Norway is having a great streak at Eurovision. The country has finished in top ten for three years in a row. Hoping to continue that are ten artists, who will compete at Melodi Grand Prix 2016 this Saturday. Over the past week The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have listened and reviewed all the songs. Next to that, we asked you who should represent Norway in Eurovision 2016. Now it’s time to combine the poll results with the jury results and predict who could win the contest.
1. Laila Samuels with “Afterglow“
The positive: There are so many similarities between “Icebreaker” and “Afterglow” but while “Icebreaker” is having an identity crisis, Laila knows exactly what “Afterglow” is and she owns it. This is dark, sexy and takes me on a journey for three minutes and it would have no trouble keeping Norway in the top 10 once again. I’m confident nobody can deliver Norway a better result than Laila. (Antranig)
The negative: I like the chorus and it makes an impact — the first time around. But on repeat listen I get very bored very quickly. I’m not feeling the verses — she sounds Enya on barbiturates. She does loud and she does soft, but drama doesn’t come in two volumes alone. Ultimately I find the whole thing a tad forgettable. (William)
Wiwi Jury: 1. Wiwi Poll: 1.
2. The Hungry Hearts feat. Lisa Dillan with “Laika” (2nd equal)
The positive: This isn’t just a tribute to the Soviet space dog — it’s a touching and poetic look at isolation, lost love and our never-ending journey to nothingness. The Hungry Hearts use accents and intonation to great effect, taking us to the Cold War and back, all the while making us want to dance. And when we do it’s with love and nostalgia and an acute awareness of our missed opportunities and disappointments. I just love this. (William)
The negative: Firstly, I thought it was some trash, but I was enjoying it. But then the chorus came. That disco sound is very irritating. I personally hate such music and these old-fashioned electronic sounds make me sick. Sometimes it can be very catchy and it may eat your brain (in a good way), but this is definitely not the case. (Mikhail)
Wiwi Jury: 2. Wiwi Poll: 3.
2. Agnete with “Icebreaker” (2nd equal)
The positive: “Icebreaker” wields a mattock in both hands as it re-defines notions of Eurodance. Agnete’s vocal delivery, although lacking in grit, possesses a pop-soprano quality that sharpens this number. “Icebreaker” is interesting, and continues to keep the listener guessing. Nothing is lamer than predictable pop. It’s refreshing to have three minutes of suspense, and creativity packaged in a Eurovision entry. (Deban)
The negative: The verses promise an epic dance anthem, but are instead followed up by a slow R&B ballad – and this tempo switch ain’t pleasant for the ears. The first chorus is just as powerful as the last, meaning that by the end I still feel like I’m “stuck in frozen water.” The whole production lacks personality and – just like the North Sea – leaves me feeling cold. (Edd)
Wiwi Jury: 3. Wiwi Poll: 2.
4. Suite 16 with “Anna Lee“
The positive: I don’t know who Anna Lee is, but she must be fierce to have all these guys dreaming about her. This is catchy, cute and sweet and wouldn’t be out of place on a 1D album. I like how the wistful and chatty verses lead to that choral-feeling chorus. If they can pull this off live it might just slay the pack. (William)
The negative: A boyband with a funny guitar song. Kaboom! I’m sure you have never heard something like this before. The lyrics sound a bit lazy, with all those na-na-na-nas. Personally, I’m a big hater when it comes to boybands, so it’s no surprise I don’t really like this one either. As I said, they bring nothing you haven’t heard before. (Luis)
Wiwi Jury: 4. Wiwi Poll: 5.
5. Freddy Kalas with “Feel Da Rush“
The positive: Oh. My. God. Freddy Kalas is giving me LIFE! Tropical, epic, and dat base drop! His sound is somewhere between Kygo and Ylvis – which happen to be Norway’s biggest musical exports. This crazy fun is exactly what all my friends watch Eurovision for, but if I’m honest I can see this charting all over Europe too. I’m so sick of Norway giving us forgettable ballads when they could send something like this and actually leave a mark on the contest. (Edd)
The negative: Please calm down… I’m left utterly speechless. This is the sort of quality one would expect from a national selection like Finland, Belgium or France, not Norway. The gruffness of Freddy’s voice makes the whole song sound as if it was a country number reworked by Avicii. Stop. Please. (Liam)
Wiwi Jury: 6. Wiwi Poll: 4.
6. Makeda with “Stand Up” (6th equal)
The positive: The only thing I love more than 60s beats is the the saxophone, so it’s understandable that I love this. We’ve already seen Meghan Trainor imitators this year in Malta and Hungary – however this is the first one that properly hits the spot. A very well-written song, a clean production — and a key-change just to top it off! If she goes all out with the 60s vibes then this 100% could go Top 5 at Eurovision. (Edd)
The negative: “Stand Up” is a nice, feel-good song, but like many of us already mentioned, it’s not very original. The chorus is repetitive, making the song catchy but also very annoying. The other songs in the selection are so much stronger. This doesn’t have any chance of winning — or even reaching the superfinal. (Sami)
Wiwi Jury: 5. Wiwi Poll: 8.
