Eurovision season 2013 kick-off: MGP semi 1 review

Posted: 20/01/2013 in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News, National Finals Reviews

Who pressed the FFWD button? Suddenly it’s fracking January and Eurovision’s on season is back! After quite the crappy second half of 2012 (in my private life, no details necessary), which led to a lack of energy which led to a lacklustre attitude towards my blog, I am now forced to take the glove back up again as NRK kicked off the Scandinavian search for participants in Malmö. Thank god my 2013 started off way better than 2012 ended!

What’s that you say? Finland already started a couple of days ago? And a couple of countries already know who (and in some cases what) they’ll be sending to Sweden in a couple months? Well, I completely missed the Finnish semi, so I might just stick to their final in a couple of weeks time – their own fault, they should leave my week nights alone. And as for the entries that have already been chosen for Malmö: I’ll do a round-up post somwhere in the upcoming week. I promise. I had a great series planned for the summer of 2012 but I guess that’ll have to wait until next summer…

But on to the order of the day! After being awaken so abruptly from my 6 months beauty sleep I followed the first Norwegian semi with fresh blog eyes and the key question at the start of the show – I did not listen to the available snippets beforehand – was how much influence Loreen (and her act) would have on the national selections around Europe. After all, her individual unique and artistic approach on her performance in Baku was bound to have awoken things. Norway’s first semi was a writing on the wall.

Because the individuality of each performance shone through extremely clearly. Every act was topped of with dancers and faking musicians as to set a clear mood. The ones that set the mood in the most distinguishing fashion happened to be the acts that made it to the final in a couple of weeks time in Oslo. Starting off with Vidar Busk, a swing veteran (and an Elvis fan, just a slight suspicion there) who has watched Melodifestivalen from up close and knew the time has come to claim the spotlight once again. I’m not that bothered by the genre I have to say, even though mr. Busk had a catchy chorus up his sleeve. I was extremely annoyed however by the fact 8 people stood upon that stage ànd that pre-recorded backing vocals were allowed once again. How can people at home make a correctly informed decision if the Eurovision circumstances aren’t recreated properly (ie. maximum 6 people on stage and everyone has to sing live)?? At least the location was reasonably on par (are you reading this, RTBF?!). But I’m getting sidetracked.  Let those backing vocalists sing and then we’ll know if that chorus can stand on its own like it did last night.

Same goes for the second qualifier actually. The guys from Datarock, a thirtysomething quartet dressed in red training suits that made me suspect they don’t quite agree with growing older, sure made me laugh with their particular taste of humour and that fresh electropop song with heavy disco influences was catchy to say the least (in the chorus, again, at least as those verses were simply invisible). But let’s be honest, they’re not the best vocalists Norway has to offer and I would love the backings absorbing them in the chorus to be live to see how this entry would actually sound. But this solid version of our own KMG’s created a dynamic mood which was hard to ignore. In a semi at least.

Which leads me seamlessly to semi 1’s winner – the completely live ‘sung’ wedding of heavy metal and opera (light) that was brought to us by Gromth ft. Emil Soli-Tangen. Sung is a big word: Soli-Tangen didn’t completely survive his passages without some slip-ups (runs in the family I’d say) and the lead ‘singer’ of Gromth stuck to the famous grunting, which is basically the sound from hell. In Eurovision circles anyway. A very peculiar entry but the good side of peculiar and (much like Loreen) they were rewarded for thinking out of the box. I didn’t disagree.

The ones that didn’t make it kept it far too traditional I fear. Certainly the case for young stud Tom Hugo, channeling Tom Dice and Paradise Oskar in his little song with catchy chorus and bearable whistling (which I normally cannot stand but he managed to be the exception to that rule). Loved the fact that it was in Norwegian by the way. Perhaps a bit too goody two shoes and the visual acts of the qualifiers might have trampled all over this sugary sweet troubadour song. Pity.
The three solo females in the field all canceled each other out by doing the exact same thing: bore us with non-inventive songs that were sung quite badly. Carina Dahl and her natural lips gave us a bleak version of ‘Running Scared’, Julie Bergan transported us back to 1990 to relive the UK’s entry rallying for world peace and Mimi Blix seemed to think a couple of strutts and one catchy line that was repeated over and over would suffice to get a ticket to the final. Too much instrumental breaks for a 3 minute song if you ask me, and when it comes to loving yourself she might only have a competitor in Dima Bilan.

And the show itself you ask? It was thrown together rather quickly, by the look of things. The presenters had to keep on yapping to fill several gaps, artists had to be ready for an interview immediately after their performance and the sound was off on several occasions. I like the logo though. Had to say something positive now.

So not the ideal start to my on season. But it’s a start anyway. Here we go again – let the games begin!!Stay tuned for more updates, semi reviews and interviews the upcoming weeks!

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