Norway’s national selection contest for Eurovision 2020 was its biggest ever. Celebrating sixty years of thrills and spills, the state broadcaster NRK brought together twenty-five artists — some up-and-comers and some well-established — for Melodi Grand Prix 2020. Among them was Tone Damli (one of the country’s biggest stars) and Rein Alexander (a former winner of the popular TV show Kjempesjansen). The final was wrought with controversy after the voting system crashed, raising questions about which four acts should have advanced to the knockout rounds. But in the end it was Ulrikke Brandstorp — a 24-year-old with a bubbly personality and a very big voice — who survived the hiccups, the hype and the drama to win with her song “Attention“.

Scroll down for “Still Breathing” lyrics

Norway in Eurovision 2020: Ulrikke “Attention”

Ulrikke is no stranger to the stage. As a child she performed in local productions before developing a national profile on shows including Idol and The Voice, where she reached the semi-finals. More recently she finished as runner-up on Stjernekamp in the fall of 2018. She then took her talents to the grand stage of Oslo’s Folketeateret, tackling the role of Liesl, the oldest daughter of the Von Trapp family, in the Sound of Music.

But Eurovision fans will know her best from MGP 2017 where she placed fourth with the upbeat banger “Places”. She arrived at this year’s competition with renewed purpose. As she told us ahead of her song reveal: “Last time ‘Places’ was about parties and dancers. [‘Attention’] is just me, my voice and my feelings. It’s kind of scary, but I’m doing it.”

What do the “Attention” lyrics mean?

With “Attention” Ulrikke doesn’t just sing. She engages the listener in an intimate conversation. At times she’s singing to herself and asking difficult questions about her own behaviour. At other moments she seems to be in dialogue with the man at the centre of her mental storm. Speaking to Wiwibloggs, she broke it all down.

“The song is actually a question I ask myself and all of you: Why do we do stupid things for love to get the attention of another person? Sometimes love hurts and we do it all over again.”

In the opening bars a series of sporadic booms are reminiscent of a heartbeat. They set the rhythm as Ulrikke admits that she’s got a problem: “I find myself longing for attention, I’m not myself doing what I do, I know I may have hurt someone I love along the way, it wasn’t my intention…”

While she’s dealing with her inner turmoil — the result of doing “crazy things” and losing herself — the object of her affection isn’t particularly bothered. It suggests her efforts are entirely in vain. “I fool myself just to make you happy,” she sings. “And when I do, it’s all the same to you.”

The first chorus is relatively quiet, but the second one is a proper wall of sound. The swell shows her growing anger — at herself and her would-be Mister. By the time she belts out, “What do you want me to do to get your attention?” for a second time, she’s decided the game isn’t worth it: “Oh, I don’t wanna do this no more if I’m the only one here on the dance floor.”

Whether she has the resolve to stick with that is open for interpretation. The final reprise of the chorus could well be her snapping out of her madness by asking a series of rhetorical questions. But the rather quiet and sober ending comes off as a declaration that’s she’s right back where she started: “’cause I just want your attention.”

Attention lyrics – Ulrikke (Norway ESC 2020)

Written and composed by: Christian Ingebrigtsen, Kjetil Mørland, Ulrikke Brandstorp

I find myself longing for attention
I’m not myself doing what I do
I know I may have hurt someone I love along the way
It wasn’t my intention
I lost myself doing what I do

I just want your attention
Oh, the crazy things I do

So why, why do I think it’s okay
Not being me ’cause of you?
And what do you want me to say?
What do you want me to do
To get your attention?
‘Cause I just want your attention

I fool myself just to make you happy
And when I do, it’s all the same to you (It’s all the same to you)

Oh, the crazy things I do

So why, why do I think it’s okay
Not being me ’cause of you?
And what do you want me to say?
What do you want me to do
To get your attention?

Oh, I don’t wanna do this no more
If I’m the only one here on the dance floor, on the dance floor
Oh

Why, why do I think it’s okay
Not being me ’cause of you?
And what do you want me to say?
What do you want me to do
To get your attention?
‘Cause I just want your attention

Can you relate to Ulrikke’s lyrics? Have you ever put yourself second while trying to become someone else’s number one? Let us know in the comments box below. 

31 Comments
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gilpgilp
gilpgilp
1 year ago

Come on guys the theme of this song is so similar to last year’s winner. Someone you like isn’t treating you well. Toxic relationships blah blah blah. We get it. It’s unoriginal. Time for something new such as the ROOP.

Stian F
Stian F
1 year ago

Seriously?!? So who is your favorite then? Enlighten us with what is good in your opinion. As there is nothing in the contest close to the quality of Norway (or Australia) yet this year.

gilpgilp
gilpgilp
1 year ago
Reply to  Stian F

ROOP IS ON FIRE

Stian F
Stian F
1 year ago

People complaining about the lyrics and calling them cheesy are probably the same that love cheesy upbeat pop songs like “Popular”, “La La Love”, “She Got Me” and probably “Kingdom Come” as well. The lyrics of this song are great and also effective!!! They are easy to understand and many people will relate to them. As someone else mentioned the song slightly reminds a but about Sanna Nielsens “Undo” (also because of the use of light during the performance) but Attention lyrics makes so much more sense ? I would not be surprised if Mørland wins the composer award once… Read more »

Safiya
Safiya
1 year ago

Ok, sorry, but I am going to complain now… I really wanted to like this song. I like the message, I think it’s really important – many people find themselves in similar situation and should definitely be addressed, it’s important to give them strength and to make them understand that they shouldn’t feel the need to change themselves for someone else. I also kind of like the way she sings and the fact that she is so emotional. BUT something still doesn’t sound right to me and the lyrics are probably the problem… As someone already said they seem too… Read more »

Isak
Isak
1 year ago
Reply to  Safiya

I think it is supposed to be a metaphor, maybe for a relationship or partnership, as “dancing” is sometimes used as a (cliché) metaphor for dynamics in a relationship. Maybe even for life itself. But I agree the bridge and that metaphor is weak, and kind of out of place. Would be interesting to hear Ulrikke’s interpretation of the bridge.

gilpgilp
gilpgilp
1 year ago
Reply to  Safiya

The message is not original. It’s the same as last year. Toxic relationships. It’s been done.

