Norwegian Broadcasting and its viewers’ votes made a “brave” choice, claim Scandinavian commentators, in selecting a pair of masked wolf wannabes to represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest in May. The commentators also called their unusual song “funny and catchy.”
No one knows who’s behind the bright yellow wolf masks worn by the lead singers in the winning act called “Subwoolfer.” They’re allegedly named “Keith” and “Jim” and are backed by other masked dancers and a spaceship pilot of sorts, accompanied by an “interpreter” who speaks on behalf of them all.
“This is very cool,” the also-unidentified interpreter claimed on stage after Subwoolfer won Norway’s Eurovision qualifying round during the weekend. “Now we’ll be the biggest band in the galaxy.”
The song itself has an equally silly title, in English: “Give that Wolf a Banana.” Not exactly something that represents Norwegian culture or interests, especially in a country currently trying to shoot as many wolves as possible to protect farmers’ grazing rights. They wouldn’t be interested in giving wolves any sustenance, not even a banana.
‘Love it, or love to hate it’
Ole Tøpholm, a Danish journalist, radio host and Eurovision enthusiast, followed the Norwegian Eurovision qualifier (called Melody Grand Prix) and thinks the song is both fun and likely to attract fans. He warns that Europeans will either love it or “love to hate it,” but that makes it “a brave choice for Norway.”
Instead of voting for a ballad or some other “Norwegian classic,” both Subwoolfer and their song create “a show, a gimmick a ‘club sound'” that can secure points for Norway in the voting at Eurovision.
“I think it will do well with viewers’ votes, and that Subwoolfer can wind up in a top spot,” Tøpholm said, “but it will be difficult for Norway to win points from (the professonal) juries.”
Subwoolfer will nonetheless “set Norway apart” at Eurovision, he thinks, “and that’s good.”
‘The right choice’
Torbjörn Ek, who specializes in Eurovision coverage for Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, also thinks Subwoolfer was the “right” choice. “Anything else woulc have been a catastrophe,” he thinks, clearly unimpressed by the other song candidates.
Ek doesn’t think the masked yellow wolves will be favoured by music critics, but the mystery behind the wolves can intrigue fans. “Now it’s time,” he told NRK, “for Norwegian journalists to do their job, though, and reveal who these wolves really are.”
The huge Eurovision song contest will take place this year in Torino, Italy, since Italy won last year’s competition. It’s set to be the first more “normal” Eurovision since the Corona crisis began, with semi-finals broadcast internationally on Tuesday May 10 and Thursday May 12 and the final on May 14th. Norway will take part in the first semi-final on May 10.
To see and hear Norway’s entry in the European Song Contest, click here (external link to NRK’s website, scroll down to the bottom and click again on NRK’s video from the Norwegian final).