Melodi Grand Prix—Norway’s national selection for Eurovision—has been part of the country’s pop cultural fabric since 1960. It was the first chapter of many Eurovision success stories including 2009 winner Alexander Rybak, and most recently Margaret Berger, Norway’s representative in Malmö (not to mention Adelen, Simon Fuller’s latest protégé). It was also the beginning for many Norwegian nul points…but lets forget about that! It’s fair to say we were all a bit surprised when NRK announced today that it’s changing the show’s format.
Unlike other Scandanavian selection shows such as Sweden’s Melodifestivalen, Melodi Grand Prix never held any open auditions or allowed anyone to submit an entry for the show. It was up to Norwegian music royalty to select the artists to compete. There wasn’t even a semi final until 2006! Perhaps owing to austerity, it was announced in May that the semi-final stages would be scrapped in 2014.
The Norwegians are playing the part of tease: the new format has not been fully revealed, but we do see a little skin. We know for sure that budding artists will finally be able to submit a song for consideration. Vivi Stenberg, a bigwig at NRK who oversees the song selection, hopes the move will light a fire under Norwegian musicians and songwriters. Here’s what she told our friends at Eurovision.tv:
I want good songs that reflect the music genres we like to listen to in Norway. I hope to be suprised so please think up something new and exciting.
She also ruled out “typical” Eurovision songs. So much for all of our euro-pop ditties…
So if you’re Norwegian, and feel like you have a musical bee in your bonnet, why not enter a song? NRK have stressed that they would prefer Norwegian composers to apply, but submissions from abroad are welcome. More information about the Grand Prix and application rules can be found on the NRK website .
Come on Norwegians! You have nothing to lose (and you have tons of oil money anyway). You might even win a free trip to Denmark!