Wiwibloggs continues our series looking at the countries currently competing in the Eurovision Song Contest and why we love them — for reasons right, wrong or in between. Today we will be looking at fjord-laden Scandinavian paradise, Norway.
Norway first appeared at Eurovision in 1960 and boy it has been a rollercoaster ride of highs, lows and violins. They have brought so much to the table that ten reasons may not be enough to cover all that encompasses their greatness. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at 10 reasons why we love Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest!
1. A record-breaking history
There is no country with a Eurovision track record quite like Norway’s. They not only have the most last-place finishes with 11, but also the most nil points with a surprising four. At the other end of the spectrum, they have finished in the top five eleven times, won three editions — and one of those wins set records.
2. A great spirit
Despite a record that would make even the most determined countries have second thoughts about returning, Norway has never quit. They have only missed the contest twice — once in 1970, as part of a large boycott over the controversial four-way first-place tie the year before, and again in 2002 as they were relegated. Results were never part of the question. Norway knows that regardless of placings, they will keep their head up high and keep singing.
3. An almost wordless win
The 1995 victors, Secret Garden, are without a doubt one of the most unique and remembered winners of all time. Their entry, “Nocturne”, was almost entirely instrumental, with just two short verses totalling 25 words. Some consider “Nocturne” as being sort of a protest at the language limitations in the contest at the time and how English-speaking countries (especially Ireland) seemed to be more favoured in results because of accessibility.
4. Symbolically continuing the Irish winning streak
Speaking of Ireland, while Secret Garden entered for Norway, it was a half-Irish half-Norwegian act, with the duo’s violinist, Fionnuala Sherry, being Irish. This means that — unofficially, at least — Ireland had a five-year winning streak thanks to their Nordic friend.
5. Introducing Africa
Norway has not been afraid to recruit singers from every walk of life and different musical styles. In 2011, they created a watershed moment when Stella Mwangi sang part of the fan favourite “Haba Haba” in Swahili. This was the first time a language originating from the African continent ever graced the contest. Despite not making the final, Eurovision fans can still be heard singing “Haba haba, Hujaza Kibaba!”
6. How extra Melodi Grand Prix is
One fact is certain: Norway does not do it by halves. Melodi Grand Prix is likely the largest-scale national final of all when fully realised artistic concepts and staging is concerned. With not much regard to sticking to Eurovision rules, the MGP stage has seen an unprecedented amount of singers, dancers and props for every entry. Probably the peak of this statement can be seen in 2016, with the iconic “Laika”, complete with a 15-strong crew, mirrors for days, and a real car being driven across the stage.
7. Unforgettable staging moments
Norway does not save their notability just for MGP — they make sure their Eurovision entries also get the fans talking. From Guri Schanke‘s double reveal, to Wig-Wam bringing glam rock back at its purest state and Margaret Berger wearing the tightest, most curve-enhancing dress in the history of the contest, Norway knows how to take our breath away and feed us amazing moments.
8. They know how to be favourites
Norwegian artists know how to establish themselves. On one hand, they can be the favourites to win it all — as were Carl Espen and Mørland & Debrah Scarlett in their years. But on the other hand, Norway’s charismatic and friendly personalities make everyone in the press centre want to root for them regardless of favouritism. Everyone commended Agnete on her courage to speak out and strength to advance through struggle, and they remember the fun that JOWST brought to the environment.
9. Jon Ola Sand
The hardest working man in the Eurovision circle right now was brought to us by Norway: Jon Ola Sand, the man upstairs. Taking the Executive Supervisor seat since 2011, Sand has the last call with regards to the Contest’s production and is the voice with the largest authority for current affairs and future plans. He is also responsible for the organization of the voting system, so once everyone is checked by him, Jon lets us know when to “take it away!”
10. The legend of Rybak
We saved the best for last: the myth, the legend, the Fairytale. Almost ten years ago, a young singer known as Alexander Rybak wielded his violin, took the stage in Moscow and the rest is history. “Fairytale” became the winner by the largest margin in the history of the contest and it’s regarded as the ultimate Eurovision winner, with an influence on the contest today as strong as it was when he was the reigning champion. Despite the mixed reception that “That’s How You Write a Song” had in Lisbon, his name was always in consideration for victory, and regardless of the actual result, Alexander Rybak is and will always be a heavyweight name in the lore of the Eurovision Song Contest.
What do you think? What are the moments that make you fall in love with this Norwegian fairytale? Let us know in the comments below!