Eurovision 2018: Is Alexander Rybak representing Norway again?

alexander rybak

Photo Credit: NRK

Norwegian broadcaster NRK announced the 10 participants for their Eurovision national final Melodi Grand Prix. The actual show in which they choose their representative will take place on the 10th of March, but the songs are already released. We see quite a few famous Eurovision names return to the stage. Eurovision 2009 winner Alexander Rybak is one of them, just like last year’s Norwegian vocalist Aleksander Walmann. Stella Mwangi, who represented Norway in 2011, is part of duo Stella & Alexandra and Mørland, who took the Eurovision stage in 2015, is back as a composer this time around.

Alexander Rybak brought home Eurovision victory in 2009 with his song ‘Fairytale’. He won by a landslide and had an international hit after the contest. He has had some problems with his reputation in the past few years involving some anger issues, but he is ready for a fresh start. His Melodi Grand Prix 2018 song is titled ‘That’s How You Write A Song’ and on first listen it is a whole lot less violin-based than ‘Fairytale’. In the middle-eight the instrument still takes centre stage though. A guitar loop is prominent adding to the catchiness of the tune. ‘That’s How You Write A Song’ is infectious and settles in your mind easily, but I’m not sure if this is a good thing in this case. The lyrics are very simple, almost childish, and the track keeps repeating itself over and over without reaching any kind of climax. Even if Rybak manages to win MGP 2018, the chances of him repeating his Eurovision success are next to nothing.

Stella Mwangi‘s ‘Haba Haba’ failed to make it into the final of the contest in 2011 after a vocally questionable performance. She must have realized by now that she is more of a rapper than a singer, as Alexandra sings the chorus while she raps the verses. It is a catchy tune that mixes hiphop elements with a schlager-like chorus. It doesn’t really sound like a winner to me, but it is a charming entry. Aleksander Walmann provided vocals for JOWST’s ‘Grab The Moment’, singing Norway into the top 10 last year. He returns with ‘Talk To The Hand’. He came up with a swinging track based on a groovy bass line, but it is unfortunate that the main hook consists the lyrics ‘talk to the hand, because the face ain’t listening’, a bratty saying that we haven’t heard in a while and didn’t really want to hear again.

Mørland represented Norway with the intriguing ballad ‘A Monster Like Me’ together with Debrah Scarlett in 2015 and he composed ‘Who We Are’ for Rebecca this year. Although this track is not as emotional as the 2015 entry, it might be the best Norway has to offer in this year’s MGP. On first listen it has ‘talent competition winning single’ written over it, but the build up is beautiful and the chorus does not disappoint. If Rebecca can deliver the vocals flawlessly, this might work.

The only track in Norwegian comes from Vidar Villa, but sounds too old fashioned to make an impression in 2018, as it does not seem to be the kind of vintage that works these days. Charla K brings modern ballad ‘Stop The Music’ which is nicely produced but not memorable enough to stand a chance at Eurovision. Alejandro Fuentes was probably inspired by the success of tracks like ‘Despacito’, but I don’t see his ‘Tengo Otra’ be a successful Norwegian Eurovision entry. Tom Hugo‘s ‘I Like, I Like, I Like’ borrows from Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’, but is not nearly as hit worthy. Ida Maria‘s ‘Scandilove’ is a bonkers electro pop number that reminds me of Icona Pop, but lyrically this seems a little too cheesy to actually work. Last but not least there is Nicoline‘s ‘Light Me Up’ which sounds good on record, but I am not convinced this will work on the Eurovision stage. This is a song I would listen to at home, although the chorus is a bit repetitive, but it misses that spark that could turn it into a Eurovision success.

Based on the studio versions of the Norwegian songs I would choose Rebecca’s ‘Who We Are’ to represent the country, although I am afraid it might be too generic to give Norway another Eurovision top 10 result. Let’s see what happens when the tracks are performed live!

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