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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Norwegian twins will open Eurovision, for Sweden

Marcus and Martinus Gunnarsen were 10-year-old twins when they won the junior version of Norway’s Eurovision qualifier, Melodi Grand Prix, in 2012. They went on to become a pop phenomenon well beyond Norway’s borders, and now they’ll lead off Eurovision itself, representing Sweden.

Marcus (left) and Martinus Gunnarsen from Trofors, Norway will be singing for Sweden when they lead off this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. PHOTO: Melodifestivalen 2024/Wikimedia

They won Sweden’s Eurovision qualifier, Melodifestivalen, over the weekend by a landslide, and they find that reassuring. It’s a bit controversial when the winners of a national song contest are citizens of another nation, and their candidacy fueled some of the traditional rivalry between Norway and Sweden.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported on the debate within Sweden as well, over whether a Norwegian duo should represent Sweden, especially on home turf. Since Sweden won last year’s Eurovision, it will be hosting this year’s huge show, which will be broadcast life from Malmö in May. Sweden’s act was also drawn to open the show.

“I think it’s just terrible that Norwegians come here and want to win Melodifestivalen,” Bert Karlsson, who’s backed 17 Swedish Eurovision qualifier acts, told Swedish newspaper Expressen. Others, however, claim that Marcus and Martinus are popular in Sweden and so, clearly, was their song called Unforgettable. “Right now I don’t think the mood is sour at all,” Torbjørn Ek, a journalist for Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, told Aftenposten.

The singing and dancing twins, who perform as Marcus and Martinus, were predictably thrilled to win Sweden’s Eurovision qualifier Saturday night, and stressed the importance of the overwhelming Swedish vote. “What means the most for us is that we got the most votes from Sweden,” Marcus Gunnarsen told Aftonbladet, even though the international jury’s votes were important, too. “We will represent Sweden and we’ve wanted Swedes to want us to represent them. We’ll make Sweden proud.”

They also want to make Norway proud, too. Norway, which will be represented by the folk-rock band Gåte, finds itself in what Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) called the “historic” situation where there are two Norwegian acts in Eurovision this year. It’s also the first time Sweden has sent a contribution from another country to the international final.

“We want to make everybody (in both Sweden and Norway) proud,” Marcus told NRK. The now-22-year-old identical twins still consider Trofors home, remain Norwegian citizens and will be playing a string of concerts in Norway later this year.

“Norway means so much to us, and we hope (Norwegians) think the same about us,” Martinus told NRK, “and that we get some votes from you, to support your fellow Norwegians.” That’s likely: Under Eurovision rules, no one can vote for acts from your own country, so Sweden’s Norwegian act may well appeal to Norway’s Eurovision fans. Berglund



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