At least Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) won’t have to spend as much as NOK 150 million producing and hosting the Eurovision Song Contest next year. The money would have been found, but Alexander Rybak’s 15th-place finish in Saturday night’s final takes the strain off NRK, and him.
“Now I’m just glad I can sleep in on my birthday,” Rybak told NRK with a smile after the long Eurovision final that didn’t end until nearly 1am on Sunday, when he was turning 32.
He wound up with 144 points for his song entitled “That’s how you write a song,” way below his big win in 2009 with “Fairytale” and less than a third of the 529 points that went to the winning song “Toy,” by Israeli singer Netta Barzilai. She won the popular vote, edging out the jury vote’s front-runners Austria, Cyprus and Sweden, with her funny tribute to being different that came in the wake of the international “MeToo” campaign against sexual harassment. Her lyrics “I’m not your toy, you stupid boy” clearly struck a chord with the millions of people watching the show live from Lisbon and then casting their own votes.
Rybak described her victory as herlig, which literally translates to glorious and grand. “I love everything that’s different,” Rybak said. “That’s Israel, and it was good music, too.”
His 144 points (60 from the juries around Europe and 84 from the public) put him behind Sweden (which lost the public vote with only 21 points, to land at 274) and Denmark, whose singing Vikings won 226 points with the 5th-highest amount of public votes. Rybak was disappointed, but seemed to shrug it off in good humour.
“When you take part in a competition, you go for victory,” Rybak told NRK. “That didn’t happen, so it’s okay to be disappointed. The most important thing for me is that I put on my best performance of the week. We did as well as we could. I’m very satisfied that the performance was good.”
He was also already looking forward to trying again. “I can see myself taking part in Grand Prix (Norway’s version of the national Eurovision preliminary) seven or eight more times,” Rybak said. “I just love the whole Grand Prix excitement. I don’t know whether I’ll go farther the next time, but I like the feeling of competition.”