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago

Amazing vocals and message. So much emotion and a flawless performance ^^
8/10 (slowly growing to 9/10)

Rainer1
Rainer1
1 year ago

my feet fall asleep at ulrikke. Good night!

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

Does nothing for me and I’ve tried.. Good luck Norge

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

I have to admit that when I first saw the lyrics of this song, I laughed. It wasn’t until I saw Ulrikke’s first performance that I realised how powerful the rawness of the lyrics could be when set to dramatic music and good acting.
It’s a similar effect to Sanna Nielsen’s “Undo”, except that “Attention” has lyrics that actually make perfect sense. 🙂

Metalvision Song Contest
Reply to  Purple Mask

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought of “Undo”! 🙂 I guess it’s because of those “colloratura” parts / “vocal riffs” on the “I” or “un-“, respectively, which add to the performance difficulty of the song in both cases.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
1 year ago

“Attention”‘s lyrics… do their bit. They’re sophisticated enough to give Ulrikke’s song some meaning (though, let’s be fair, this entry is all about her terrific voice), but at the same time they’re too cookie-cutter and straightforward to be praised for their depth. When I read these lyrics, I feel absolutely nothing, when Ulrikke sings them the pain and frustration are almost palpable.

Kosey
Kosey
1 year ago

The thing that really gets me in these lyrics and performance is the desperation. I find it heart-achingly sad, so emotional. The feeling when you really want happiness with a person, but it just seems out of reach, no matter how hard you try. I also like the metaphor of the dancefloor, the fact that she wants to live life to the full with this person, but they won’t join her and she’s tired of trying. I had goosebumps and was almost crying at the end of the performance. A really powerful song with lots of impact.

Sabrina
Sabrina
1 year ago

I would describe the song as an Eurovision ballad by the books, but done in an very ellegant manner (where most normally fail for being too cheesy). I take the lyrics as an internal monologue. She’s begging for someone’s attention, but it’s all inside her head. She’s alone in the dance floor, struggling with the notion that she wants that person’s attention, but not wanting to show how needy she is.

Sarah Sands
Sarah Sands
1 year ago

The best poets use the most simple and direct language. I think this is beautiful.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago

I know we call lots of songs “generic” and “cheesy”, but these lyrics are very basic.

Isak
Isak
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

I’m not sure what you mean with basic. I think they aren’t basic when you understand the story behind them, or what’s told “between the lines”. There are limits on how much lyrics you can get into a Eurovision song on three minutes and you want to push the chorus three times, and I think Attention actually manage to convey an emotional story in those three minutes.

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  Isak

well, if you say so…

DMG
DMG
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

@Jo I do not agree With you. Could you explane what you mean with “this lyrics are very basic, give us an example from the text. Or is it just something you throw out here without being able to substantiate what you Write. JUST WONDERING. WAITING FOR YOUR ANSWER

DMG
DMG
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

@Jo In my opinion it’s not basic to have a monologue and at the same time a dialogue, the music and lyrics bond perfectly togther (but I guess not everyone understands that). In this case the lyrics becomes more than words on paper, the lyrics/words are adding emotions the music alone couldn’t do.

Stian F
Stian F
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

Basic?!?!? ?????

Pretty much 98% of other songs are more basic than this one when it comes to lyrics. When a song, for example, rhymes fire with desire or higher it automatically looses the lyric debate as that’s the most unoriginal thing to ever sing!

gilpgilp
gilpgilp
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

You’re right. They are basic. Same toxic relationship theme as last year.

DMG
DMG
1 year ago
Reply to  gilpgilp

I would like you to mention one song in esc 2020 who sings about something we have not heard before, I bet I will give you a song who has the same theme….

Andreu
Andreu
1 year ago

I have no idea what some of the comments below are listening to but this is such a beautifully composed Scandinavian ballad. I am really glad to see another one at ESC. Best of luck Norway!

BREXIT CAREER WOMAN
BREXIT CAREER WOMAN
1 year ago

lyrics written by a preschooler

123
123
1 year ago

Well, she seems needy… 😛

vox
vox
1 year ago

Thats the typical euroballad that fans hype only to end up not qualifying. Rein Alexander was their best choice but the “jury” had a different opinion

Jo.
Jo.
1 year ago
Reply to  vox

she has total jury support with this song, it is exactly what they like.

vox
vox
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo.

thats only 50%….

Stian F
Stian F
1 year ago
Reply to  vox

Omg Rein Alexander was the cheesiest of them all in the MGP final!!! Such a made for Eurovision ONLY in mins type of song and performance!!!! With lyrics that were not very original either ???

Attention will have the jury support and way more televote support than what North Macedonia had last year I am sure. “Proud” was a song not many people could relate to despite how great her vocals were, “Attention” is!