6. Elouiz with “History” (6th equal)
The positive: Packed with hope, promise and inspiration, “History” may be ambitious in its quest, but it’s cleverly disguised with a stripped production, allowing Elouiz’s dulcet tones to take flight. As a Disney-inspired song, it is refreshing to feel the confidence and hear the positivity in the lyrics. Life isn’t always all about boy meets girl. (Deban)
The negative: Remember when ballads were really popular back in 2002 and they sounded exactly like this, except it was Hilary Duff or Mandy Moore singing it? “History” is atrociously dated and dull. I’ve heard some of Elouiz’s songs before and they’re usually way more modern and current than this rubbish. Destined for the bottom of the scoreboard, I think. Sorry! (Josh)
Wiwi Jury: 7. Wiwi Poll: 6.
8. Stine Hole Ulla with “Traces“
The positive: This is so Disney it hurts. It’s so Disney that I can easily imagine a cartoon Nordic princess singing it, rather than the real girl Stine. I actually think a song like this could do quite well at Eurovision, especially in western countries where more kids are watching. Personally, it’s not to my taste, but I appreciate the craft that has gone in it. (Robyn)
The negative: I feel like this belongs on a Christmas album — and definitely not at Eurovision. It’s a bit too operatic for my liking and at times I feel like she’s shrieking rather than singing. I’m sure this could do great at a choral event or an audition for Phantom of the Opera. But as for radio-friendly Eurovision, this needs to go. (William)
Wiwi Jury: 8. Wiwi Poll: 7.
9. Stage Dolls with “Into the Fire“
The positive: This song reminds me a lot of the British band Busted. “Into the Fire” is a good throwback to the pop/rock golden era but I’m a little worried though as some might feel this song would have been more appropriate 10 or 15 years ago. I don’t think this song will fare well but I still like it and I’m happy it’s there. (Zakaria)
The negative: This made me yawn. I find it so difficult to connect with this song: yes, they are three grown men talking about their adventures as youngsters, and in a way it feels like when your grandparents tell you the story of their life. “Into the Fire” might contain some good rock elements, but the whole package sounds as if it was taken from the old times they are recollecting. (Luis)
Wiwi Jury: 9. Wiwi Poll: 9.
10. Pegasus with “Anyway“
The positive: Sing-a-long rock songs have notched up a bit of global success — think Foreigner, Michael Bolton and Styx. Those sounds are nostalgic, and work fabulously in stadium settings. Perhaps “Anyway” won’t woo ageist pop tarts, but the reality is that this is still a credible effort delivering three minutes of listening pleasure. (Deban)
The negative: “Rock is not my cup of tea. Attempts at rock even less. It’s poorly produced and I’m desperately trying to find something to hold on to and like in this, but it’s just impossible.” (Bernardo)
Wiwi Jury: 10. Wiwi Poll: 10.
Wiwi Jury Results
- Laila Samuels – “Afterglow” (7.76)
- The Hungry Hearts feat. Lisa Dillan – “Laika” (7.17)
- Agnete – “Icebreaker” (6.85)*
- Suite 16 – “Anna Lee” (6.85)
- Makeda – “Stand Up” (6.54)
- Freddy Kalas – “Feel Da Rush” (5.5)**
- Elouiz – “History” (5.5)
- Stine Hole Ulla – “Traces” (4.63)
- Stage Dolls – “Into The Fire” (4.37)
- Pegasus – “Anyway” (3.87)
* Ties are broken by preferential vote. For “Icebreaker” and “Anna Lee”, of our 25 jurors, fifteen rated “Icebreaker” higher than “Anna Lee”, while nine rated “Anna Lee” higher than “Icebreaker”. One rated them equally.
** Ties are broken by preferential vote. For “History” and “Feel Da Rush”, of our 25 jurors, fourteen rated “Feel Da Rush” higher than “History”, while nine rated “History” higher than “Feel Da Rush”. Two rated them equally.
- Laila Samuels with “Afterglow” 30.19% (372 votes)
- Agnete with “Icebreaker” 25% (308 votes)
- The Hungry Hearts feat. Lisa Dillan with “Laika” 15.58% (192 votes)
- Freddy Kalas with “Feel Da Rush” 8.28% (102 votes)
- Suite 16 with “Anna Lee” 6.57% (81 votes)
- Elouiz with “History” 4.46% (55 votes)
- Stine Hole Ulla with “Traces” 4.22% (52 votes)
- Makeda with “Stand Up” 3.65% (45 votes)
- Stage Dolls with “Into The Fire” 1.06% (13 votes)
- Pegasus with “Anyway” 0.97% (12 votes)
Total Votes: 1,232
Photo: Paul Parzych