Ulrikke, Votng, Melodi Grand Prix 2020

Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix 2020 may have wrapped up after the grand final last Saturday, but the discussions have only started. Broadcaster NRK has been harshly criticised by competing artists after it was revealed that a 30-person jury had replaced the first stage of the televote. As well, a huge online poll shows strong support for eliminated contestant Rein Alexander.

For the 2020 edition of the Melodi Grand Prix, Norwegian broadcaster NRK switched to a new online-only voting system. However, things didn’t go as planned. After the first round, the online voting crashed and a back-up jury had to determine the four qualifiers to the next round.

However, this back-up jury only consisted of 30 people. Another major point of criticism is that the jurors only listened to the studio versions — live performances were not taken into account.

This news received a massive amount of backlash from both the media and the involved participants. Additionally, managers of artists claimed they had not been informed of the back-up jury ‘plan B’.

The jury’s votes decided that Kristin Husøy, Liza Vassilieva, Raylee and Ulrikke Brandstorp would go on to the Gold Final. However many viewers supported Rein Alexander and were trying to vote for him — and were surprised that the jury had not shared their enthusiasm for the schlager Viking.

Melodi Grand Prix 2020 poll result

Norway’s biggest tabloid paper VG created an online poll after the chaos from Saturday’s final. In this poll, readers were asked to vote for their favourite act from the MGP grand final.

A total of 221,846 votes were counted. The winner was Ulrikke Brandstorp — who repeated her Melodi Grand Prix win. But very close behind her was Rein Alexander.

Three of the four acts who made it to the Gold Final also topped this poll. The big exception is Rein Alexander, who finished second but was eliminated in Saturday’s show.

This online poll is not necessarily scientifically accurate — readers may have been influenced by the show results and subsequent media coverage.

But the results indicate that Rein Alexander won over many people with the live grand final performance of his song “One Last Time”. The live performance was not seen by the jury, whose votes eventually eliminated him.

More reactions of participants and artists

The voting mess created many aftershocks. MGP boss Stig Karlsen answered a lot of questions after the show. He also confirmed that the show result was final and no further voting will take place.

Many artists expressed their upset about the situation on social media.

Music producer and Eurovision participant JOWST shared his thoughts in a long statement on Instagram. He was one of the composers of Magnus Bokn’s song, which was eliminated due to the jury. JOWST wrote that “When Markus didn’t get announced as one of the four, I felt robbed. Robbed of the opportunity to win or even lose. It felt like we just got disqualified.” He also said that “it feels like I/we lost a few months of our lives.” Norway’s Eurovision singer of 2016 Agnete applauded his statement.

View this post on Instagram

Ok. I feel like I need to share my thoughts about what happened yesterday. These are just mine, on behalf of myself as a Songwriter, Producer, and a team member. When they announced that a jury would decide the 4 that would go to the gold-final, I was shocked. I pinched my arm to see if it was a dream. And then when Magnus didn’t get announced as one of the four, I felt robbed. Robbed of the opportunity to win or even loose. It felt like we just got disqualified. It felt like all of the work we had put in, both me, Magnus, the dancers, the band, the stylists, the management, the people working at NRK (who really did an amazing job) was all in vain, as the jury votes were based on ONLY the music (Spotify). But of course, we made an amazing show together. Something that we all could be very proud of. So not all in vain. Maybe the final result would have been the same. We will never know. And maybe Ulrikke will take it home and win the whole thing. I think her song and her performance was amazing. But there are a few people who don’t like that type of music at all. The reason that this is a big thing, is that it was a big thing that got handled as if it was a small thing. For instance, I co-wrote a song this year, that we sent to Macedonia, for their chosen artist Vasil. Hoping that their smaller jury would choose that song for participating in Eurovision. And that small jury decided not to. And that’s fine for me. It was like just not winning the lottery. We just invested a day in the studio for that. Nothing more. We lost a day, as we songwriters are used to. But this time it feels like I/we lost a few months of our lives. But then again, we are an experience wealthier. I think everyone included both in the act, and the show has done a really great job. But I do feel that there has been made at least one tragic decision regarding using both that kind of jury votes and the jury votes itself. I believe yesterday’s MGP was the best MGP I’ve ever seen, visually and musically. But yeah… Congratulations @ulrikkeofficial @morlandmusic and @christian_ingebrigtsen and the team. I wish you good luck and will cheer for you in Eurovision.

