TV: We have reached the third of five semi-finals in the Melodi Grand Prix on NRK. In addition, there will be a “last chance” broadcast before the national final on 20 February. Six artists join six pre-qualified artists. Tonight, one pre-qualified entry and four “challengers” will be presented from H3 Arena at Fornebu just outside Oslo.
A total of 26 songs are participating this year, and this is the highest number in the competition’s history. The winner of tonight’s gold duel was Emmy, who thus goes on to the final. We reviewed as usual song by song.
Dinaye: «Own Yourself» (Christian Ingebrigtsen, David Thulin and Dina Matheussen)
Dina Matheussen from Asker is only 17 years old and can turn away. She has a black belt in karate!
She danced her way to the semifinals in “Norwegian talents” in 2014, reached the gold finals in MGP jr., In 2016 and participated in the “Adult Grand Prix” which dances the following year. Last year she was in Idol, and now the half-Ethiopian artist must convince the jury that she is old enough for the Grand Prix. There is a lot of talent here, but Dinaye unfortunately sings sourly through most of the song and does not have the power of voice that is needed. It’s a shame, because it gets in the way of a catchy song after all. Not even the dance manages to cover this. I also wish she had had a more organic comp in her back. The sound image becomes more or less “mechanical”.
Big Daddy Karsten: «Smile» (Karsten Dahl Marcussen, Are Næsset and Pål Gauslaa Sivertzen)
Rap and Grand Prix? Why not. Karsten Dahl Marcussen (32) released his debut album “Cat out of the bag” in 2018, and the cat really came out of the bag when he two years earlier emerged as Scandinavia’s only open gay rapper. It can be a good combination, because the Grand Prix has a high star in gay circles. The dancers’ Village People variant probably strikes as well.
Tonight’s colorful onepiece is among the most special outfits I’ve seen in the Grand Prix, and can quickly become a topic of conversation. Big Daddy has chosen to combine rap and song – in English. Thematically, he is also on the move. “Smile” is a sweet declaration of love to a man: “I might kiss a boy or four / But you’re the only one I’d ever take a bullet for”. The chorus is catchy, it sounds much better than the Norwegian-language rap on the debut album. A proper “happy rap” is not at all the worst we can send on to Europe.
Emmy: «Witch Woods» (Olli Äkräs, Elsa Søllesvik, Morten Franck)
Emmy Kristine Guttulsrud Kristiansen (20) from Sande in Vestfold has been active in the choir Soul Children, and six years ago she also participated in MGPjr. She studies visual communication, and how well does she communicate on stage – and vocally?
I sense a Taylor Swift inspiration here, also in the phrasing, but she does not reach her ankles. Emmy runs the “fiddle trick”, a theme that breaks a bit, but the song is fragmented and without flow. In terms of voice, she still sounds like a junior, but she sings mostly pure! In terms of show, it is quite spectacular, but I still want to believe that the witch must be very good with the magic wand if she is to have any chance in a final.
Ole Hartz: «We are Norway» (Rein Mellbye Van Vliet, Eirik Næss, Ole F. Hartz Gravbråten, Magnus Hagen Clausen and Petter Bjørklund Kristiansen)
Ole Hartz (24) grew up in Åmot in Modum municipality, and is another undescribed magazine for most people – even though he last year released songs with Staysman and TikTok star Ida Celine. Thus, he is also placed in terms of genre, along with artists such as Freddy Kalas, Vidar Villa and Morgan Sulele and Katastrofe, who are both on the songwriting side.
In the Grand Prix, Hartz presents a drink / rølpe / party song that borrows elements from folk music, mostly due to the fiddle playing. It just feels like a mockery of folk music! Alexander Rybak may be the “model”, but this is miles away from the international winner in 2009. The chorus sounds a bit like a new football song, but it has an embarrassing joke text about a guy who sells a brush from a motorhome. Ole is a really happy boy, but not even the dance sits here. The song has as little to do in the Grand Prix as Staysman & Lazz’s “A well-baked pizza”, but it ended up in third place. So who knows?
“Tonight it’s going to be ragnarok,” Hartz sings. It can happen quickly – if he does not get help from the youngest in the family.
Kaja Rode: «Feel Again» (Magnus Martinsen, Mirjam Johanne Omdal, Andreas Gjone and Erika Dahlen – pre-qualified)
Kaja Rode (22) made a name for herself in ” The Voice” in 2017, and as a BI student she probably has something to fall back on if her singing career does not go so well.
But the voice she possesses is not certain she needs to think about. I imagine she’s heard a lot about an artist like Whitney Houston, and “Feel Again” is on soulpop street. The song follows a classic pattern, and builds up carefully before it is taken down again at the very end. Kaja drops both dance and show, and trusts herself. It’s quite liberating. She’s pre-qualified, so that does not mean much tonight. But – she has it purest the voice of all five who have been in action. This should have a chance in the final on February 20.