Monday, February 07, 2011

MGP: My preview of the final

For some strange and inexplicable reason, I found Norway's Melodi Grand Prix to be a bit of a disappointment this time round. It says a lot when the best thing about the whole contest was the Heat 2 interval act when Alexander Stenerud teamed up with fellow former contestant to deliver a medley of his MGP classics...and made us all realise that's what the contest was missing this year.

So after the usual three heats and second chance contest here is the final line-up.

1. "Vardlokk" - Helene Bøksle: No matter how many times I hear this, I just can't get into it at all, even if she delivers it well enough. I guess it's just my personal taste but these folk/ethnic entries just aren't really my thing :(

2. "Not That Easy" - Åste & Rikke: Unfortunately this has very little in the way of redeeming features for me either, and I'm at a loss to understand how this made it to a final.

3. "You're Like A Melody" - Hanne Sørvaag: Despite her obvious songwriting pedigree, this fell short of my expectations. It's pleasant enough, don't get me wrong, sounds like a Corrs album track or something (!) but she seemed a little nervous when performing it and she'll need to conquer the nerves on Saturday if she's to have any chance of winning.

4. "Depend On Me" - Babel Fish. On the down side it's maybe a little too slushy and sentimental. On the plus side, it was the only song which stuck in my memory and I think Europe's voters could really fall for it thanks to its simplicity, melody and anthemic feel. I thought of a couple of things when I heard this: 1)Crowded House, and 2) Norway's 2003 entry "I'm Not Afraid To Move On", which is one of the loveliest ESC entries ever. Despite it appearing to be a done deal, with "Haba Haba" clear favourite to win, I wouldn't write the Fish off just yet.

5. "Dance Tonight" - The BlackSheeps. Despite the title it's a multilingual effort by an act which apparently was in MGP Junior, (which I don't follow). It's OK, got that Pink/Katy Perry vibe and the lead singer's got a good voice, but the chorus gets a bit annoying after a while and I can't see it getting a good result on Saturday.

6. "Haba Haba" - Stella Mwangi. "Waka Waka eh eh..." oops sorry it's actually Haba Haba, which is a lively and catchy crowd-pleaser, while Stella herself is a charismatic and fun performer. The downside to this was her very flat vocals on the verses, which let the song down - but that chorus is soooo catchy and I can understand why it's the favourite. It would be a very interesting and groundbreaking choice for Norway if it was to win MGP!

7. "Alt Du Vil Ha" - Sie Gubba. I guess this is some kind of Norwegian folk-rock-dansband variant, but I'm not a fan. It's a little too bland and old-fashioned.

8. "Fire Below" - The Lucky Bullets. OK, checking the calendar to see it's not 1956. The Baseballs have much to answer for, not least this bunch of rockabilly revivalists. It has a killer draw, but if the Norwegian voters choose this to represent them at ESC then.....God, I'm speechless.

So....Stella or Babel Fish are my tips to win. Anything else will (IMHO) be a major let-down. And anyway, none of them are anywhere near as good as THIS!

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