A post shared by JOWST (@jowstmusic) on

Akuvi also expressed her feelings on Instagram. She says that “Every single thing we did live on the stage, was not taken into consideration whatsoever. That is so unprofessional and that is so hurtful. I worked so hard and I’m deeply deeply disappointed.” She was also eliminated by the jury.

Didrik & Emil Solli-Tangen were also kicked out by the jury. Emil wrote on Instagram that he’s proud of their performance and this scandalous situation is highly unfortunate. Didrik found harsher words and posted a picture with his artist badge in the trash.

View this post on Instagram

#denfølelsen #nrkmgp

A post shared by Didrik Solli-Tangen (@didriksollitangen) on

Tone Damli found herself in a similar situation.  She said that doesn’t feel bitter, just empty. Tone explained that after all the effort she put in, from promotion to rehearsal to her performance, ending like this feels unfair. She reckoned that NRK should have had a better plan B than using a jury who hadn’t seen the performances. Raylee, one of the four artists who made it to the second round, agreed with her.

It is important to note that the criticism has largely been aimed at broadcaster NRK. None of the artists have attacked winner Ulrikke Brandstrop. Most of them have been supportive of her win and have wished her the best of luck for Rotterdam.

What do you think? Do you agree with the artists? What would your plan B have looked like?  Tell us in the comments below!

Read more Norway Eurovision 2020 news here

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Logical Person
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Logical Person

Sore losers.

Jim
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Jim

Let’s be honest 3 of the 4 qualifiers were the biggest fan favorites. Rein was the one missing, his spot was take by Liza. The other acts would’ve still sashayed away. Didrik’s attitude is just childish. I do feel sorry for Akuvi, she did great.

Colin
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Colin

Hmm? Kristin did very well in the finals, but she was literally bookies’ least likely to win. If she had won (and it was close), some people would be very rich! Expected finalists were Ulrikke, Raylee, Rein and brothers Solli-Tangen.

Magpie
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Magpie

Honestly I preferred Rein Alexander over Ulrikke Brandstrop.

ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

Me: *imagines Rein being the eventually winner with “full public vote”*
3 seconds later
*kisses his smartphone to thank the technology for having a better taste than so many people out there who wanna make ESC clichee, camp and outdated*

Isa
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Isa

Rein’s song is as boring as watching paint dry!

Charles
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Charles

So Rein Alexander was the schlager bs that was regarded the savior of Eurovision preventing it from being filled with truly talented songwriters and vocalists … and not enough party let’s get immature acts to turn this whole thing into an endless mocking parody of itself? Ummm … Certain things just never change … thanks 1998 televoting for your infinite impact in today’s ESC music taste …

Richie
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Richie

Justice for Rein Alexander!

Isa
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Isa

Let’s ban Rein’s song to the moon forever! Let the aliens put up with it!

eren
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eren

everyone knows that Didril & Emil song was very bad and if they would reach top4 it would be only because of their reputation which would be a bigger crime. The only one who should feel sad is i think Rein Alexander . I was so sure that he will be the gold finalist, but i also didnt want him winning. They should remember that every national final for years have full of stories like this and they just act like they did not got that much recognition for 5 6 weeks, their songs were streamed shared . It is… Read more »

Jonas
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Jonas

Another thing – at least this result is based on actual humans, instead of algorithms like with Belarus and San Marino. For me, that is the much greater sin.

Joe
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Joe

For what it’s worth, I heard San Marino had enough people tuning in last year that their televote results were valid. It checks out. What algorithm could give Greece that high a score?

Cocooo
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Cocooo

That’s not true. San Marino aren’t able to have a proper televote due to the fact that they use Italian operators and telecom systems, meaning that if people in San Marino actually vote, their vote will be counted as a part of the Italian televote and not the San Marinese.

Joe
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Joe

Huh. Guess not, then.

