Norwegian MGP gets a complete makeover, final on March 15
When the Norwegians pick their entry for Copenhagen next year, it will be through a refreshed and rebranded version of the Melodi Grand Prix selection show that first aired in 1960. Earlier, we reported on the first announcements of changes to the show.
Now, more details and visuals have been released. The final will air on Saturday, March 15 from Oslo Spektrum, a week after the Danish and Swedish finals, and the artists will be revealed in late January. The hosts will be the same as last year: Erik Solbakken and Jenny Skavlan.
MGP festival replaces traveling show
The show will be scaled down from the traveling semi-finals, that have been in place since 2006, to instead feature three semi-finals aired over a single weekend, live from Folketeateret Oslo on March 7 (Friday), March 8 (Saturday), and March 9 (Sunday). The final airs from Oslo Spektrum the following weekend.
This much shorter period of time is intended to create a feel of a festival, according to MGP project manager Stian Malme. “We wish to create an MGP festival in 2014. We want to give people a nice and intimate stage, so it is fitting to start the competition during a single weekend at Folketeateret. It will be intense, exciting and crazy good music being presented,” he said to nrk.no.
A look behind the scenes
The number of participants has also been scaled down. A total of 15 will take part in the three semi-finals, with three moving on to the final from each show, creating a final of nine performances.
The smaller amount is a part of a plan to let the viewers get to know the artists and songs better and the long road they need to travel before they reach the stage. A camera crew has been present with the jury during the song selection phase and will also document the hard efforts being put into preparing the entries for the stage. It will be published online, giving the public a look into the process.
“This year we have chosen to open up and for the first time show the artists’ journey to the stage. There is a lot of work behind the short 3 minute performance and it is intense work and a lot of preparation to get everything right,” said Malme.
After the artist reveal in January, the public will be able to follow work in the studio, choreography preparations, costume selections, and much more. Malme believes this will give the voting audience a much better foundation when they will choose who to vote for.
More pop and electronic music
The song selection is almost complete, done by a jury headed by Vivi Stenberg, with members Marie Komissar, Gisle G. Stokland, Tarjei Strøm, and Kathrine Synnes Finnskog. They choose 15 songs among the 600 that were submitted, although Stenberg did the first raw selection.
“We are very thorough and spend a lot of time discussing every song. For example, today we have spent 30 minutes on a song we disagree a little on,” said Gisle G. Stokland.
The jury was hand-picked by Stenberg, who wanted jury members that could cover as wide a musical field as possible. However, this does not mean we will see a show in March full of musical variety.
“The amount of songs that are in the pop/electronica genre is probably a little bigger than before. And you probably will not see as big a genre diversification as in previous years. But I am very satisfied that we have some of the best songwriters in the country and exciting new artists. Several of them have blown us away with songs that we really want to present to a larger audience,” said Stenberg.
Just this year, Norway had great success with the pop/electronica genre, when Margaret Berger’s “I Feed You My Love” came 4th in Malmö. But the show will also emphasize that record companies and songwriters can use MGP as a platform to launch new music and new artists.
“For most people, we will probably end up presenting a lot of unknown names, but I think that is a lot of fun because they have delivered really strong songs equal to the best from abroad. But there is also some strong, established names that we are very happy to see debut on the MGP stage,” said Stenberg.
New visual identity
Along with the new format, the look of Melodi Grand Prix also gets a makeover. Gone is the golden heart and the slightly eerie golden swords. The new identity is a drastic change to a much cleaner and sharper look, more in line with the clean, Nordic design culture.
Stay tuned for the reveal of the Norwegian artists and songs in late January!