The second batch of Denmark’s Melodi Grand Prix hopefuls sees schlager taking on a power-ballad and the big-haired might of R’n'B-pop. Will any of them come out alive? Fortsätt läsa
So, it’s official: Stella Mwangi is representing Norway at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. And with an overwhelming amount of televotes, not even the close-run jury section of the voting could dent her landslide victory.
It’s no surprise, really. Having dominated the Norwegian iTunes chart for a couple of weeks – even surviving the onslaught of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way that has trounced the competition in other countries – there was little chance of any upset for Haba Haba. Not that it couldn’t have happened, of course. But Stella had something few of the other acts possessed: true star quality. Melodi Grand Prix got an umph as soon as she strode onto the stage – and it could be heard in the ecstatic reaction from the crowd. She’s a deserving winner and will hopefully make it all the way to the Eurovision final.
It did seem that Stella’s main competition would be Helene Bøksle’s traditional-style Vardlokk, but after last year’s relative failure of My Heart Is Yours to attract any attention at Eurovision, perhaps it was inevitable that a change in direction would be taken. Sadly for her, she didn’t make it into the top four, ceding to The BlackSheeps (who looked as though they might challenge Stella at one point), The Lucky Bullets and Sie Gubba.
But it could have been anyone else up there – everyone gave their all, and it was a fabulous show.
Also falling out of the top four was the delightful Hanne Sørvaag, the most schlager entry of the evening. She was a confident performer, and had fun on stage, which is what we want, I think. I did hope that she and Helene would fare better in the voting, but that’s the way things go. Hanne’s a talented songwriter, and I expect to see her around again soon.
It was lovely to see Didrik Solli-Tangen performing My Heart Is Yours again, although I did spend a little too much time laughing at the name of the gay choir (Fagottkor) who joined him on stage. I’m very ungrateful, sometimes.
Just a final note to those naughty Schlagerboys, who got themselves interviewed: Sweden has most definitely not “gone rubbish”. I’m going to tell Christer Björkman what you said when I see him and he’s going to ban you both, not just from Melodifestivalen, but from Sweden itself. That’ll learn you.
Photo: Hege Bakken Riise/NRK
It’s a huge night for schlager, with contest finals taking place in Iceland, Norway and Finland, and the second week of Melodifestivalen in Sweden. There is nothing happening in Denmark.
There’s been plenty of comment about all the finals in the past few weeks on Schlagerfiasko, so we’re just going to briefly discuss each one and then reserve analysis for the morning after. Assuming there’s no drinking involved in tonight’s proceedings. I had plenty of refreshment yesterday at lunchtime. Which started at 1pm and ended at 8. I think. I can’t remember.
ANYWAY, there’s much anticipation in Oslo this evening about friend of Schlagerfiasko Stella Mwangi. Can she win? Her song has been at the top of Norway’s iTunes chart since it won in Skien, and would be fantastic on the stage at Düsseldorf. Other songs to to look out for is the marvellous friend of Schlagerfiasko, Hanne Sørvaag, who has a great chance of success this evening. Babel Fish will also provide competition, and Helena Bøksle is also in with an outsider opportunity… Hopefully, Åste of Åste & Rikke will be on good form – she had to miss a rehearsal this week because of illness, so Schlagerfiasko sends its best wishes.
Helene Bøksle – Vardlokk
Sie Gubba – Alt du vil ha
Babel Fish – Depend On Me
The Lucky Bullets – Fire Below
The BlackSheeps – Dance Tonight
Stella Mwangi – Haba Haba
Åste & Rikke – Not That Easy (Ah-åh-ah-åh)
Hanne Sørvaag – You’re Like A Melody
Across the sea in Iceland, another friend of Schlagerfiasko, Erna Hrönn, will be hoping for success. She faces stiff competition from past winner Jóhanna, while Jógvan Hansen and Matti Matts could also break through. Sjónni Brink’s song is also getting a lot of attention, and could finish at the top. This is definitely a wide-open competition, and I’m not sure that Jóhanna can be assured of victory as many fans outside Iceland assume.
Haraldur Reynisson – Ef ég hefði vængi
Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir – Ástin mín eina
Yohanna – Nótt
Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir – Eldgos
Jógvan Hansen – Ég lofa
Magni Ásgeirsson – Ég trúi á betra líf
Sigurjón’s friends – Aftur heim
Finland’s final selection comes down to ten songs from a very un-schlager selection. The bookie’s favourite is Paradise Oskar (friend of… etc etc), with his gentle ballad. I’m also hoping that (friend of…) Saara Aalto will attract attention as well.
Eveliina Määttä – Dancing In The Dark
Sami Hintsanen – Täältä maailmaan
Milana Misic – Sydämeni kaksi maata
Paradise Oskar – Da da dam
Cardiant – Rapture In Time
Johanna Iivanainen – Luojani mun
Father McKenzie – Good Enough
Marko Maunuksela – Synkän maan tango
Saara Aalto – Blessed With Love
Stala & So – Pamela
Friday Five on a Friday? How strange. But here it is, and to celebrate the fifth Friday Five on a Friday (keep up), we’ve got a few minutes with the fabulous Stella Mwangi.
Stella has been at the top of the Norwegian iTunes chart for the last couple of weeks with Haba Haba, her entry in this year’s Melodi Grand Prix. And it’s also exciting the bookmakers – Stella is odds-on favourite to win this year.
She started out in music at the tender age of eight, and was on the hiphop scene since she was 11. At the same age, we were just watching the telly, not rapping. But that’s why Stella is on the stage and we aren’t.