Jonas
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Jonas

I’m just afraid that one year there will be an extremely close result, and it is discovered that the “fake” points made all the difference in deciding the winner. That can only cause trouble.

Jonas
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Jonas

Macedonia were right to not pick JOWST’s song. It sounds like he didn’t put much effort into it. An interesting insight into how these factory songs are produced…

Geo
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Geo

Please man use the official name which is North Macedonia. Many fans and me find it disrespectful and get offended by it.

Thomas
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Thomas

People are dying Kim

Jonas
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Jonas

I’m sorry. I would normally always say North Macedonia, I guess I just slipped because that is how JOWST referred to it. I’ll be more careful in future.

Jake
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Jake

this is why they shouldn’t just rely on new technology…at least Melfest they kept the phones in case something happens with the app

Fatima
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Fatima

So very wrong that the shortlist was determined by studio versions and not the staging. I wonder if KEiiNO would have made it if the same had happened last year.

JONAS
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JONAS

Let’s not make a drama because of a technical hitch. Let’s celebrate live television and accept that this kind of stuff may happen! Let’s congratulate NRK on a fantastic show on Saturday. Clearly they’ve put a lot of work, resources and time into the broadcast. And the presenters were wonderful – please keep them if we’re going to Trondheim next year (let’s hope for Trondheim and not Oslo which is about the most boring/ugly place in Norway – the rest is stunning. Greetings from Norway!

Jake
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Jake

so if at this year’s Eurovision they decide to replace the viewers vote with a random group of people across who heard the CD because its a live show and I’m sure will be fantastic and there was a technical glitch–you’d be OK with that?

Eurovisionfan12
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Eurovisionfan12

Maybe you, as an ordinary Norwegian, can smile through this whole incident and call it a day. But think about it, can the artists themselves who invested months and gave their best on stage just to impress viewers like you do the same thing?

Polina
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Polina

At least in that way we got rid of Jowst’s meaningless song which he spent only one day to create it. Nobody needs your inattentive, banal work tbh. Next time maybe you don’t apply with an one day,ordinary, boring stuff

Angelika
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Angelika

x1000!

Miguel
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Miguel

Which song did they create?

Lise
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Lise

This poll makes me even sadder that my favorite Rein Alexander, wasn’t even selected in the Top 4.

Nils
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Nils

Agree. I am totally fine with Ulrike and her song is fantastic. Till now she is my favorite selected song….
But Rein was spectacular and my MGP winner. I am sad he did not have the chance to perform in Goldfinal and Goldduell…

Choice DK
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Choice DK

Definitely unfair. There should be some kind of rematch in the Norwegian selection.

Laburnum
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Laburnum

I do feel for the artists in the respect that their live performances were not taken into consideration…but how much would that have possibly changed anyway? The top 4 that went through weren’t that different to the poll…if Rein Alexander was to complain it would be more than understandable. He was the only one that could have posed a threat to Ulrikke.

And also Jowst could complain about anything so is there any surprise there lol

Isak
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Isak

Yeah, I think the biggest issue is that the jury didn’t base it on the live performance. Rein has arguably the entry that’s elevated the most in the live performance compared to the studio cut, and therefore might be the one who’s most hurt by the jury. Whilst an act like Raylee doesn’t deliver as well vocally in the live performance, and might get overrated. But this will just be speculations, but it is nonetheless unprofessional that the jury didn’t get to judge the live performances.

Tom
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Tom

Feeling same situation like it was with Romania last year, maybe Norway finnaly stay in semi like Lithuania did with Attention in 2014 …..Ulrikke’s song is not bad but its not good as well …Thanks god the vikings didnt won ….Its very annoying see people saying Ulrike will win ESC. In any planet this song would win …

Winner will be something different like previous winner !!! Thats why Lithuania, Spain or Germany didnt won back in 2018 (cause Portugal won year before with jazz ballad)

U can hate my opinion but i keep it clean ….

Héctor
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Héctor

Those artists complaining did not have an option of qualifying. I get what they are saying, but they wouldn’t have qualified either if everything had worked fine.

