Norway: Demonstration against Israel outside NRK before the first heat of MGP 2024!

When it became known on 5 January who would participate in Norwegian MGP, a bunch of protesters showed up outside NRK in Oslo. Fredrik Solvang, the host of MGP 2024 commented on the demonstration, stating that he does not support boycotting Israel in Eurovision 2024. He explained that such a decision would place him in a challenging position as a host, highlighting the inherent difficulty for a television station to adopt a stance amid an ongoing conflict, particularly when providing journalistic coverage.

Activities against Israel continue today in Oslo, Norway, when a few moments before the first heat of Melodi Grand Prix begins tonight, the Action Group for Palestine demonstrates outside the audience entrance at Marienlyst. They wrote in a press release:

“Our demand is that Norway and NRK work for the exclusion of Israel from Eurovision 2024. During the commemoration, we will have a total of 116 dead journalists.”

They further write that they want to remind NRK of its responsibility as a public service broadcaster, to stand in solidarity with freedom of the press and the special source journalists have to protect during war.

As of January 10, the government of Gaza reports that 116 journalists have been killed since October 7. There will also be 116 protesters outside NRK tonight. Protesters have laid on the ground, wearing blue vests to symbolize journalists who have been killed in the war. Janne Heltberg, who has turned up at the audience entrance says:

“We hope that NRK and Melodi Grand Prix get the courage to state from MGP that Israel does not have enough in Eurovision to do in 2024.”

Several other petitions have also been launched, which are being judged in Finland and Iceland.

Source: NRK

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Mileo: I watch the contest every year! | Interview

Mileo from Norway gave an interview to Eurovisionfun’s Apostolis and Paschalis and said that he is a true Eurovision fan and really wants to represent Norway in Eurovision 2024!

How’s the whole MGP experience so far?

A lot of stuff is going on, a lot of rehearsals, so many people messaging me. It’s way better than I had expected it to be.

Some things about him

I’m Australian-Norwegian, my dad comes from Oslo and I grew up half time here half time there. When you live in Sydney, which is incredibly multicultural, you end up with a group of people from somewhere else, so you never feel out of place.

The message of the song

When you like someone but they are with someone else and then you think how can I get rid of them? The character is crazy and wants to do whatever it takes to be with that person.
I wrote the song just for my project, the character of Mileo, who is a likable villain character. We sent the song and it was selected. It stands out and it’s great that they liked it enough so it is there.

What will we see on stage?

It’s very crazy. The character is insane and the staging shows that. He’s a little loopy and the whole stage reflects that. You’re gonna see the villain on stage. I can’t reveal more though.

Does he watch Eurovision?

I watch the contest every year. I drag my family and friends to watch it. I watch it almost every year. It’s always interesting. It’s a fantastic platform. 2012 is my favorite edition.

Which eurostars he would like to work with

I would like to work with Luke Black from Serbia and Jann from Poland.

Mileo’s message to our readers and viewers

Thank you so much, stream it. If you can vote for me! I really want to go there so badly. I love you and thank you so much!

We wish Mileo best of luck and we hope to see him in Malmo!

Sweden: No Auto-Tune in Melodifestivalen, says producer Karin Gunnarsson!

The organizers of the Norwegian equivalent to Melodifestivalen, Melodi Grand Prix, have decided to allow Auto-Tune to enhance the singing voices in this year’s competition.

Now SVT is responding to the neighboring country’s decision. Karin Gunnarsson, competition producer of Melodifestivalen spoke to Sveriges Radio Kulturnytt and said that SVT follows the guidelines of Eurovision Song Contest and hence it would be challenging to use Auto-Tune in the Swedish national selection process:

“This means that there would be a version of a song that must be revamped to suit Eurovision. And that’s just a good thing.”

Auto-Tune can be explained as an effect used to correct and manipulate the pitch of a voice. Among, other things, to avoid false notes. It is widely used in both live productions and recordings. And sometimes it is used, says Karin Gunnarsson, as a personal artistic choice:

“Some use it as an artistic and unique selling proposition to make their music or song stand out. But it will be hard to get that expression into Melodifestivalen as it is now. Those artists are not relevant, so to speak. Furthermore, there is no need or pressure from the industry artists that they want Auto-Tune.”

And Mårten Tomassen, who is chairman of the Norwegian Eurovision fan club, spoke to Sveriges Radio and expressed his belief that allowing Auto-Tune would be a step in the wrong direction.