Later on, Stella was the opening act for major names like Angélique Kidjo, Flo-Rida and Busta Rhymes. From there, she went on to record with Senegal’s Wagable, and topped the Senegalese and Gambian charts. Her awards and nominations include Favourite Female Artist at the East African Chaguo La Teeniez Awards, and a nomination as Best New Act at the MTV Africa Music Awards.
And you may have heard Stella’s tones on American’s Next Top Model and Melrose Place.
But you don’t want to know all about that. In fact, there are only five things you want to know about Stella Mwangi, aren’t there?
Well hello, Stella Mwangi. Can you describe your song in just one word?
Who are you influenced by?
I love all kinds of music, but if I had to choose from who I listen to the most when I want to get myself into a good mood, then it will probably be UB40 and Lauryn Hill. But there are so many.
Tell me something I would never have been able to find out about you from your website (klick-klick to www.stellamwangi.com, but not before you’ve finished reading this Q&A session)…
If I wasn’t a music artist, then I would have been – or I wished to be, at least – an astronaut.
What are you most excited about on Saturday, beside winning?
To rock the crowd!
Can you teach us a phrase in Norwegian?
Små seiere leder til store seiere. It means “Small accomplishments lead to big achievements”. And that’s also what “Haba haba hujaza kibaba” means!
So that’s Stella, quite definitely practising what she preaches.
Here she is:
Photo: Teigen, Trond Reidar
Direkt fra Sarpsborg tomorrow night is the Sistesjansen round of Melodi Grand Prix – and there’s quite a varied selection battling it out to secure a place in next week’s final at Oslo Spektrum.
The round features the six acts that came in third and fourth places in each of the three semi-finals, as well as the two acts that took in the most viewer votes to achieve a fifth place in their respective semi-final. Simple.
It may be a cliché, but it really is all to play for. We love Endre, Mimi Blix and Pernille & Marius, but any of the acts could triumph.
The full line-up:
Daisy Use Me vs Pernille & Marius I’ll Be Yours
Sie Gubba Alt du vil ha vs Mimi Blix Allergic
Gatas Parlament Jobbe litt mindre og tjene litt mer vs The Lucky Bullets Fire Below
Endre Oh, Oh (Puppy love) vs Susperia Nothing Remains
The contest between Endre and Susperia may actually be the most ridiculous competition ever in the history Eurovision pre-selections. Seriously, how can you compare ‘puppy love’ with metal?
Some news from Denmark. Yes, you heard right, Denmark. The land of the Danes. It does exist, you know.
This morning, we had the announcement of the ten entries for this year’s Melodi Grand Prix, and here they are. The most exciting entries for schlager fans are Jenny Berggren from Ace Of Base (!) and Lee Hutton from short-lived Irish band Industry. Jenny is singing a G:son song. And he has another song in the competition, too.
We’re awaiting reaction from a Danish schlager expert. Let’s hope he has something to say.
This is all fantastisk, as they say.
The full list of participants in the 26th February grand prix is:
Tekst og musik: Matilde Kühl, Sune Haansbæk & Ian Mack
Sine Vig Kjærgaard
You’ll Get Me Through
Tekst og musik: Henrik Janson & Hanif Sabzevari
25 Hours A Day
Tekst og musik: Erik Bernholm, Henrik Sethsson & Thomas G:son
Kat & Justin Hopkins
Black And Blue
Tekst og musik: Patric Johnson, Joakim Övrenius & Justin Hopkins
Tekst og musik: Christopher Brandt & Sisse Søby
A Friend In London
Tekst og musik: Lise Cabble & Jakob Glæsner
Tekst og musik: Jeffrey, Lasse Lindorff, Svend Gudiksen, Daniel Fält & Kim Nowak-Zorde
WILDCARD: Anna Noa
Tekst og musik: John Gordon, Lene Dissing & Peter Bjørnskov
WILDCARD: Stine Kinck
Hvad hjertet lever af
Tekst og musik: Pharfar, Rasmus Allin, Fresh-I & Stine Kinck
WILDCARD: Jenny Berggren
Let Your Heart Be Mine
Tekst og musik: Jeppe Federspiel & Thomas G:son
The Melodi Grand Prix stage has been stolen! Just days before the final takes place at Oslo Spektrum, the stage has vanished.
VG reports that the trailer containing the set furniture was parked up in Vestby overnight when the raid happened. The lorry’s GPS unit indicates that it has been driven across the border into Sweden.
”The stage floor has gone, along with part of the upper section” says MGP producer Dag Hvarring. ”If we don’t recover it, we’ll just have to set up the stage as best we can on Saturday.”
Police from both Norway and Sweden are investigating.
For more information, see www.vg.no/musikk/grand-prix/artikkel.php?artid=10013749
UPDATE: Part of the trailer has been located in the southern Swedish region of Skåne. Swedish police were on their way to assess the situation.
MORE: Helsingborgs Dagblad is reporting that a 25-year-old driver has been arrested where the trailer was found. It had been fitted with false registration plates, and has been secured by the local police in Helsingborg.
The condition of the stage is unknown at the moment, and it won’t be released until the Norwegian and Swedish police are satisfied that their investigations can proceed without it.
The theft echoes a similar crime last year, where the stage was removed to southern Sweden. Schlagerfiasko…
FURTHER: In yet another bizarre development, the cab that was hooked up to the trailer has also been found – in Denmark. International crimefiasko.
POSTSCRIPT: It looks like all will end well and the stage will be returned to Norway in time for the final. The prize for the best comment on the whole affair must go to Norwegian schlagerdames Astrid Foldal and Guri Idsø Viken, however. When trying to work out who’d done the crime on their blog, Good Evening Europe, there was only one person at the top of their suspect list:
Alexander Stenerud took it home. He suddenly remembered he is the only one in this country who totally owns the MGP stage. So why would anyone else drag it around?
We couldn’t agree more.