It’s funny to see how in the civilized Nordic countries they have tecnhical problems and social backclash too. Not just Spain or the Eastern countries.

Kris
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Kris

Rein complaining would make sense
Where did the 30 person jury place him ? They should reveal that !!

Kristin and Ulrikke were separated by a mere 6000 votes
It’s possible that Rein could have defeated Ulrikke

They obviously can’t do a revote now , cause now supporters of all acts would want anyone but Ulrikke to win just to show that the first result was unfair !!!

Raylee, Liza and Kristin should not be complaining at all.

Nor should Sondrey , Akuvi , Tone and Didrik and Emil be complaining.

Magnus , Rein and Ulrikke can be complaining for different reasons .

Jack Pricefield
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Jack Pricefield

I did say here a few days ago NRK were opening a can of worms for implementing online voting to completely decide the outcome and as if I had no right to be concerned what could go wrong… it’s preposterous a back-up jury of 30 people decided the super finalists(Top 4) based on studio version meaning all the live performances on Saturday were pretty much meaningless! JOWST summed it up perfectly in his Instagram post, well spoken and class act, I don’t get why he’s unpopular with the eurofandom as he’s so passionate for ESC! Anyway I am very thrilled… Read more »

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

The right thing to do might be to try re-running the whole thing again. However, if Ulrikke were to win yet again, then what would be the point? Tough call. One issue might be that the situation hurts Ulrikke’s chances at Eurovision, but this does not seem to be happening.

Jonas
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Jonas

They could not run the whole thing again. After this, a neutral vote would be impossible. The only thing that can be done now is to learn a lesson, and never let it happen again.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Agreed. Then first find out how it happened, I suppose.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

i’m sorry but i cackled at the photo of the artist badge in the trash. did didrik think he had a remote chance???

Joe
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Joe

I think a lot of these were legit criticisms, but that was the only one that felt like a temper tantrum. All I hope is that this situation doesn’t alienate artists from taking part next year.

Burp
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Burp

I think he did that to show his disgust at the way the situation was handled, and to say that his performance meant nothing since the jury didn’t even watch it

hebbuzz
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hebbuzz

Jowst showed before he is a bad loser, when he wanted but was’t selected with an entry for the UK preselection.

Tajikistan
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Tajikistan

The whole Norwegian selection was a big mess imo. This was the icing on the cake, but the fact that they had 5 (?) semi finals but then invited 5 people to go directly to the grand final seems like a huge mess and a waste imo, especially considering how the winner was automatically qualified.

JONAS
Guest
JONAS

Such is life! Sometimes the technology doesn’t work (annoying on the night, but so what? I made myself a cup of tea instead and enjoyed the show for what it is! Sheer entertainment) If I were Rein Alexander I would congratulate Ulrikke, smile and promise the cameras to be back next year! His moaning when interviewed by Norwegian journalists in the news is just cringy, embarrassing and pitiful!

Hazzza
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Hazzza

Tbh I think urikke would have won anyway so it doesn’t matter

Joe
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Joe

That’s why I think the Romania comparisons aren’t apt, since people wanted Ulrikke to win anyway, and it’s not like it wasn’t still close.

Catriona Colville
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Catriona Colville

Of course it matters! It was supposed to be 100% televote and based on live performances. Would Ulrikke still have won? Who knows, but we never got the chance to find out.

esc321
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esc321

I really wish there was a revote because this is just genuinely unfair towards all the artists who clearly put in the hard work.

Niya
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Niya

How could NRK not be better prepared? It’s not exactly rocket science that online voting, in big events, is doomed to have certain techincal issues like servers crashing. The back-up jury should have at least based their votes on actual performances (like rehearsals) e.g. as the international juries do in ESC. Odd how they handled this. Anyways, Ulrikke deserved to win and I’m looking forward to seeing her in Eurovision.

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

It’s very unfortunate because Rein would’ve most likely made the final 4 ahead of Liza, and it’s unfortunate that the live performances weren’t judged, however there is no need for most of them to react this harshly because Akuvi, Tone, Didrik& Emil and Magnus wouldn’t have qualified anyway.

keith mawson
Guest
keith mawson

I equally loved Ulrikke and Rein . They really should have had a better back up plan. Next year they must cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Thus cant happen again. Saying this I think Ulrikke would have always been the winner.

