Curtain falls for Eurovision entry

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Ulrikke Brandstorp was supposed to be Norway’s entry in this year’s annual Eurovision song contest that was cancelled  because of the Corona virus threat. State broadcaster NRK has decided to mount a whole new qualifying round for next year’s Eurovision and offered Brandstorp a spot in its final, but Bransdstorp has turned it down.

Norwegian singer Ulrikke Brandstorp had turned down an automatic spot in the finals of next year’s Eurovision qualifier. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

“As of now I’ve said ‘no thank you,'” Brandstorp wrote on social media this week. “I didn’t want a place in the finals because I didn’t get to perform in Eurovision this year.” She would rather try to win it again with “just as good a song” as her song Attention won for her this year.

Brandstorp’s victory at Norway’s Eurovision qualifier, called Melodi Grand Prix, also came after a technical breakdown in the system for viewer voting from home. That led to a jury, not viewers, choosing the top finalists in what was branded by many as a “scandal” that angered many fans and clouded the final selection round last month.

She was still widely viewed, though, as the legitimate winner of Norway’s qualifying rounds that should have cleared the way for her to perform at Eurovision in the Netherlands in May. The huge show was cancelled last week, however, because of all the uncertainty around whether it could be mounted in the midst of the Corona virus crisis. Most countries have since put travel restrictions in place and even closed borders, so it would have been all but impossible for the European Broadcasting Union to present Eurovision’s two semi-finals and final.

‘Full understanding’
Brandstorp had said she was disappointed but had “full understanding” for the cancellation, given the need to limit the spread of the Corona virus. She said she had looked forward to representing Norway at the popular song contest that brings European countries together, “but right now there are more important things than a music competition.”

While some countries have decided that this year’s winners will be their representatives at next year’s Eurovision, other countries including Sweden, Finland and Iceland will arrange new national finals. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) decided the same this week, to mount a new Melodi Grand Prix (MGP) series of semi-finals and a final with 10 singers, from whom Norway’s Eurovision 2021 entry will be selected.

‘Important showcase for Norwegian music’
“The public is best-served by arranging MGP in line with its 60-year-long tradition,” said Christina Rezk Resar, acting editor of NRK Underholding, the state broadcaster’s entertainment division that produces Norway’s Eurovision qualifier.

She said the show “has always been an important showcase for Norwegian music, and given the situation the music industry is in now (with massive concert cancellations because of the Corona virus fears), it’s more important than ever to protect its role and present a wide array of Norwegian artists and new songs.”

Brandstorp has agreed to sing this year’s winning song Attention during next year’s show in Norway, along with a new song. “Ulrikke is a fantastic artist whom we’ll surely see a lot more of in the years to come,” said Resar.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund