Norwegian singer-songwriter Andreas Haukeland, better known as “TIX,” was the first to be named Tuesday night as a finalist in the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam. Both a professional jury and members of the public clearly thought his song, Fallen Angel, was worthy of a second performance before the world’s largest audience this weekend.
There was no particular order for how finalists are named, but Norwegian fans were thrilled when Norway was announced as the first finalist of 16 representatives of member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. They’d all performed in the first Eurovision semi-final on Tuesday and 10 were chosen to move on to the final on Saturday night. A second semi-final will be held on Thursday.
TIX, known as a sensitive performer who doesn’t hide his emotions, seemed overcome after belting out his love song with his “demons” dancing around him. He stood almost motionless while taking in the cheers and applause, and later claimed his victory was shared with the “entire” Norwegian population.
“We did it,” Tix told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) minutes after all 10 finalists including him were named. “I know that this song means a lot for very many.”
To see more photos and a video of TIX’ Eurovision performance, click here (external link to NRK’s coverage, in Norwegian but TIX sings in English.)
TIX also told NRK, which is responsible for both Norway’s own Eurovision qualifiers and for airing Eurovision itself in Norway, that “this is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced, period.” The 28-year-old artist from Bærum, just west of Oslo, has come a long way from a childhood marred by bullying because of the involuntary ticks associated with the Tourettes Syndrome he has.
He later chose to capitalize on the ticks teasing by writing songs and performing under the name of TIX. He usually wears sunglasses to hide the ticks around his eyes but briefly, and bravely, took them off during Tuesday night’s performance.
Haukeland/TIX first became known in Norway for writing highly controversial lyrics and music for the country’s partying high school graduates known as rus. Several of his songs have later topped Norwegian sales and newspaper VG‘s hit list (VG-lista), also when he turned serious and wrote a deeply personal song in 2019 called Jeg vil ikke leve (I don’t want to live). He ended up being hailed for his own openness about feeling lonely, suffering from depression and having suicidal thoughts. He was named as Norway’s best performing artist (Årets Spellemann) last year and won Norway’s Eurovision qualifier, called Melodi Grand Prix, earlier this year.
Despite all his national success in Norway, his highly supportive brother Mathias Haukeland told NRK he’d never thought he’d see Andreas/TIX on the Eurovision stage. “I’m incredibly touched and proud,” Mathias Haukeland said. “It was so emotional to see him take off the sunglasses to show his ticks, and the human side of the TIX character. I had constant shivers and since I know Andreas never does anything half-heartedly.”
Now Andreas/TIX Haukeland will represent Norway at the Eurovision final, before a television audience estimated at around 200 million. “Just think what it cost him to take off his sunglasses and show exactly why he needs them when he performs,” blogger and Melodi Grand Prix expert Anders Tangen told NRK. TIX will now be back in the international spotlight Saturday night.