How Alexander Rybak won a starstruck Norway final

Who will win Melodi Grand Prix 2018? With Alexander Rybak, Stella Mwangi and Aleksander Walmann, this year’s Norwegian final features three former Eurovision participants. And as if that was not enough, some of the highest selling Norwegian recording artist also take part!

Follow the show live through a web stream or through our liveblog below. Steef van Gorkum provides you with live commentary during this very special preselection night.

The timestamps are in CET and the newest update always appears on top. However, keep refreshing the page for new updates!

22:20 – End of the blog

Thanks for watching with us tonight.


With his song “That’s how you write a song” he will represent Norway again and try to win his second Eurovision trophy!

22:13 – Aleksander Walmann sings “Grab the moment”

He’s out of the competition tonight, but we’ll always remember his top 10 song from Kiev.

22:02 – Reprises

Rebecca and Alexander Rybak perform again. Although I am not hugely impressed with Rybak’s performance, I still think it would be the better pick for Norway now. Rebecca has great vocals, but a ballad that goes nowhere and will struggle to stand out in this year’s field.

21:52 – Rybak and Rebecca through, Stella Mwangi out

The 4 were divided into two battles. Between the women, Rebecca beat Stella Mwangi. Between the men, Rybak beat Walmann.

21:44 – Norway chooses for the past

Personally I should say I am quite disappointed in this choice. Norway chooses for the past (Aleksander Walmann) instead of the present (Alejandro Fuentes).

21:35 – Superfinalists: All three former participants through

Rebecca, Stella Mwangi & Alexandra, Aleksander Walmann, Alexander Rybak.

21:12 – Rybak wins the jury vote

There is an international jury that votes. They give Alexander Rybak an early lead:

  1. Alexander Rybak – That’s how you write a song (4 votes)
  2. Rebecca – Who we are (3 votes)
  3. Stella Mwangi – You got me (2 votes)
  4. Aleksander Walmann – Talk to the hand (1 vote)

21:06 – Recap

Watching the recap, I would advise Norway to go for Alejandro Fuentes or Vidar Villa. Stella Mwangi and Nicoline were also solid.

21:03 – Song 10: Alexander Rybak – That’s how you write a song

Alexander Rybak has stolen Francesca Michielin’s visual projections. He has a fake violin projected into his hands during the start of the song. Alone on stage, he plays with the projections, but this song might have needed something more to really fill the stage. After the first chorus, we have 4 backing dancers join Alexander Rybak on stage dressed in casual outfits. This song is funky and cheerful, just as we know Rybak. During the bridge, we finally see him play the violin for real. Staging still kind of makes this entry fall flat.

20:57 – Song 9: Rebecca – Who We Are

Close-up shot at the start. Later we see Rebecca wearing a black dress. This is one of just very few ballads in tonight’s show and while it is not original nor surprising, it does what it is supposed to do. Rebecca’s vocals are impressing. This could stand out in tonight’s field, but would it really be so different from the competition in Lisbon as well? If you really want, you can hear the tempo changes from Norway’s 2016 Eurovision entry coming back in this song.

20:52 – Song 8: Vidar Villa – Moren Din (Your Mother)

Apres-ski is very popular in Norway and Vidar Villa is the best selling record artist in his country at the moment. This song has definitely been modified for Eurovision – compared to Vidar Villa’s other work, it is much more mainstream. Still up-tempo, but with a saxophone tune in the chorus that reminds the listener of Imagine Dragons. There is a big band behind Vidar Villa for this poprock song with lyrics that you can easily sing along to – if you speak Norwegian, that is. While many entries attempt to be cheerful tonight, this is one of the few that actually succeeds.

20:46 – Song 7: Alejandro Fuentes – Tengo Otra

Alejandro starts to a fully blue lit stage. He is alone, sitting on a stool, singing in Spanish. This type of reggeaton music is highly modern and popular worldwide. In a show in which Rybak steals the spotlight, this is definitely an outsider for victory. Could bring Norway very far in Eurovision as well. Vocals good, song infectious. Alejandro Fuentes looks confident in stage, and why should he not? He is one of the biggest music stars in Norway at the moment and plays with the (mostly female) crowd.

20:42 – Song 6: Charla K – Stop The Music

The first semi-ballad of the night. This performance breaks all the EBU rules with a choir of at least 20 people on the back of the stage. During the second verse, they suddenly disappear and we clearly are hearing a backing tape. This ballad does not progress into anything. Visually, the bridge is interesting as we see Charla with a fully lit Oslo Spektrum crowd behind her. Some of the ad-libs towards the end are off-key.

