Veterans win Eurovision qualifier

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Even though it was her first attempt at actually performing in the competition, singer/song writer Hanne Sørvaag did well in her heat in the qualifying rounds of Norway’s Eurovision Song Contest (called Melodi Grand Prix). She made it to the final after her performance in Fløro in western Norway over the weekend.

After writing songs for lots of other singers, Hanne Sørvaag wrote one for herself, and won a spot in Norway's run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest. PHOTO: Hanne Sorvaag.com

“I never quite know what people want, so I try something new, over and over again,” Sørvaag told newspaper Aftenposten after Saturday’s performance. “Every once in a while I hit the bull’s eye.”

Last year she wrote Didrik Solli Tangen’s winning song “My heart is yours,” as well as the Georgian Eurovision entry. Two years earlier she wrote the German song that won the competition. She has also written a number of songs for the Swedish competition.

The contestant which won most points from the audience on Saturday, however, was the band Babel Fish.  They made their comeback almost a decade after their last record release. Their song “Depend on me” won the 90’s-style band a place in the final. Their success this weekend may prompt them to record more than just the one tune which they performed in the competition.

“It was a kind of test to see what people would like,” says lead singer Tarje van Ravens.

Babel Fish’s breakthrough came in 1997 with their radio hit “Mania.” The band can look back on hits in the Top Ten in not only Norway, but also in Spain, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. In recent years, though, band members had gone back to their traditional jobs.

“I’m so happy that we were talked into doing this,” Ravens told Aftenposten. He said it was “nerve-wracking,” though: “Per Sundsnes (of NRK) contacted us four years ago, but we didn’t feel we had the right song until now. I’m really glad that all four of us have flexible employers.”

Sørvaag with her song “You’re like a melody” and Babel Fish will join pop duo  Åste & Rikke and Helene Bøksle at the Norwegian final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo on February 12. The last semi-final will be held next weekend in Sarpsborg, with Use Me, Sie Gubba, Mimi Blix and Endre Nordvik getting another attempt to qualify.

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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