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XTRA DECIDES: 🇳🇴 ‘Queen of Kings’ is our favourite of MGP 2023 semi-final 1

XTRA DECIDES sees the team here at ESCXTRA score the Eurovision national final songs, reviewing our winner. Follow us from here through to March 2023 as we make our choices for Eurovision 2023.

Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix kicks off this Saturday with the first of three semi-finals. As before we will be picking our favourites from each of the semi-finals before eventually choosing our favourite to win the contest.

Alessandra Mele with ‘Queen of Kings’ is our favourite from this semi-final. Based on our scores, Ulrikke with ‘Honestly’ and Kate Gulbrandsen with ‘Tårer i paradis’ would also be our choices to qualify for the grand final.

The Scores

RankTotal12s
1Alessandra Mele – Queen of Kings 1527
2Ulrikke – Honestly 1406
3Kate Gulbrandsen – Tårer i paradis 941
4Umami Tsunami – Geronimo790
5Eirik Næss – Wave640
6Rasmus Thall – TRESKO420
7Byron Williams Jr & Jowst – Freaky For The Weekend310

The Reviews

Lisa (Alessandra Mele – Queen of Kings)
We love a Nordic kitchen sink. Intense rave beats to make Tungevaag proud – Yes! Violin orchestration – Yes! Bombastic vocals – Yes! This is definitely the ‘Queen of Kings’ in the monarchy of MGP 2023 and my winner that would go to Liverpool if there is any justice in the world. The production blends well and the violins give the song extra depth to make it more than just the ‘Run To The Hills’ comparison that a lot of people are mentioning. Everyone needs a chaotic disaster bop in their lives and I can’t wait to see what this delivers live if the cover art and song is anything to go by!
Bo (Ulrikke – Honestly)
Remember all the feels we had after listening to Ulrikke’s previous MGP 2020 song ‘Attention’? Three years later, she makes us reach for the handkerchiefs once again! ‘Honestly’ is an honest (pun intended) and powerful pop-ballad that is right up Ulrikke’s alley. She sings of her lover, who has been struggling mentally and in pain. She admits she hasn’t recognized his emotionals, and now she is scared of losing him. She believed their love was forever, and that she has always been willing to listen to his problems. In true Eurovision style, Ulrikke adds some lyrics in her native Norwegian: Til evig tid (forever). The song beautifully builds up to a dramatic ending, where I myself can already picture the fireworks exploding during the high note. We already know Ulrikke’s got some strong vocals and a good stage presence, so without a doubt this song will work on the live stage. My only fear is that many people will link ‘Honestly’ to ‘Attention’, where there are admittedly a few similarities. Nonetheless, ‘Honestly’ is a unique and emotional song that for sure will resonate with many viewers at home.
Nick (Kate Gulbrandsen – Tårer i paradis)
I love it when a former entrant returns. Especially when they are responsible for my favourite entry of that country. Kate Gulbrandsen is an artist to my heart. Her 1987 entry is exactly what you’d expect from the 1980s and Eurovision and now she’s back. Tårer I Paradis is the comeback you’d hope for: A gentle build up resulting in a great finish. I can see this with some dry ice, heavy spotlights and lots of white on that MGP stage. I just hope the Norwegian crowd enjoy it as much as I do, because.. this is too beautiful to suffer from ageism. Norway, you know what you need to be doing: Send this to the final of MGP.

The Melodi Grand Prix 2023 format

NRK have this year made some changes to the Melodi Grand Prix format. Previous years have seen a set of semi-finalists competing for a place in a final , with an additional set of pre-qualified artists. This year all the acts will compete together across three semi-finals before the grand final.

  • 14 January – Semi-Final 1
  • 21 January – Semi-Final 2
  • 28 January – Semi-Final 3
  • 4 February – Grand Final

Norway chose Subwoolfer as their entrant for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. “Give That Wolf A Banana” finished top ten at the final in Turin, Italy.


What do you think of our decision? Let us know! Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter@escxtra on Instagram@escxtra on TikTok and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to follow us on Spotify for the latest music from your favourite Eurovision acts.

Tom O'Donoghue

Music photographer based in Somerset, United Kingdom. Photographer for London Eurovision Party.

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