“I don’t like it, one of the dubious aspects of Melodifestivalen is that the artist sings with the voice they are known with. Sometimes it’s an amazing vocal experience, other times not so good.” 

Do you think that Auto-Tune should be introduced at Melodifestivalen or any other Eurovision national selection processes? Let us know in the comments section below!

Source: Sveriges Radio / Kulturnytt / Helena Stinkvist Sörlin & Gustav Ingerhage

Stay tuned at EurovisionFun for all the latest news regarding the Eurovision Song Contest!

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EBU: The union’s take on Auto-Tune! | There is an exception to the rule!

While the EBU requires Eurovision participants to sing live with their raw vocals at the song contest, NRK has allowed so-called Auto-Tune in the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix. The Eurovision organizer had always been cautious about commenting on the topic, but now clearly outlines the rules for Auto-Tune to TV 2. EBU‘s communications department outlines:

“Live vocals are very important in our format and in the tradition of the competition. The quality of the main vocals is a large part of the overall assessment of the performance, both for the jury and the audience at home. That performance should happen live, and without manipulation.”

Auto-Tune is a digital music tool that corrects the pitch of the voice, even in real-time, so singers always hit the tone precisely. The technology became particularly famous in 1998 through the song “Believe” by Cher.

This is the exception

Despite the seemingly categorical ban, the EBU acknowledges that there does not exist a total Auto-Tune ban on the Eurovision stage.

“Auto-Tune can be used as a sound effect on parts of a song, but we don’t allow it to correct the tone of the lead singer or backing vocals throughout the song.”

This means that the controversial technology can be used in a registered song, but no more extensive form than as an effect grip. President Morten Thomassen of the Norwegian Eurovision club says about the new information:

“I think it is the first time they clarify these rules so much. It’s good that they’re still against Auto-Tune on paper, but the way I interpret the rules, it can be applied to the vocally difficult parts of the song and that’s probably where it’s needed most I would think.”

“Unfortunately, Auto-Tune is here to stay”

Thomassen is not satisfied with the fact that Auto-Tune is freely allowed in the NRK competition of MGP, which is the stage where Norway‘s Eurovision entry is to be selected from, expressing his clear dissatisfaction when he spoke to TV 2 on Tuesday.

He thought Auto-Tune in a contest like Eurovision is like “putting too much makeup on the bride”, and already last year asked NRK to reverse the choice of the sometimes reviled technology.

Do you agree with the use of Auto-Tune at the Eurovision Song Contest? Let us know in the comments section below!

Stay tuned at EurovisionFun for all the latest news regarding the Eurovision Song Contest!

Source: TV 2

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Norway: Stig Karlsen reveals changes in MGP 2024 combined voting ratio!

Yesterday NRK, the Norwegian public broadcaster, revealed details on how MGP 2024 will be structured.

Stig Karlsen, Norway‘s Head of Delegation, took part in a bubble rally in the Facebook group “Grand Prix Bobla” which was streamed on YouTube, Facebook and escNorge and he revealed even more details about next year’s national selection process.

Combined voting ratio changes! | People have the power!

Karlsen revealed that after the return of the jury in MGP 2023, the jury will remain in next year’s selection proces. However, Stig has previously advocated that the jury should count somewhat less than 50% in Eurovision. In yesterday’s interview he explained that he sees MGP and Eurovision as the people’s programs, and that it is therefore important that it is the people who have the final and decisive word, and that people should therefore count more than the jury votes. He more than hinted that this will be the case in MGP 2024. Then the jury will count 40%, while the popular vote counts 60%.

He also explained that work is being done on new and better technology to handle the popular vote. The system of only being able to vote from the NRK app, or as a logged-in user, has as a weakness that no one under the age of 13 can actually vote. This is because you must be over 13 years old to be able to create a profile with NRK. Another weakness is that it is easy to create more profiles, and thus acquire more votes than you have the right to use.

Broadcast from two studios

Stig Karlsen said that there will be two studios involved in the broadcast. One studio will be used as the main stage and the other studio will act as a green room. Both studios will have audience present and people can choose whether to buy a ticket on one studio or the other.

Are any released songs competing at MGP 2024?

New this year is that all songs released after September 1st are allowed to compete. When asked if there are any songs out on the charts, on the radio or elsewhere now, and that are ready for MGP, the MGP boss answered yes.

This year, Norway was represented by Alessandra and the song “Queen of Kings”. With a total of 268 points, Alessandra came in fifth place overall and third in the televote. Will Norway be able to maintain its success and secure a third consecutive top 10 finish?

