Tonight, Norway will complete the line-up for their national final, held in Oslo Spektrum this upcoming Saturday. Of course, Mr Becks has to have his say on the lucky candidates.
1. Anne Hvidsten - A Little More 3/5
This is not a bad opening to a show - a pop/rock song with a very clear melody line and chorus (a welcome break in these troubled times where you have to send out search parties to find anything close to a refrain), smitten with a tiny touch of country music. Maybe that is what is wrong - the country pop sound was very in a few years back and may not feel too relevant any more. Not a bad song in any way, though, and Anne's delivery is spot on and rather charmful.
2. Zuma - Always, Always 3/5
Does anyone remember Photogenique from the 1997 Swedish final? A surprisingly modern and convincing entry, ruined by a synthezier duo that just wanted too much and overdid the entire performance. I can't help thinking of Photogenique when I hear and see Zuma in action. I like this, I really do, but I can also see a lot of people that will feel totally rejected by the attitude on display. The singer is slightly too theatrical and distant to break through to the large audience. Which is a shame.
3. Tinkerbells - Hold On 1/5
What I wrote about country pop in conncetion to song #1 applies here as well. But this is so obvious and bang-on that it leaves me a bit tired, wanting not more but something else. It feels like the song is not finished or polished or anything, and then it won't help however cheerful the performing trio may be. And, a note for the future: this is 2008. The word "cool" is not very cool to use in lyrics anymore. Just so you know.
4. Podium - Lystgass 1/5
Not the worst rock song we were ever treated to in the history of national finals, but let's face it: life is just too short to be spent listening to songs like these. Loud in an annoying way, and a very bad choice for Belgrade, but surely a hit at the local rock club.
5. Lene Alexandra - Sillycone Valley 3/5
Many fans rocket out in orbit when they hear this song and hail it as this year's masterpiece. Maybe it is, but despite liking it, I fail to see that final touch of brilliance that everyone gets worked up about. I would like the chorus to be more powerful, and there is something about the verses that are even close to annoying. However, this song has already entered the singles chart in Norway and it would be foolish to leave it out then. Entertaining enough, but not my favourite.
6. Ole Ivars - Som i himmelen 2/5
Call me mad (and I know miss Posh will) but I defend the presence of dansband in the Nordic national finals. It is a big musical movement that means a lot for many people, and last year I would have preferred Jenny Jensen to Guri Schanke as Norweigan representative. There is something mighty genuine about this whole thing, and I find the classical detail in the arrangement to be very charming (even though it annoys me that I can't make out what symphony it is taken from). But on the total, the song in itself is a bit too light-weight to have any chance anywhere except, possibly, in the Norweigan final.
Lene Alexandra and Ole Ivars will pass on to Saturday's final - something new and something old. Possibly the dansband-audience won't be supportive enough, and then Anne or Zuma could be in with a chance, and maybe I would like either of the two more. But I would prefer dansband over trolls any given day.