Norwegians clearly weren’t ready for black metal representation at the Eurovision Song Contest. The first black metal band to make it into Norway’s run-up to the gala international event lost out in the end to a clean-cut young man in a white dinner jacket.
They actually won one of four finalist spots at Norway’s glitzy Melodi Grand Prix Saturday night, but that’s where it ended for the four long-haired members of black metal band “Keep of Kalessin.”
Instead, juries in the four cities that hosted the song contest’s semi-finals awarded the most points to Didrik Solli-Tangen, a performer who couldn’t have been much more different from the black-clad head bangers in “Keep of Kalessin.”
While they belted out their song about the power of “The Dragon Tower” amidst lots of pyrotechnics and flashing lights, Solli-Tangen was more into dry ice effects for his ballad called “My heart is yours,” backed by five violinists.
The juries had boosted “Keep of Kalessin” as far as second place, just behind Solli-Tangen in their vote tallies. But the popular vote, phoned in by viewers all over the country, left Solli-Tangen with nearly 467,000 votes, well ahead of the nearest runners up.
They included another young Norwegian crooner, Bjørn Johan Muri, and the Norwegian-British boy band A1. None of the female finalists made it into the top four, meaning that a song by former Eurovision winner Rolf Løvland didn’t prevail either.
Solli-Tangen will now represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest which Norway will be hosting in Oslo in May, since young Norwegian singer Alexander Rybak won it last spring in Moscow. Solli-Tangen, from Porsgrunn in Telemark County, had won a spot in Saturday’s Melodi Grand Prix at one of the show’s four semi-finals on home turf, in neighboring Skien.
Like Rybak, Solli-Tangen has been a student of classical music at the Barratt Due Music Institute in Oslo and has focused on opera singing. His ballad, written by composer Hanne Sørvaag, allowed him to showcase the power of his voice, and he’d been favoured to win in the local press.
Melodi Grand Prix attracted a record crowd at the Oslo Spektrum Arena and was broadcast live nationwide. This year’s show marked the 50th anniversary of Norway’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, and the country’s only three winners — Rybak, Løvland and the pop duo Bobbie Sox — were all on hand for a nostalgic review of performances during the decades.