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From the folk dancers who appear to be doing Russian aerobics, to the blond backup singers dressed as Greek goddesses, Norway’s entry is full of what-the-f*ck moments. At the center of it all is Alexander Rybak, a Russian-born violinist who, by all accounts, is incredibly sweet and lovable. He celebrates his 23rd birthday on May 13—smack in the middle of the two Eurovision Semi-Finals. Will voters deliver him a present? (Update: On May 16 they did!)

Why Norway May Win:

First, his song Fairytale is catchy and has mass appeal: he takes gypsy-style folk music popular in Eastern Europe and translates it into something that will appeal to Western voters. Also, 75% of the entries are ultra-modern dance numbers that are hard to distinguish from one another. Norway is upbeat but different—like a gypsy DJ was set loose in the discotheque!

Second, Rybak looks like he’s from the Balkans—certainly that won’t hurt his chances in places like Serbia, Macedonia and Albania, all notorious for bloc voting. (Of course, he may not be as cute as everyone thinks. See images here.)

Third, this act has got so much spectacle! In the Norwegian final there were plenty of back flips and all sorts of things exploding. Last year Russia won with a world champion figure skater doing circles around the singer, so you really do need something special.

Finally, Rybak speaks fluent Russian—he lived in the USSR until he was four—so watch for him to make pleas on Russian-language stations throughout the former Soviet Republics and in Mother Russia.

Why Norway May Not Win:

Bookies have listed Norway as the favorite for more than a month, so voters may well be sick of him by the time the finals roll around. That could open the door for Greece, currently second among oddsmakers. Rybak may look like he hails from the Balkans, but Sakis Rouvas actually does! Expect the odds on Greece to narrow as the competition grows near.

And despite being more folksy, Fairytale still qualifies as a dance number—and those dance numbers really do start to sound repetitive during a two-hour broadcast. It’s possible voters will prefer a standout ballad, like It’s My Time from the U.K. or Malta’s lovely entry What if We? from Chiara Siracusa.

What do you think? Does Norway deserve to be the favorite? Can anyone stop this boy wonder?

Alexander Rybak Sings Jason Mraz

Alexander Rybak Is Sad He Can’t Respond To Your Texts

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[…] like Albania and Moldova who may not play well with Western audiences. Wiwi is convinced that Norway will not win this semi-final (despite the hype surrounding him). Even so, Norway will obviously contend in the […]

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[…] and camera tricks do not a true beauty make. Alexander Rybak has been heralded as Norway’s answer to Zac Efron, but Wiwi Bloggs can now reveal that Rybak […]

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[…] May 17 Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak arrived at Oslo’s Gardermoen International Airport, where a mob of screaming girls were […]

selin
Guest
selin

süper sin ryback harikaydı seni seviyorum

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[…] (in alphabetical order): Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway and Switzerland. After counting 6,935 votes, Wiwi can now reveal that Eurovision’s Next Top […]

Lucy
Guest

He is well cute He broke his string on the semi finals i laughed. Top 5 1. Turkey 2. Spain 3. Norway 4. Romania 5. Malta Good Luck Turkey I love ur song Hadise Good Luck Spain i love ur song ur so good Good Luck Norway I love ur song and u ur so cute u look like my brother Good Luck Romania ur song is fantastic its so good carnt stop singing it Good Luck Malta I think you deserve to win 3rd then 2nd and maybe now 1st Plz vote for the United KIngdome there really good… Read more »

nirgal
Guest

Haha — I still LOVE Romania!! I bet she will improve before the semi-final. Her song is one of the most entertaining of the year!!

nirgal
Guest

WE NEED TO FIND OUT!! also, the ukranian back-up dancers. blimey!

nefelh
Guest

the song is AMAZING…..Alexander Rybak for ever!!!!

ryan
Guest
ryan

hahaha this guy sucks hadise will win

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[…] candy (in alphabetical order): Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Norway and Switzerland. It’s your decision, Europe. Vote now! (And then vote for Eurovision’s […]

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[…] has kept a low profile. The Eurovision press has been talking about Greece’s Sakis Rouvas, Norway’s Alexander Rybak and Turkey’s Hadise for months. Voters may be sick of hearing about them by the time May 16 […]