Burp
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Burp

They were upset their hard work they put into their performances was discarded and the jury didn’t even watch them.

Whisker
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Whisker

This is so unfair. I am definitely not supporting Norway this year.

Piotr
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Piotr

In JESC 2017 when they introduced online voting it also crushed, so maybe in both situations they were not expecting such an overwhelming traffic on their websites. It’s not an excuse tho, they had 5 shows before the show, every one with online voting so NRK shoud’ve prepared better

Grafton
Guest
Grafton

I mean i can understand the disappointment but Ulrikke still ended up first on that poll… she would have won anyway. And she’s gonna do great at ESC. Possible top5.

Catriona Colville
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Catriona Colville

None of what you said is the point. The voting in the first round was not what was promised. Who the winner was and would have been is not the point.

Noone
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Noone

It’s unfair? Oh that’s cute… look at Slovenia’s EMA: after 10 songs, a jury of three (!) decides which two acts go to the televote, making the entire Selection completely pointless and unnecessary. By the way, it’s this saturday, can’t wait. :-/

Noone
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Noone

*12 songs this year

first row at ESC and JESC
Guest
first row at ESC and JESC

Somehow the whole thing stinks terribly.

Katariina
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Katariina

Rein is the only one who could really feel any bit upset with what happened. Sure, you can ponder the ‘what ifs’ of if the jury wasn’t used and the results went on as expected you would have qualified, but for artists like Akuvi, Tone, Didrik & Emil, etc., they were never going to make it anyways. Just look at the poll that VG did and their online streams, they were not going to win no matter how the winner was selected. And even so, Ulrikke looks like she would have won regardless.

Nicola
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Nicola

Totally agree! Even include Magnus in that group (Tho it was JOWST who expressed his dissatisfaction, claiming Magnus got ‘robbed’ by not qualifying for the final 4, even tho it was clear he was not going to).

name
Guest
name

JOWST: «When they announced that a jury would decide the 4 that would go to the gold-final, I was shocked. I pinched my arm to see if it was a dream. And then when Magnus didn’t get announced as one of the four, I FELT ROBBED. ROBBED OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN OR EVEN LOOSE. It felt like we just got disqualified. It felt like all of the work we had put in, both me, Magnus, the dancers, the band, the stylists, the management, the people working at NRK (who really did an amazing job) was all in vain, as… Read more »

keith mawson
Guest
keith mawson

Tone was bland and Awful. I feel Bad for Rein as he was a fan favorite along with Ukrikke. Id have been happy with either of these two.

Esc1234
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Esc1234

Voting the studio versions its like voting the 50% of the perfomance. Eurovision is not a radio competition. Ulrike and Rein would have been the top 2

Colin
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Colin

This is indeed bad. I thought it was just glitching to me. I would’ve given my third vote to Akuvi in round one, if I had the chance. And yes, I feel like Rein would have qualified for round two. At least ahead of Liza.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

I must admit, watching it live, it was pretty obvious Rein would have been in the top 4. That song is all about the live performance, the dancers, the fire, the smoke. It is an event song, not a Spotify song, so the way Norway handled it was quite ridiculous, they have definitely gone down in my estimations.
Ulrikke may still have won, but that’s not the point.

keith mawson
Guest
keith mawson

Along with Ulrikke and Magnus Rein had the best staging. He put his everything into that. Would love him sent to ESC anyway as an extra act.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

Whoa. The backup jury only listened to the studio versions of the song?
Well, right there. That just made having the grand final pointless. ESC isn’t won in the studio.

I feel we were deprived of an epic Ulrikke-Rein gold final.

keith mawson
Guest
keith mawson

Shame on NRK the whole point i feel is how it would be on stage live. Surely that benchmark would have been vital in the points awarding after the show. Better not happen again NRK. That Said Ulriike i think was always getting the win.

Nina
Guest
Nina

Urlikke almost lost to Kristen. Do you really think that Urlikke would defeat Rein in the gold final? haha