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.
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VG, Norway’s biggest newspaper, asked readers to name their #mgp2020 favourites. Rein Alexander came second behind Ulrikke. You’ll remember he did not make the final four during the actual national final. VG readers’ next three favourites —Kristin Husøy, Liza and Raylee — did. #mgp #melodigrandprix #eurovision
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.
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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.
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.
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!