Don’t expect any bum notes at Melodi Grand Prix 2023. Norway’s Eurovision boss has confirmed that producers will allow the use of Auto-Tune in their national selection.
As you know, the software corrects out-of-tune vocal performances, altering the output so it’s at the right pitch. Cher helped popularize the production technique way back in 1998 with her smash hit “Believe”
This rule change was not included in the press release that NRK sent out late last year. At the time producers outlined other changes, like the elimination of Automatic Qualifiers and duels in the semi-finals, but made no mention of this development.
Instead, NRK’s Stig Karlsen confirmed the news in an interview with Norwegian newspaper VG on Friday.
“MGP follows the development of the concert industry and music shows on TV, by allowing tuning of the lead vocal for MGP 2023,” he told the newspaper.
Of course, the Eurovision Song Contest does not allow for Auto-Tune. That means that the MGP 2023 winner really does need to know how to sing. And they do. Stig already tested their chops during live auditions.
“It is absolutely essential that the artists we select for MGP deliver at a high level, even without tuning,” he said. “In those cases where we do not know the artist’s performance level live, they are invited to an audition.”
Stig suggested that allowing Auto-Tune will improve the viewer experience. People are used to hearing Auto-Tune, which is now standard in recorded music, so it “gives the audience a similarly solid sound experience.”
And, he points out, a winning performance is about a lot more.
“A good vocalist must deliver on communication skills, power, rhythm and timing, empathy, attitude and timbre,” he said. “A vocalist is also carried by the individual character of the voice. Autotune is just one of several tools for correcting and optimizing the sound experience.”