This time last year and the year before that, and the year before that I would always look forward to the Norwegian selection process, MGP. In my mind it has always been a great selection process though it may not have the musical quality of Melodifestivalen or Dansk MGP, it still was Melodifestivalen come early. However I find myself rather disappointed with what has come through in the first semi-final for MGP.
It's not that any one song is particularly awful or indeed it is not that two or three songs are not great. It's just that overall I am left feeling very underwhelmed by this semi. I know that I should be more optimistic about this. This is only the first semi-final, we've only heard one third of the songs. Yet I just feel that everything so far about MGP this year has disappointed me. I know they are trying to change the show a little after the last three years, but still, I had higher hopes anyway the songs (along with some brief thoughts) on them are:
Vidar Busk - Paid My Way
This 1950/1960's music style has performed extremely well in the Nordic national final with bands such as The Lucky Bullets and Top Cats registering a substantial impact on their national finals. Though this style is popular I think that this song lacks something to genuinely lift the song and to make the average Norwegian pick up the phone. I would particularly note the chorus would appear to be weak. Having said all that I am rarely impressed by this style of music. Grade: D
Carina Dahl - Sleepwalking
In a complete change of style from the sexy but superficial song "Guns and Boys" in 2011 Sleepwalking is a much slower R+B style song. It has a very strange opening where we can hear music in the background and then it bursts into a tune. I'm very surprised by this - I didn't expect that sound effect to be used in a Eurovision Song. Overall this song has grown on me with multiple listens, and it is now one of my favourites in this semi-final. Grade: B
Tom Hugo - Det Er Du
A rather unusual song for a Nordic ballad in a national final. It is unusual to find a song that this relaxed and as acoustic as this song is. Overall it builds into a song that is very pleasant to listen to. However it does remind me a lot of a song that was knocked out in the first semi-final last year [Singing from the same position in fact]. Personally I like this. Grade: B
Gromth feat. Emil Solli-Tangen - Alone
Heavy rock meets what could be a relative of Didrik Solli-Tangen [Anyone know are Emil and Didrik actually related?]. This might be just one cross over too many. While I have always been an opera fan, particularly outside of Eurovision I have seen sorts of crossovers with artists such as Katherine Jenkins however really I don't think that this all works together perfectly. This is a song that will probably attempt to appeal to rock fans. I think Opera fans will not appreciate the rock elements of this song. Grade: C
Julie Bergin - Give A Little Something Back
This reminds me of Carina Dahl's song mixed with Tom Hugo, though sadly I don't think that this is as good as either of them. It lacks either an interesting song nor a good hook. Dull and boring. Grade: D+
Mimi Blix - Catch Me
I've always had a soft spot for Mimi. Her extremely sexy performances are wonderful and they generally make up for a discernible lack of genuine talent. Nevertheless I am looking forward to hearing this disco anthem being sung in the semi-final. I think that the song is not perfect as it has too many breaks and style changes and the verses are extremely dull and do not really build the tension in the sense that a normal disco song would. Grade: B-
Datarock - The Underground
It is difficult to put an exact style on this song. In some ways it reminds me of The Showbears and there are elements of current boyband songs and also there is a certain Stayin' Alive (The Bee Gees). This is a rather intriguing song. Very difficult to call this one. Grade: B+
Having reviewed these songs I probably do think that the songs this year are probably not as unimpressive as I first though, but still I think that it is missing some of the genuinely great songs of last year.
My Favourites: Datarock, Carina Dahl and Tom Hugo.
Tom Hugo, Datarock, and Julie Bergin are the favourites with two bookmakers, and Tom Hugo, Datarock and Carina Dahl are the favourites with other bookmakers. Though personally I think that Datarock will win and Tom Hugo will do very well to qualify.