20:32 – Song 5: Tom Hugo – I like I Like I Like

Tom Hugo writes his own songs. He’s famous in Norway but scored hits in Germany as well. This song starts with an intro that sounds very much like “More than you know” from Axwell Ingrosso. Very modern, very upbeat, very Alphabeat once again. Six guys in flashy grey suits. Lyrics are, once again, slightly cheap. The song also does not progress throughout the three minutes, not musically, nor visually.

20:27 – Nicoline or Stella Mwangi so far

Song 1 and 4 are easily stronger than Song 2 and 3. However, I have the feeling that the best is yet to come…

20:25 – Song 4: Nicoline – Light me up

Yes! Intriguing visuals at the start. White mystical spotlights, quick switching camera shots and the LED-floor is used as well. Nicoline wears a white outfit with small coloured stripes around her waist. Vocals solid. This song is slightly more modern than its predecessor, but still quite predictable in terms of build up. A lot of electronic sounds for this mid-tempo pop song. Visually, this is the most modern performance we’ve seen so far.

20:19 – Song 3: Ida Maria – Scandilove

Ida Maria starts her performance crowdsurfing! It certainly affects her vocals… But it’s definitely an original visual trick. She’s wearing a red and white pajamas, much like Ace Wilder did in her first Melodifestivalen performance. If someone is wondering about the very, very explicitly sexual lyrics of this song – that simply is what Ida Maria is famous for. Her song “I like you so much better when you’re naked” played in the UK charts for weeks. The song is very simple Alphabeat styled Scandinavian pop music. Again up-tempo, third time in a row.

20:14 – Song 2: Aleksander Walmann – Talk to the hand

Aleksander wears the same hat he had with him during last year’s Eurovision performance in Kiev. This song is meant to be uptempo too, but it falls a bit flat after the first chorus. Bass lines play a big part in the orchestration. Lyrics are not really original. Vocals are good, but the visuals are lacking, as the backing dancers can’t really give energy to the performance. There’s simply not enough variation to this composition to make it stand out in such a strong field tonight.

20:08 – Song 1: Stella (Mwangi) and Alexandra – You Got Me

“A fun teen movie song”, was how Mary Ivanova described Stella Mwangi’s new song on ESCDaily earlier this week. And she has it about right. This is fun and uptempo from start to finish. No build-up, just straight forward quick. Stella wears a gold and black legless dress with black high boots. Her contribution to this song is mostly rap, not singing, which is probably her strongsuit anyway. Alexandra’s vocals are solid. Lots of ticker tape, and six male backing dancers in suits on stage. The duo finishes the performance on the catwalk. Fun start to the show and not bad at all!

20:02 – “The strongest Melodi Grand Prix final ever”

A small video clip in which people backstage comment on the insane participation list for tonight. So many big stars in one show… We have never seen that before in Norway.

19:58 – Medley

The presenters of the night sing a medley which, ironically, starts and finishes with “My heart is yours” (Norway 2010). In between, we hear Wig Wam, Tooji and several other Norwegian entries from recent years.

19:51 – Starstruck

On top of that: Alejandro Fuentes, famous for his long run on the 2005 season of Norwegian Idol, has had several number one hits in Norway. His biggest hit was “Hell if I”, which led the charts for over a month.

Singer-songwriter Tom Hugo had hits in Norway but also in Germany. Ida Maria’s song “I like you so much better when you’re naked” played in the UK charts for weeks. Après-ski singer Vidar Villa is one of the best selling Norwegian artists at the moment.

We are in for a treat!

19:48 – Three returning artists (Alexander Rybak, Stella Mwangi, Aleksander Walmann)

Alexander Rybak obviously won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009 with his song “Fairytale”. Stella Mwangi was less successful in 2011, when she did not take Norway to the Grand Final. Aleksander Walmann reached top 10 last year in Kiev as part of the group JOWST.

19:40 – Melodi Grand Prix 2018 participants

  • Charla K – Stop The Music
  • Alejandro Fuentes – Tengo Otra
  • Aleksander Walmann – Talk To The Hand
  • Stella (Mwangi) and Alexandra – You Got Me
  • Vidar Villa – Moren Din (Your Mother)
  • Tom Hugo – I like I Like I Like
  • Ida Maria – Scandilove
  • Rebecca – Who We Are
  • Nicoline – Light Me Up
  • Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song