Photo: Mandy Pettersen/ESC Norge

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Marcus & Martinus: “Soon we will be back to Greece for a concert, during our European tour!” | Exclusive interview!

Marcus Gunnarsen and Martinus Gunnarsen, the known Norwegian duo of Marcus & Martinus, turned 21 just three days after the third heat of Melodifestivalen 2023, in which they participated. Winners of the first round of voting, they have secured their place in the semi-final show and are also big favorites to win in the final show, on March 11th!

Eurovisionfun is in Stockholm and Marcus & Martinus met us at the Quality Friends Hotel, right next to the arena and Andreas Papayiannakis secured an exclusive interview with them just two days before the grand final! They commented on their number this year, their love for Greece, their new beginning in Sweden, their relationship with the composers of their participation this year as well as the reasons why they preferred Melodifestivalen instead of MGP.

After today’s rehearsal they feel more confident compared to the week of the third heat that took place in Lidköping.

We are very excited, we feel ready, we want to start now, to get on stage and do it for the people!

Marcus & Martinus became widely known to the Norwegian public through “Melodi Grand Prix Junior” in 2012, but they feel that they have changed a lot as artists eleven years later:

We are more experienced and have changed a lot. Since then we have been on stage quite a lot and we hope to be able to show to the people that we have evolved even compared to the last show we did in Sweden.

Going back eleven years, Marcus & Martinus were guests at that year’s MAD VMAs where they performed “Make You Believe In Love”. They could not hide their love for Greece and have added:

If we win this year we will do a promotional tour in Europe right away, if not, after the summer we will start a European tour and we will definitely visit Greece! We love Greece, we love our fans in Greece, they are great!

Last year we spotted them at the after-party of the semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2022, held at the Friends Arena. Since very recently, they are now based musically in Sweden, Stockholm in specific. They commented on their decision:

Stockholm is the capital of music in all of Scandinavia. There are many good musicians, composers, lyricists, producers. It’s amazing for us to work in Stockholm!

Their collaboration with the composers of Air didn’t happen by chance as they have worked with all of them before, especially Joy (“Next To Me“) and Linnea Deb (“One Flight Away“) several years ago.

We knew that if we wanted to make a song for Melodifestivalen we had to work with the best. We have known them for many years, we have good chemistry with them. We are very happy about the song that came out!

When asked if the song was aiming Melodifestivalen they were clear! This song was written to be a fit for Melodifestivalen and the Eurovision Song Contest:

It only took us four hours to write the song. To some, this may sound like a lot, but for us who write music, is not at all! The day had a great flow and everything went perfectly!

But why did they prefer Melodifestivalen instead of MGP which is the Eurovision selection procedure of the country they were born and raised in? They answered us that everything had to do with the right timing. After their victory in “Masked Singer Sverige” and over the last year they’ve done several things in Sweden:

We know that Melodifestivalen is very important for Sweden and the Swedes, it’s really nice to be part of it, perform at the Mello tour with all those concerts around Sweden and it’s really an honour for us to be part of it.

In their staging and performance in the final show, they do not intend to make many changes except some minor improvements. However, if they are selected on Saturday to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, they will make several changes and promise us that we will see many cool things!

Like most artists, the pandemic has affected them both professionally and personally and Marcus adds:

Both personally and professionally the pandemic affected us a lot! We couldn’t do concerts, get in touch with our fans, we couldn’t release new music because we couldn’t promote it. But at the same time it was also a time for us to feel like normal teenagers. We are from a very small village with about 800 people, we went to our first party at the age of 18 years old, we drank alcohol for the first time when we were about 19 – 19 and a half years old. It affected myself more than Martinus, I wanted to be able to work but all I could do was wait for this to be over!

Of this year’s Melodifestivalen songs, they like “On My Way” by Panetoz which they consider very underrated but has very nice vibes, “Where Did You Go” by Kiana and of course “Tattoo” by Loreen.

Watch the full interview with Marcus and Martinus below:

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Sweden: Markus & Martinus were asked to participate in MGP but declined the offer!

Melodifestivalen 2023 is underway and the third heat took place in Lidköping on Saturday with Norwegian duo Markus & Martinus and Paul Rey advancing to the Grand Final in Stockholm.

There have been a lot of comments online regarding the participation of Markus & Martinus at the Swedish national final, while they are currently second in the betting odds to win Melodifestivalen 2023. As they revealed in an interview at the Swedish Newspaper Expressen, they were asked to participate in Melodi Grand Prix 2023, the Norwegian national selection for Eurovision, but declined the offer, since they have already agreed to take part in the Swedish preselection.

