The dates have already been chosen and the basic plan with six shows has already been revealed. And now Norway’s national broadcaster NRK has given us even more information on national final Melodi Grand Prix 2021.
In an online Q&A with the Norwegian Eurovision fan site ESCNorge, MGP’s project manager Stig Karlsen opened up about plans for the 2021 national final.
Karlsen revealed that next year’s grand final will have 12 finalists, instead of the regular ten. Like last year, half of the finalists will be internally selected and half chosen through the semi-finals.
The number of finalists isn’t the only change from the format of 2020. The semi-finals won’t be based on regions this time — all six shows will take place in the H3 Arena, located in Fornebu just outside of Oslo.
However, the duel format of the semi-finals will be in place. In each semi-final, the acts will face off in two duels, then the winner of each duel will face another vote to win place in the grand final on February 20.
But that’s not the only way for a semi-finalist to get to the grand final. This year there will be a wildcard spot to fight for. In a special show the Sunday after the fifth semi-final, NRK will hold a special wildcard show. There, the 15 remaining acts will compete for one last chance to get to the grand final.
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The audience will determine the Melodi Grand Prix winner
For all semi-finals, the wildcard show and the final, the audience will be the ones who choose Norway’s representative for 2021. An online voting system will be used, and Karlsen has promised that it will work 100% this time.
Earlier this year, NRK received a lot of criticism when the MGP 2020 online voting system failed at the most critical hour, resulting in the top four acts advancing to the duel being chosen by a backup jury. According to Karlsen, NRK’s IT specialists along with some external ones will ensure that the voting system will be absolutely solid.
There will still be a back-up plan, but the only Karlsen would only reveal that it will be a different one from last time. More details will be revealed soon.
Karlsen also promised big variety when it comes to the music genres of Melodi Grand Prix 2021. He explained:
“We are very concerned about diversity so there will be a wide range of genres. There will be some nice surprises and people might have to lend an ear to something new they might not normally listen to.”
The line-up will be a mix of already well-known and beloved artists and new and exciting artists. And Karlsen says that NRK has selected four songs that have the potential to compete for the ultimate prize in Rotterdam coming May.
COVID-19’s impact depends on the situation at the time
NRK has planned for a few different scenarios, due the ongoing pandemic. According to Karlsen, MGP is being planned with everything from a couple of hundred of spectators, all the way down to an empty arena. It will be a different MGP but he promises that they will go all in. He said:
“We see this as the most important MGP ever. The reason for this is because we are in a time where there are very few events that bring many people together, this is one of the few. A lot has been cancelled, but we do not cancel MGP and we see it as super important!”
NRK has also come up with measures regarding biosecurity and made quarantine arrangements. For example, artists may have to change semi-finals if someone has to be quarantined. But as NRK are still working on those plans, more details will come later.
What do you think? Are you excited about next year’s Melodi Grand Prix? Who do you think should compete? Tell us in the comments below.
I guess I won’t ever stop feeling sad about Ulrikke not going to Eurovision 2021 (and the same will apply also if Diodato and The Roop don’t get there). But I respect a lot her decision of not competing this time. Losing would make her “the poor girl that won when it wasn’t counting”, while winning would make some people say she won just because of the pity vote. I hope she’ll try again soon though. Anyway, I trust Norway can give me another good entry. But they have a lot to improve from last year’s MGP. From the online… Read more »
I don’t understand why all songs won’t have to qualify? Why 4 qualifiers? What made them stand out from the others who have to qualify? It is a strange form of advantage the qualifiers will have now..
Maybe they want to add more Norwegian language songs to the final that would have been voted out if they completed regularly. That’s my optimistic prediction.
Makes sense if it is songs written by Norwegian writers only, in the norwegian language and or is performed by someone really famous and the song is a contemporary radio song…. Swedish and foreign composers will be relegated to the semis.
I dont think that is the case because wasnt Ulrikke selected internally by NRK as a finalist?
With the exception of Akuvi, all the automatic finalists had a lot of name recognition.
There are no rumours about the participants?
I think the wildcard round (à la Andra Chansen of Melo) is a fantastic idea. There were so many great songs that didn’t make it to the finals which was a shame. I think giving those songs an extra chance to shine is fantastic.
But the last time I checked, the final of MGP is entirely televote-based right? Why would you have a 2nd chance round for songs that have already been rejected by the public? It’s not like they’ve got a chance to win the competition. It’s not the same as in Sweden where the final has the international jury vote. A song that gets eliminated from the heats in Melfest (coming 3rd for example) in the entirely public vote could still win the whole competition due to strong jury support in the final. Unless they change the voting format, this wouldn’t be… Read more »
If 3/4 songs are good. Or 2/4 songs are good but they face off in the first round. Then one song won’t make the final. So they get a second chance.
Meh, if the automatic qualifiers are that good to go direct to the final then just have them compete in the semis as well, makes no sense to just give them a free pass. Especially if an automatic qualifier always ends up winning anyway, people wouldn’t bother with the semis anymore, so just let everyone earn their place in the final
« Karlsen says that NRK has selected four songs that have the potential to compete for the ultimate prize in Rotterdam coming May. » … so they already know which 4 songs they want to be the final 4? Lol poor other songs…
MGP has long been an amazing NF but last year, NRK really got in the way of things. Too many entries, pre-qualified finalists that didn’t deserve to be, some really weak entries in the SFs and voting problems. I wish they had went back to the old format that had worked so well and produced such a high quality selection each year.
Mixed feelings, MGP has always been one of my favourite national selections but the last edition was quite a big mess. I’m not a fan of the semifinal duel format neither the automatic final passes for established artists. Why not revive the format from 2006-13 (golden years) of MGP? All entrants start in 3 semifinals followed by second chance round and grand final with 4 Gold finalists. Maybe just scrap the semis and hold a mega final of 20 songs? I’m still sad Ulrikke will not be returning as “Attention” was one of the few entries I loved in the… Read more »
This sounds exciting. I wonder how the automatic finalists will be chosen though.
I wonder if the automatic finalists are a way to bring more Norwegian language songs into the final. Let’s face it, with a few exceptions (like Iceland’s Hatari), native language Nordic songs have not been favored by the televote and it’s been a long time since the Nordics (again, iceland excepted for 2019) have sent any songs in their native languages for Eurovision.
Keiino won the televoting in 2019, while Denmark was 5th in 2018 so I don’t see why you think Nordics have the problem with televoting.
Badwoolfgirl said specifically nordic songs in the native language, not English like both 2019 and 2018 were.
Ulrike should’ve a chance 🙁
She was guaranteed an automatic spot in the final, like The Roop in Lithuania, but she understandably felt she deserved to automatically represent Norway. Given that MGP is an institution within Norway, they needed to have a national final. I’m sure she’ll get to perform her music. She has acting experience and seems very personable, so maybe they should let her host?
Please let this be the year Wig Wam comes back to MGP! They’ve recently reunited and have an album coming out soon so the timing couldn’t be better. Waiting for another ROCK’N’ROLL REVOLUTION since 2005
Norway is unquestionably my favorite esc country. They always send a diverse range of styles and genres to eurovision, and I’m truly excited to see what they have in store for 2021, although I’m admittedly a bit disappointed that Ulrikke will have no part in Eurovision next year.