Norway: NRK calls for the submission of entries
With the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest out the way and a disappointing last place in the final for Norway, NRK has now opened the door for new entries to be submitted for next year's Melodi Grand Prix.
In May, Norway had been one of the favourites at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku but even with a strong performance Tooji came last with his song Stay.
Now after a just a couple of months, broadcaster NRK is keen to get things underway for next year, already calling for the submission of songs for Norway's popular national final format, Melodi Grand Prix.
From the 1st of July until the 1st of September song writers and artists are urged to send in their entries; as many as they like, after which a panel chosen by NRK will pick the songs that will take part in the national selection, starting in January next year.
The rules for the competition are very similar to the rules of the Eurovision Song Contest where the artist must be 16 by the date of the first Semi-Final and that the song should never have been performed or released publically before.
A new face, a new direction?
For the last few years, the musical direction of Melodi Grand Prix has been overseen by the one and only Per Sundnes who, shortly after returning from Baku, announced that he would be moving on to new things and leaving NRK. Under his leadership Norway won Europe's favourite TV show in 2009 with Alexander Rybak and Fairytale and Norway's once ailing national final format has been injected with new life and become one of the most popular shows, not only in Norway but for the many thousands of fans all over Europe who tune in every year.
However, now the reigns and the associated responsibility have been handed over to someone equally as talented and experienced but at the same time with a slightly different take and vibe. Vivi Stenberg has a broad musical background and has worked for amongst other things on various NRK projects and for the record company, Sony.
Vivi Stenberg. Photo (NRK)
"Music in Norway is so unbelievably vital at the moment and I sincerely hope that we will attract composers and artists that reflect the golden age we are in. I hope that as many as possible sign up and that we end up with a good mix of musical genres with songs that touch, please and maybe provoke the viewers", Vivi said to NRK.no.
When asked about whether or not she has any specific artist or songwriter in mind whom she hopes will sign up, she said, "I haven't got any people that i'm sitting and crossing my fingers that they sign up, no. But I really want for potential songwriters and artists not to think that they have to have a "Eurovision-like" song or performance to be accepted. Surprise us!".
Melodi Grand Prix is a boot camp!
After having some time to reflect and to move onto pastures new after returning from Baku, Tooji agrees with the direction Vivi Stenberg wants to take with the competition.
"It is a boot camp! You experience an extreme amount in such a short amount of time and learn a lot. I had no stage experience when I took part but after 200 stage rehearsals you're well on your way. I would definitely urge others to sign up, MGP is a fantastic experience", he said.
Melodi Grand Prix 2013 will take place in January and February next year with the venue of one Semi-Final already announced as Steinkjer in Nord Trøndelag. Whoever wins the final, which in previous years has been held in Oslo, will have the right to represent Norway in Sweden next year where the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest is provisionally set to take place on the 14th, 16th and 18th of May.