chorus is much shorter.
The second chorus is faster and kicking harder in a good way.
The post-chorus brings a softer sides of her voice. This is the point where the piano is brought back to the melody.
Thereafter, we get another chorus, with wider support of backing vocals. This time it is performed in a more “melodical speaking” style. By this way, Eline evokes empathy, but still demonstrated fury. This part is dominated by drums and electric guitar.
The last part of it is softer and more melodical, as previously.
The song successes in mixing up different genres, while delivering emotions in the best way.
It has modern structure, but yes the first part is quite classic.
Eline gives a great added value with her wide range of voice.
The melody doesn’t progress linearly and that’s why the song is so addicting and also not so easy to perform.
Well done!

#6. Maria Celin — Freya

It is a folklore ballad.
Freyja (“The Lady”) is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr (magic for seeing and influencing the future).
The song starts with humming. The first verse is performed in a mid-low tone of smokey voice.
The melody is based on a dark guitar beat with a drum beat. Towards the end of the first verse, we can hear some backing vocals.
The pre-chorus is performed with a higher tone of voice. It is a bit faster, the tension is build by the bass and the beat. It is finalized with drum percussion.
The chorus is powerful and includes some vocal improvisations. The end of each lines is performed with a higher tone. The melody is based on a slower drum beat and string elements.
The backing vocals give create roar sound. The end of the chorus is classic and puts a emphasis on female backing vocals.
The second verse suggests different structure. It steps more into the dark alt pop direction. The melody is based on bass and electric guitar, alongside drum beat.
The backing vocals are more melodical and mysterious this timeץ
The second chorus is strong and catchy. “Let’s hit the drums of love” proceeds the tribal drums playing. Her vocal presence is strong, but she doesn’t push too much.
Thereafter, we get a short instrumental part, composed of violin playing with light use of drums and guitar.
In the part the that comes after she sings with a crystal clear voice and high note. These 2 lines in Norwegian are magical (and I wish, it would have happened earlier and more frequently).
She is accompanied by female backing vocalists in this bridge.
The song ends with a last powerful chorus and outcry.
It is a very powerful and memorable song. Her vocals are on point and beyond.
The atmosphere it tensed and dark, and in general it sounds like a “Game of Throne” soundtrack or just the natural continuation of “Hammer of Thro” (“Melodi Granf Prix 2022”).
I can already imagine the staging with black to white outfits, dark from time to time with blue lighting.
She can be accompanied by backing dancers/singers who will equipped with big drums.
It isn’t a song for everyone, but those who like this genre, will support it with full heart.
Excelent song!

#7. Stig Van Eijk (Eurovision 1999) — Someday

It is a reggae song.
The song starts with a child, who sings with a high tone of voice sounds like he wishes for something.
This part’s melody is based on keyboards playing.
Thereafter, the song becomes upbeat and uplifting with guitar stringing and drum playing.
A short introduction with humming leads us to the first verse.
Stig sings it with an easy going approach, accompanied by string elements, guitar stringing and drum playing. The song has a very clear progress and memorable beat.
In the chorus, the trumpet takes over the melody and puts the melody in more optimistic light.
Sometimes, the instruments win over his singing volume.
The second verse has a different structure. The string elements are the main component in the melody. We can hear a choir of children respond to his singing.
This part is performed in a form of “question and answers”. It is quite forgettable and short.
Thereafter, we get the chorus, once again with the trumpet.
The part that comes after is a speaking-singing with drum beat and trumpet.
Some fading vocals lead us to the last chorus, which isn’t that energetic.
The song ends with the singing child from the beginning.
The advantages of this song is the good vibe it delivers, as well as the variety of instruments.
However, I was left bored, waiting for any surprise.
The song sounds dated, and it isn’t energetic enough to stand out as a reggae song.
The combination of singing child is too cliché for me.

Personal Ranking

  1. Tiril – Break It
  2. Eline Thorp – Not Meant to Be
  3. Maria Cein – Freya
  4. Akuvi – Triumph
  5. Atle Pettersen – Masterpiece
  6. Skrellex – Love Again
  7. Stig Van Eijk – Someday

Prediction


First of all, I would like to mention that this semi-final is the strongest among the 3.
Having only 3 acts as qualifiers looks almost impossible.
I can see 4 songs that stand out the most, probably 3 of them will qualify:

  • Akuvi – Triumph
  • Maria Celin – Freya
  • Tiril – Break It
  • Eline Thorp – Not Meant to Be

You can find our playlists here:

YouTube

Spotify

AppleMusic

The important dates for the “Melodi Grand Prix 2023″ are:

  • Semi-Final 1: Saturday, 14th January 2023
  • Semi-Final 2 Songs RevealedMonday, 16th of January 2023
  • Semi-Final 2: Saturday, 21st January 2023
  • Semi-Final 3 Songs RevealedMonday, 23rd of January 2023
  • Semi-Final 3: Saturday, 28th January 2023
  • Grand Final: Saturday, 4th February 2023

Which one of these 7 songs is your favorite?
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 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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