21 February 2021
Tix was no Fallen Angel when he comprehensively won Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix and therefore the ticket to the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, beating Keiino in the Gold Duel in the process. Keiino, Norway’s 2019 Eurovision representative and favourite to return this year, was blitzed by Tix, 380,033 to 281,043, in the final public vote. Curiously, all entries in the four-song Gold Final that proceeded the Gold Duel emerged from the first semi final. Blåsemafian feat. Hazel won their way to the final that night while Jorn, who lost to Blåsemafian in the first round duel, reached the final as the winner of the wildcard round. Gold Pass holders Tix and Keiino presented their songs on that night too.
Tix is a major favourite in Norway, so his victory can be seen as a triumph of a local product over something of broader international appeal. While many Eurovision fans were aghast that Keiino failed to win, lost in this is the fact these national finals are primarily a driver of the local music industry, especially culturally and linguistically. Personally, it was sad that Tix switched his song to the English version after initially presenting it as Ut Av Mørket at the first semi final. It lost so much, going from curious oddity to cheesy and almost lame. With Norway ditching international juries completely and Finland reducing their power to just 25% this year, at least there’s a movement back to local flavours. It’s a good sign for more interesting national finals and eventual Eurovision candidates instead of the derivative English language drivel that began to dominate so much.
01 Atle Pettersen – World On Fire
02 Raylee – Hero
03 Stavangerkameratene – Who I Am
04 Kiim – My Lonely Voice
05 Blåsemafian feat. Hazel – Let Loose
06 Emmy – Witch Woods
07 Tix – Fallen Angel
08 Kaja Rode – Feel Again
09 Rein Alexander – Eyes Wide Open
10 Imerika – I Can’t Escape
11 Keiino – Monument
12 Jorn – Faith Bloody Faith
Those in bold went to the Gold Final, where a new round of voting took place. Keiino and Tix then won through to the Gold Duel where the viewers voted again.
The main note from the MGP final was the improvement of so many entries from the semi finals. Even a vast improvement. Several really stepped it up, notably Emmy with Witch Woods, Stavangerkameratene impressed early with their cheery sound and powerful vocals, Kiim was on point vocally (shame about the bland ballad), Imerika was so heartfelt and captivating, and Atle Pettersen set the night off a blaze with his Swedish style uptempo number. Kaja Rode was fine in isolation. The weakest was Rein Alexander (lame song and I really hate singers acting out their songs) and Jorn. I grew tired of Faith Bloody Faith and, for a front man, there’s just no charisma. He should retire.
My Gold Final
Raylee – Hero
That Raylee didn’t make the actual MGP Gold Final is a shock, at least to not beat Jorn. The change in outfit for the final from dark blue to white was good, while the crazy 80s perm from the semi final was now on the dancers. She had a super long ponytail to whip about instead. Not convinced about that. Raylee performed and sung great, and the song was great, she’s great, the 80s are great, everything was great! It could just be that others were superior or I’m too much a slave to 80s music. Being placed second up didn’t help either. Perhaps she needed to save her Flashdance moment for the final to make a real splash. Anyway Raylee, don’t give up!
Blåsemafian feat. Hazel – Let Loose
I loved this mix of big brass instrumental sections and sexy jazz by the delicious Hazel. It’s so bop! Nothing to pick at this other than Raylee was my hero on the night.
Keiino – Monument
The group changed their outfits from grey to white for the final, so like with Raylee, they stood out much better on the stage. The problem I often have with vocal groups is they just stand around and sing at each other. It was a complaint about Keiino in 2019, and it’s similar here. While the Tix momentum was probably unstoppable this year, with a bit more stage action the result could have been closer. Minor quibbles as Keiino clearly rely on the strength of their songs and their chemistry, and they nailed the latter. As for the song, to send an artist again so soon, often the song is directly compared to the previous, and if not clearly superior, it can get ignored. Most people would say Spirit In The Sky is better than Monument, and that’s that.
Tix – Fallen Angel
I must admit, I’m more curious about Tix than I am a fan of Fallen Angel. I wish he’d kept his song in Norwegian, and it will be interesting to see how he and Fallen Angel grow on me over the weeks. There’s no doubting that there’s something about him. He reminds me a bit of Michal Szpak from Poland, who performed Color Of Your Life at Stockholm 2016. There was something magnetic about him, he was a charmer, and I get that vibe from Tix too. Songs are sort of similar with immediately engaging melodies, big sound, big vocals, and a bit camp. We’ll see.