Entries are still open for Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix national final. Again broadcaster NRK will hold one grand final show, where 10 selected songs will compete to be Norway’s entry in Ukraine – but this time, Norway will be bringing back an international jury.
The head of Melodi Grand Prix, Jan Fredrik Karlsen, spoke about the competition and revealed a determination to give Norway its fourth win at Eurovision. He said, “When one is the MGP-general, one can not go into such a competition and not have the faith to win. I am 100% ready to take the Eurovision Song Contest back to Norway.”
Organisers are expecting to receive around 1000 entries, from which ten songs will be selected to compete in the national final. The competition is open to songwriters from any country (*cough* Sweden *cough*), though NRK says it particularly wants to encourage Norwegian songwriters to enter.
Entries close on 11 September.
Return of the international jury
One big change for 2017 is the return of the international jury. Melodi Grand Prix has only used an international jury twice before — in 1985 and 1995 — and both times Norway went on to win Eurovision. Norway also looked to Sweden’s recent successes after replacing its regional juries with international juries at Melodifestivalen.
The exact details of the international jury system — the members and what percentage of the overall vote they will contribute — are yet to be determined.
Feel da rush
Melodi Grand Prix 2016 was won by Agnete and her tempo-switching song “Icebreaker”. Due to health issues, Agnete was unable to participate in Eurovision press events. Despite delivering a good performance in Stockholm, Norway placed 13th in its semi-final, ending its four-year qualifying streak, including three top-ten finishes.
MGP 2016 was initially struck with controversy, when Freddy Kalas’s song “Happy Rush” was disqualified after it was discovered he had plagiarised his own song “Cannabus”. However, Freddy was able to rewrite the song as “Feel Da Rush”, which eventually placed second in the Gold Final.
Another stand-out act from the 2016 competition was performance group The Hungry Hearts, whose song “Laika” became a fan favourite. The Hungry Hearts have since become regulars at pride festival events, and put in a memorable performance at #wiwijam.