I still love NRK's production values on this well-staged show, the hi-tech postcards showing the various facets of the host town, and the epic snowy landscapes of the opening titles. And so it was off to Kongsvinger for this week's instalment...
1. "Always Always" - Zuma. Taking the "acceptable in the 80s" theme to the limit, this was very very retro, very A-ha meets Erasure, and strangely enough I quite liked this but the lyrics are totally, totally bonkers!
2. "Would You Spend The Night With Me" - Cube. Possibly the most visually unappealing act at MGP for many a year and I don't care if I ever see them again, but I'd probably listen to it again if I don't think of what they looked like.
3. "A Little More" - Anne Hvidsten. Self-penned song which many other sites suggested would have been at home in the Estonian final. I get this idea. Pleasant but bland and didn't really leave an impact. She reminded me of Andrea Corr.
4. "Get Up" - Crash. Quite contemporary in an ESC way, their look reminded me of My Chemical Romance but they sound more like Busted. I actually preferred this to their song from last year ("Wannabe") and they performed it well. Written by Trond Holter from WigWam, too!!
5. "I'm In Love" - Sven Garås. It started like "When You Believe", it was OK, he looked quite pleasant but was a little shaky vocally and the overall result was, again, not too memorable.
6. "Hold On Be Strong" - Maria Haukaas Storeng. Old fashioned big anthemic inspirational mid-tempo ballad with in-vogue Winehouse-style backing. She's got a decent voice and this is a real contender, but she needs just a bit of restyling IMHO. Satin is soooo unforgiving.
Anyway Maria and Crash! are this week's automatic qualifiers to the final in Oslo Spektrum, whilst Zuma and Anne make the second chance contest.