Earlier this winter, Melodi Grand Prix boss Stig Karlsen announced that he was looking forward to welcoming back a live audience. Unfortunately the rise of the omicron variant and the understandable introduction of government Covid restrictions has forced a change of plans: MGP 2022 has had to cancel its audience for the semi-finals and Second Chance show.

“Unfortunately, we are in a far more demanding situation than last time, and are now taking a number of measures to limit the risk of infection and quarantine,” Stig told NRK.

“We therefore have to run MGP completely without the audience.”

Producers will wait to make a decision about the final itself when they receive updated forecasts from the government.

But don’t worry. The show is still going to deliver memorable performances that will help bring Norwegians together.

As Stig says: “We have a powerhouse line-up of songs and artists, and are planning for a memorable MGP that will include everything you expect from Norway’s biggest music show, and a little more.”

“Even if we do not have the audience physically present in the arena, we will take the viewers and all the commitment out there into the broadcast in different ways. We look forward to making a party for everyone at a time when we really need it.

Since 1960, Melodi Grand Prix has been the annual national final for Norway — a celebratory Norwegian music festival to determine their representative at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Last year, however, MGP made the wise decision to hold the 59th edition of the contest behind closed doors — a move it had hoped to avoid this year.

Fans who have bought tickets already needn’t worry. They will be refunded within six to eight weeks.

The unfortunate news comes only a month after the MGP boss announced that all 21 competing songs this year would be released on the same day.

Karlsen, who has been working tirelessly for months to bring the show to life, isn’t concerned that the simultaneous release of songs will disadvantage anyone or give anyone else the upper hand.

Ultimately, he sees the 21-song release as an “opportunity to get to know all the songs,” which is good for all the artists.

This year’s MGP will consist of four semi-finals, a second chance round and a grand final. The first semi-final kicks off on 15 January, while the final will take place on 19 February 2022. 

Were you planning on attending MGP this year? Do you think it’s the right decision to hold the contest without an audience? Let us know in the comments.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
20 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
lasse braun
lasse braun
6 months ago

this decision is too early – omricon is coming for sure but it seems momently (checked a lot sources) that this variant is a more milder version.
staging is the core of ESC and all NF.
for what we have this thing named internet?
live-sessions streaming separatly in a show should be always the first option!
that must be well organized but this is still possible.
prakmatic thinking seems to be no option in norway.
tzzz

LaVoixCZ
6 months ago

I prefer selections without disturbing audience to be honest. Last year MGP slayed anyways.

Samo
Samo
6 months ago

This is coming to Eurovision as well. As much as I love Italy & Måneskin winning, we are very unlucky to have this year hosted by covid-obsessed country. But then again we were lucky that 2020/21 was hosted by a pragmatic country.

I hope we will get a proper show in 2023, so far it seems that omicron will put an end to this nonsense, one way or another.

Extinguir
Extinguir
6 months ago
Reply to  Samo

I don’t think so. Italy is in a better shape now even with omicron. At most, public and staff will get super-tested even if vaccinated, as it seems the Draghi govt is so strict on rules. Italy has public on all tv shows (with Green pass)

Denis
Denis
6 months ago
Reply to  Samo

Most countries are in better shape now than 2021. By May 20022 it will probably be much more relaxed than now. As for Italy it is actually one of the safer countries to be in regarding the corona. It was the hardest hit in beginning, now it’s not as severe. Plus in Italy a covid pass is in dmeand everywhere you go, even for shows. So no panic spreading here!

Samo
Samo
6 months ago
Reply to  Denis

I’m not talking about “safety” but obsession with restrictions. General attitude towards covid. I just don’t see proper show happening this year. If we’re lucky, we’ll get NL2021-like solution but I’m pesimistic even about that.

Chessguy99
6 months ago
Reply to  Denis

The new Omricon variant is highly contagious, though the symptoms are not much worse than a bad cold. The current vaccines are questionable as to preventing you from testing positive. In the American football league there has been a sudden uptick in positive tests, they test every player once a week and have a very high percentage of vaccinated players. I think we will either have another restricted ESC, or governments will wake up and try to live with these very contagious, but weak symptom versions of COVID.

Ethan1994
6 months ago
Reply to  Samo

Oof, I really hope this doesn’t wind up being the case. 🙁

Jenny
Jenny
6 months ago
Reply to  Samo

Based on the current Italian laws regarding concerts we could have an all seated audience that will be required to attest that they have been vaccinated in the last 9 months, it could be a problem for people coming from eastern Europe because Italy doesn’t recognize the Sputnik vaccine.
You call Italy a covid-obsessed country but it’s because our laws are so strict and our vaccination rate is really high that we have now one of the best situation in Europe, so I will a seated audience vs no audience and a strict lockdown.

Ethan1994
6 months ago

It doesn’t surprise me. The recent infection rate in Norway has been really bad, so this is naturally the most sensible thing to do. Still a shame, though. :/

Denis
Denis
6 months ago

Seeing how Norway is currently the country with the worst infection rate in Europe it sadly makes sense. To bad for the people who bought tickets but maybe there is still hope for the final..

MALTESER
MALTESER
6 months ago

We seem to have forgotten that when Eurovision was held with probably not more than a 60% vaccinated audience, only 49 cases emerged out of 9 shows with an average of 3000 people each. Now with full vaccinations and BOOSTERS, Norway is trying to tell us that it is dangerous to have an audience. If I was an MGP artist I would withdraw if an audience was not guranteed for the final. Shame.

Oy oy
Oy oy
6 months ago
Reply to  MALTESER

Remember that omikron is much more infectious than the other mutations that circulated in May 2021. I think it’s better to be safe and sorry. And hadn’t it been worse if they had to tell the audience one week in advance that they couldn’t come?

Azaad
Azaad
6 months ago

Seems sensible.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
6 months ago

An understandable decision.

esc2022turin
esc2022turin
6 months ago

Ngl it’s not really surprising Norway has put hard restrictions lately and MGP starts in just around 3 – 4 weeks. Fingers crossed for the final tho!

Lars-Kristian
Lars-Kristian
6 months ago
Reply to  esc2022turin

The restriction is set for 4 weeks, to the 12th january, so hopeful for final. Quarter finals is already 15th january.

esc2022turin
esc2022turin
6 months ago
Reply to  Lars-Kristian

I actually wonder why they already decided to not have public in the semi and the 2nd chance if the restriction is planned to be lifted before the first semi, anyway, hopefully things get better for the final!

Last edited 6 months ago by esc2022turin
Ethan1994
6 months ago
Reply to  esc2022turin

It’s probably a matter of pragmatism. We don’t know what the situation will be like in four weeks’ time, so while the current plan is to lift the restrictions on the 12th of January, if the situation is still really bad, they’ll extend them. So it’s probably seen as too risky to plan for an audience when there’s a chance that they then might suddenly not be allowed to have them when the time comes. So much planning goes into these shows, short-notice changes are probably the biggest nightmare ever. But yeah, hopefully that won’t be the case and we… Read more »

Whisker
Whisker
6 months ago

Meh.