Welcome to Xtra Insider, our new series which will give you an insight into how well each country was statistically likely to do this year, as well as what the team at ESCXTRA think of your favourite entries into (what would have been) this year’s contest! Today, we analyze and review Norway!
Yes, this year’s contest has been cancelled…but that doesn’t mean we can’t love the songs! In this series, we’ll review each and every entry that would have taken part in this year’s Eurovision. On top of this, we’re introducing a new analysis section in which we take a look into each country’s history and how likely they would have been to do well this year. Our honest and brutal reviews and analysis will keep you entertained throughout what would’ve been the Eurovision season! We will also each give points using the usual Eurovision points system (12, 10, then 8 down to 1), and create an ESCXTRA leaderboard of the entries!
Today, we’ll be giving analysis and reviews of the Norwegian entry, Attention by Ulrikke Brandstorp, from Costa, Lisa, Nick, Riccardo, Vincent and Wiv. Let’s get started!
Norway’s history at Eurovision
Norway has participated in the contest a total of 58 times since the Nordic country debuted in the contest in 1960. Their first entry in the contest was Nora Brockstedt’s song “Voi Voi,” which came fourth out of 13. The country has come last 11 times, most recently in the 2012 Grand Final with the song “Stay” by Tooji.
However, they have also come first on three occasions: in 1985 with “La Det Swinge” by Bobbysocks!, in 1995 with “Nocturne” by Secret Garden, and in 2009 with Alexander Rybak’s “Fairytale.” Their most recent entry, “Spirit in the Sky,” came 6th overall after winning the televote.
This year’s entry
This year, as a celebration of 60 years of Norway at Eurovision, the Norwegian broadcaster, NRK, decided to hold a huge edition of their national final, Melodi Grand Prix. Twenty-five songs from all over Norway competed and in the end, MGP was won by 2017 MGP veteran Ulrikke Brandstorp with the song “Attention.” It’s a classic by-the-numbers Eurovision power ballad with the essentials: strong vocals, violins, fog, and a shower of golden sparks at the climax. It’s safe, but effective.
How does this kind of song tend to do in the contest?
This song has jury bait written all over it. 2019 showed that there are still large discrepancies between jury winners like North Macedonia’s “Proud” and televote winners like Norway’s “Spirit in the Sky” last year, and this song is definitely closer to the former. Even though she did win a televote only gold final, the juries eliminated the biggest televote threat after a voting malfunction made the public vote unusable for the first round. Juries probably could’ve carried this to the left half of the scoreboard in ESC, but the televote would probably be this song’s downfall.
SO WHY! WHY am I such a sucker for a power ballad? Especially when they’re executed as flawlessly as “Attention”. The production is immaculate, Ulrikke has proven repeatedly that she can deliver this song effortlessly and EMOTE to the camera…how could I not stan? I will forgive her for the tacky ‘dancefloor’ lyrics because this is otherwise flawless to me.
I still remember Ulrikke’s amazing pop smash ‘Places’ in MGP a few years ago. So it’s great to see another side of her range. It has come full circle as we have KEiiNO to thank for Ulrikke returning! That emotive delivery certainly makes you pay attention. It’s reminiscent of Dami Im taking what seems on the surface a simple pop ballad and elevating it to another level with the purity of vocals.
You know when a recipe sounds really good, but when the plate comes to your table, you’re left disappointed by an insipid dish? Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel about this entry…
The first thing I want to say is that Ulrikke’s voice is soothing and powerful at once, which I love. Plus, the instrumentation is incredible. However, this feels like two songs merged into ones and it takes a bit too much to pick up, I wish the incredibly powerful climactic ending started much sooner. Still a solid effort nonetheless
Somehow, during MGP, I couldn’t understand why people liked this song, and how it could win. I’d seen the performance and thought “suuuuure”. And then came the MPG Final, and it struck me how great that song was. The performance is powerful, punching, flawless, the song is well-written, and after her narrow victory it jumped to my top 10 and stayed there.
Nine out of ten times I think Norway picks the wrong songs, and this year is no exception. Ulrikke is without a doubt a good singer, but this song is very much not my cup of anything. It feels cold and calculated, and doesn’t do anything for me.
Therefore, Norway scores 134 points in total!
Norway reaches sixth place, just missing out to Ukraine, with a score of 134.
- Bulgaria – 163
- Russia – 156
- Israel – 148
- Serbia – 139
- Ukraine – 135
- Norway – 134
- Romania – 121
- Australia – 117
- Austria – 111
- Belgium – 109
- Czech Republic – 104
- Cyprus – 97
- San Marino – 97
- Albania – 97
- Moldova – 82
- Poland – 76
- Georgia – 72
- Slovenia – 53
Tomorrow, it will be the turn of Armenia to be reviewed. For now, take another listen to Norway’s entry below!
Do you agree with our reviews of Norway? What are your thoughts on Attention?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA