Last chance for Eurovision hopefuls

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This weekend marks the last chance for contenders to qualify for this year’s Norwegian Eurovision final, known as Melodi Grand Prix. The winner of this past weekend’s qualifying heat sang part of her song in Swahili.

Kenyan-Norwegian singer Stella Mwangi charmed the voters at the latest Melodi Grand Prix song contest in Norway, the run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest in May. PHOTO: Stella Mwangi

This week’s winner in Skien was Kenyan-Norwegian Stella Mwangi. She and the runners up, The BlackSheeps, are therefore cleared for the finals at the Oslo Spektrum Arena on February 12.

Third- and fourth place went to the rockabilly band The Lucky Bullets, and the metal band Susperia. Susperia was allowed a second attempt when technical problems spoiled their first performance.

But it was Stella Mwangi who won the hearts of the audience in Skien and state broadcaster NRK’s television viewers with African rhythms and words of wisdom. Her song Haba Haba was partly sung in Swahili.

The BlackSheeps from Finnmark were already known to the audience as they had won the 2008 junior Eurovision competition both in Norway and the Nordic final. Three years later they showed that they could also appeal to adult listeners. It was the first time that a contestant from the junior competition has reached the adult final, reported  news website abcnyheter.no.

In previous heats Helene Bøksle, Babel Fish, Hanne Sørvåg and the duo Åste and Rikke qualified for the finals.

The remaining acts that will try to win a place in the finals are, in addition to The Lucky Bullets and Susperia, Sie Gubba, Mimi Blix, Use Me and Endre.

There was some drama after Saturday’s show as well, when a semi-trailer carrying Melodi Grand Prix’ stage gear was stolen, reported NRK. A tracing device on the trailer, however, showed that it had been driven across the border to Sweden.

Stage crews were already  trying to improvise a new set, when Swedish police managed to locate the vehicle a few hundred kilometers south of the border. The props for the show were being taken from last Saturday’s show in Skien in Telemark to Sarpsborg in Østfold, where the final qualifying round will be held this coming Saturday. A full recovery of the stolen equipment was expected.

Views and News from Norway/Sven Goll
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