Get your devil horns out and warm up the treadmill — the Nordic countries are once again bringing that je ne sais quoi to Eurovision in 2018. From the vikings of Denmark to a returning Eurovision winner from Norway, the North is coming with a vengeance.
The Nordics have a rich history at Eurovision. Seven of the last 20 winners have hailed from the Nordics — three from Sweden, two from Denmark and one each from Norway and Finland. Even Iceland has come close, with two second place finishes over that period. In fact, at least one Nordic country has placed in the Top 5 in all of the last 10 editions of the contest.
All five Nordic countries held national finals to determine their Eurovision 2018 entry. The field in Norway consisted of several Eurovision veterans, while Sweden tested out plenty of new blood as they chase a record-equalling seventh win. In Finland, Saara Aalto was internally selected, with a national final held only to determine the song. And as ever Denmark and Iceland staged finals that drew large domestic audiences.
Listen to each of the entries below and then vote in the poll. You can vote for as many songs as you like but you can only vote once so make your vote count!
Denmark : Rasmussen — “Higher Ground”
Following their victory in 2013 with Emmelie de Forest’s “Only Teardrops”, Denmark have endured a rough spell. Basim’s credible Top 10 finish on home soil was followed by two non-qualifications. Anja Nissen took the Danes back to the final in 2017 but finished 20th.
Denmark has emerged as a fan favourite with Rasmussen with “High Ground”. The song and staging have a rich viking influence, celebrating Nordic culture and history. This entry has Nordic written all over it but will its appeal extend further south?
Finland: Saara Aalto — “Monsters”
Finland has experienced tough times at Eurovision too, having failed to qualify in the last three contests. Their only win came in 2006 when Lordi prevailed with the iconic “Hard Rock Hallelujah“. This year, they are sending creatures of another sort with fan favourite Saara Aalto and her song “Monsters”.
The only female artist from the Nordic countries this year, Saara was also the only internally selected artist. She performed three songs at UMK and “Monsters” prevailed. “Monsters” was voted the best song in Finland but is it also the best song from the Nordics?
Iceland: Ari Ólafsson — “Our Choice”
Much like Finland, Iceland has endured three successive non-qualifications since Pollapönk qualified in 2014. All three of those artists were female soloists who failed to get Iceland through. This year, Iceland have turned to a young man to turn those fortunes around in the form of Ari Ólafsson. Ari’s national final victory caused a stir but his vocals are on-point and he’s incredibly telegenic.
Ari will face an uphill battle in 2018, with Finland being their only Nordic ally in the first semi-final. But Ari has a powerful weapon with that voice. Will it be enough to turn things around for the island nation?
Norway: Alexander Rybak — “That’s How You Write a Song”
He held the record for the greatest point total prior to the revamp of the scoring system in 2016. And many would argue that Alexander Rybak is the most iconic Eurovision winner of modern times. Well now he’s hoping to do it all over again.
“That’s How You Write a Song” may be divisive but it plays to Alexander’s strengths. We know he is going to put on an incredible performance…but will his fairytale continue with a second triumph?
Sweden: Benjamin Ingrosso — “Dance You Off”
Sweden have won twice this decade. They have finished in the Top 5 every year since 2014 and are one win shy of equalling Ireland’s record of seven Eurovision wins.
Benjamin Ingrosso brought slick choreography and sharp staging to win Melodifestivalen 2018. Will he be able to replicate that in Lisbon and take the trophy back to Sweden?