Norway hasn’t even held the 2019 edition of their national final Melodi Grand Prix, but already broadcaster NRK is thinking ahead to the following year. Show producer Stig Karlsen has confirmed new entry rules for the 2020 contest, including a much earlier submission period.
Songwriters interested in entering MGP 2020 had better start work on their entries already. The submission period opens on March 2 (the grand final of MGP 2019) and closes on May 17 (Norwegian Constitution Day). Constitution Day has been picked as the closing date as it is a huge annual holiday and thought to be an easy to remember date.
However, next year May 17th will also be the day before the grand final of Eurovision 2019, meaning that songwriters will need to have their submissions in before they know what type of songs were the big favourites of 2019.
The earlier deadline gives the Melodi Grand Prix team more time to shortlist the competing songs and match them with artists.
Norway has also introduced a rule that requires at least one Norwegian songwriter on the team. Previously the broadcaster had no restriction.
Producer Stig Karlsen explained the decision, saying, “I am all for international cooperation as long as it promotes Norwegian composers and Norwegian music life. The changes mean that we now require that at least one of the songwriters is Norwegian. The international song producers need to get more Norwegian friends. We want to inspire that.”
Quality over quantity
There’s also a restriction on the number of songs that each songwriter may enter. They are now limited to entering only three songs.
Karlsen acknowledged that the changes will likely mean fewer entries will be received next year. But, he says, this is the point. Karlsen explained, “We want a more focused and targeted effort, and less assembly line production. Quality in front of quantity.”
In recent years, there’s been no shortage of quality Norwegian songwriters behind the competing MGP entries. This suggests the rule changes may have been done for the benefit of the show producers. They may wish to stop unsuccessful songwriters from other countries entering songs rejected at other national finals.
Norway’s rule changes follow other countries who have updated their national final rules this year to encourage quality over quantity. Estonia has introduced a €25-€50 entry fee, while Latvia requires professional quality demos.
Overall, this suggests there may be a building issue with broadcasters having to process too many poor quality entries.
Karlsen says that the successful entries for Melodi Grand Prix 2020 will be revealed in January of that year.
In the meantime, Melodi Grand Prix 2019 is due to take place on March 2.
What do you think of the MGP 2020 changes? Will it improve the entries at MGP 2020? Tell us what you think below!