Until 1985 Norway's history at the Eurovision Song Contest was pretty unimpressive with many last places and receiving the infamous "nul points" on more than just a few occasions. After years of disappointing results, morale was low in this mighty country of the vikings, fjords and more recently oil.
However, in Gothenburg that year two young ladies, Elisabeth Andreassen and Hanne Krogh (Bobbysocks), transformed these fortunes to clinch what was the first ever victory for Norway with La det swinge, a song penned by Rolf Løvland. The country was jubilant and the contest was brought home to Bergen where it was held the following year.
Ten years later in Dublin, Norway took the top prize again with another song written by Rolf Løvland, Nocturne, this time performed by the hugely successful group Secret Garden. Once again broadcaster NRK had the honour of hosting the subsequent contest at the Oslo Spektrum arena in the Norwegian capital. It finally seemed like that the dark years were over for this small nation on the northern edge of our continent.
As the contest grew, Norway had to compete with more and more countries; in 2012 alone there will be 42 competitors. But this did not stop the country from realising its further ambitions of winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2009, something rather spectacular happened; a young man by the name of Alexander Rybak entered the Norwegian national selection with a song called Fairytale, which he wrote himself. On stage he was accompanied by the dance group Frikar and two beautiful backing singers. He won the Norwegian final, Melodi Grand Prix, with an astonishing 715,888 votes compared to the second placing song, which received only 99,850 votes. At this point NRK knew they had something with potential, and they were right!
A record breaking performance
On the night of the 16th of May 2009 in Moscow, Alexander Rybak astonished Europe and the world with his powerful performance on stage and a record-breaking performance on the scoreboard. He thrashed all the other competitors, achieving a final score of 387 points; a whole 169 points ahead of Yohanna from Iceland who came second. In all he received the top 12 points 16 times during the voting. Not bad, eh?
Watch Alexander Rybak's winning performance below. Do you remember Frikar? They were the dancers that could accurately kick hats off microphone stands. Quite impressive... That and the multiple backflips!
Four times null points equals... null points
We know that Norway has climbed the highest peaks of the Eurovision Song Contest stage but before this the country had a pretty abysmal reputation. In fact Norway still holds the record for the most number of null points received by any country. Quite a contrast to the other record they hold, being the country to have achieved the most points ever in the competition.
In 1963 Norway received 0 points with Anita Thallaug's, Solhverv. In 1978 Jahn Teigen failed to rack up a single point with Mil etter mil. In 1981 Finn Kalvik went home without a single point to his name with Aldri i livet and most recently in 1997 Tor Endresen (picutred below) received nothing-nada-ingenting-nichts with San Francisco.
There have been other occassions where Europe took pity on Norway with the odd point here and there, but wjhere they still ended at the bottom of the scoreboard. A recent example is Knut Anders Sørum who in 2004 finished 24th with just 3 points for his song High.
Tooji - Another chance for Norway to shine?
In February Norway chose Tooji, a down to earth young man with a lot of talent and passion, to represent them in Baku in May.
His song Stay has received much acclaim both at home and abroad and Norway have high hopes that he will qualify to the final and then receive a good overall placing.
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Take a look at the video of his song below:
Norway will take part in the second Semi-Final of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku on the 24th of May.