The boys are based in Sweden over the last years while they also have a new PR and Management team, after signing with Universal Sweden.

Despite not being registered or born in Sweden, a prerequisite to participate in Melodifestivalen, they are able to participate in the show since the songwriters of their entry “Air” (Jimmy “Joker” Thörnfeldt, Joy Deb and Linnea Deb) are all Swedish and co-wrote the song along with Marcus & Martinus.

The final of Melodifestivalen 2023 will take place on March 11th at Friends Arena in Stockholm.

Stay tuned to Eurovisionfun for all the updates on the Swedish Eurovision entry and more!

Source: Expressen

Norway: The results of the 3rd Semi Final of Melodi Grand Prix!

The third and last Semi-Final of 2023 Melodi Grand Prix, the show that is going to determine the Norwegian representative in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool, took place tonight. 7 more artist gave it all on stage for the three last tickets that lead to the Grand Final on the 4th of February.

The hosts of the show were Arian Engebø and Stian Thorbjørnsen

The 7 contestants of the third semi-final were:

  1. Akuvi – “Triumph”
  2. Tiril – “Break It”
  3. Skrellex – “Love Again”
  4. Eline Thorp – “Not Meant to Be”
  5. Stig van Eijk – “Someday”
  6. Maria Celin – “Freya”
  7. Atle Pettersen – “Masterpiece”

The voting lines opened after all the aforementioned artists had performed. The outcome of every show is solely in the hands of the televoters.

The Norwegian public decided that the three best performances of the third semi final were:

    Eline Thorp – “Not Meant to Be”

     Atle Pettersen – “Masterpiece”

    Skrellex – “Love Again”

The Grand Final is going to take place next Saturday at 19:50 CET! You can watch MGP 2023 by clicking HERE.

Stay tuned to EurovisionFun, for all the news regarding Norway’s participation at Eurovision Song Contest 2023!

Norway: The results of the 1st Semi Final of Melodi Grand Prix!

Tonight took place the first semi-final of the 2023 Melodi Grand Prix, the show that determines the representative of the the Kingdom of Scandinavia, Norway, to the Eurovision Song Contest. 7 artists competed with then aim to win the three tickets that lead to the Grand Final on the 4th of February.

The hosts of the show were Arian Engebø and Stian Thorbjørnsen

The 7 contestants of the first semi-final were:

  1. Alessandra Mele – “Queen of Kings“
  2. Erik Næss – “Wave“
  3. Rasmus Thall – “TRESKO“
  4. Kate Gullbrandsen – “Tårer i paradis“
  5. Umami Tsunami featuring Kyle Alessandro, Kristian Haugstøyl & Magnus Winjum – “Geronimo“
  6. Ulrikke Brandstorp – “Honestly“
  7. Byron Williams Jr & Jowst – “Freaky For The Weekend“

After the performances of all the artists, the voting lines opened. The outcome was solely in the hands of the televoters.

The Norwegian public decided that the three best performances of the night were:

Umami Tsunami featuring Kyle Alessandro, Kristian Haugstøyl & Magnus Winjum – “Geronimo“

     Ulrikke Brandstorp –“Honestly“

Alessandra Mele – “Queen of Kings“

The next heat will take place next Saturday at 19:50 CET! You can watch MGP 2023 by clicking HERE.

Stay tuned to EurovisionFun, for all the news regarding the Norway’s participation at Eurovision Song Contest 2023!

Norway: The entries of Melodi Grand Prix 2023 have been selected!

As confirmed by Norway’s head of delegation in the Eurovision Song Contest, Stig Karlsen, and also by Eurovision Norway, the 21 artists and songs that will compete in Melodi Grand Prix 2023 have already been selected.

The announcement of the 21 artists who will compete to represent Norway at Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool will take place in early January.

Details on how Melodi Grand Prix 2023 will be held have yet to be announced, but it is expected to include three qualifying rounds and a Grand Final, hosted by Arianrhod Engebø and Staysman. According to previous statements by Stig Karlson, the inclusion of an international committee is likely, unlike in recent years, where the results of Melodi Grand Prix were determined solely by the television audience.

In Eurovision 2022, Norway was represented by Subwoolfer with “Give That Wolf a Banana”, finishing 10th in the Grand Final with 182 points.

Stay tuned to Eurovisionfun for all the developments regarding Norway’s participation in Eurovision 2023, in Liverpool!

Source: Eurovision Norway, Stig Karlsen