Some Norwegian music critics were singing the blues on Monday after the annual music awards show called Spellemannprisen played out on state broadcaster NRK over the weekend. Most of the criticism came over the choice of the show’s special award of merit.
Often seen as a sort of lifetime achievement, the so-called Hederspris went this year to 52-year-old pop singer Morten Abel, who some argue is too young to receive such an award. Others, including the music critic for Norway’s major tabloid newspaper VG, argued he hadn’t achieved it as a singer either. Thomas Talseth of VG called the price “a slap on the shoulder to someone who has struggled with his career.”
Abel shook off the criticism, claiming he was a worthy winner. He likened the criticism to sour grapes, said he believed he’d been an inspiration to other musicians and that the award recognized his work and what it has meant to “the entire music industry” in Norway.
“It’s a bit like when (US President Barack) Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize,” Abel told NRK. “The prize came a bit suddenly and a bit too early. We still want to prove ourselves and we still want to impress.”
The Spellemann Award of the Year went to the pop duo sensation Nico & Vinz, who have enjoyed huge international success and were not present to receive their award.
Critics otherwise claimed the Spellemann Awards have outplayed their role in Norway and that the judges need to be more modern and daring. Others defended the prizes and claimed the show was one of the best ever.