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Norway's 'Melodi Grand Prix': 10 pre-selection gems that didn't win

12 January 2024 at 15:32 CET
Ulrikke finished runner-up at Melodi Grand Prix 2023 Christoffer Gunnestad
Ahead of 'Melodi Grand Prix' 2024, we highlight just some of the many pop gems that have come close to winning the Norwegian national final in recent years.

With an impressive 7 Top 10 finishes in the Grand Final across the past 10 Eurovision Song Contests, we're all pretty well-versed in what Norway have been bringing to the Contest of late. Queens, kings, wolves, bananas, fallen angels... It's been memorable.

But what of the songs that have fallen just short of representing the Nordic nation on the world stage? Well, it turns out that there's a treasure trove of tunes to be unearthed there, too! 

To get us hyped up for Melodi Grand Prix's four-week run in 2024, which kicks off on Saturday 13 January, we've cast our minds back over MGP's most recent editions and put together a sumptuous selection of big pop moments to playlist. 

Here's 10 of Norway's very best that didn't make it to the Eurovision Song Contest:

Stella & Alexandra - You Got Me

Back in 2018, we weren't to know that one year later Alexandra Rotan would pop up as a member of newly-formed band KEiiNO (more on them lot later). But we did delight in seeing Stella Mwangi take the Melodi Grand Prix stage once again after winning the contest in 2011 and representing Norway in Düsseldorf with Haba Haba

These two never fail to bring the good vibes in large doses.

"Who's that, knocking on my door? Could it be true love? Come in, mi amor!"

Raylee - Hero

In 2021, Raylee put forward her third and most recent contribution to Melodi Grand Prix. It was perhaps her most well-received to date; thanks in no small part to that Flashdance-inspired ending to her performance. 

Had it made it to the Contest, however, we'd certainly have to have had a thorough flick-through of the EBU rulebook, to see if that many gallons of water would actually be permitted on the Eurovision stage. 

"Baby, look at me go... I don't need a hero."

JONE - Ekko Inni Meg

A great example of a national final showcasing what its country's music scene has to offer and a song becoming a huge domestic hit regardless of whether or not it scores victory in the contest itself. JONE's Ekko Inni Meg was that chart smash in 2023. 

What with this combined with Alessandra's Queen Of Kings; Norwegian dance floors must have taken quite the battering in early '23.

"Hey lå suriamej i ondondej!"

Hanne Sørvaag - Like A Melody

A year earlier she had co-penned the Melodi Grand Prix winner, with My Heart Is Yours going on to represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest on home soil in Oslo, performed by Didrik Solli-Tangen. 

And so at Melodi Grand Prix 2011, NRK selected her to compete with a song of her own; a catchy, sing-along tune which made it to the glittering final at the Oslo Spektrum.

"You're like a favourite song, the number one you sing along to."

Ulrikke - Honestly

This Norwegian talent won Melodi Grand Prix in 2020, with the song Attention. Ulrikke was all set to represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam that year, before the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ulrikke returned to the Norwegian pre-selection to give it another shot in 2023, with the blockbuster ballad Honestly. The vocal performance was one for the ages, but it ended up finishing in second place to Alessandra's unstoppable Queen Of Kings

"Til evig tid... I thought it meant forever."

Rein Alexander - One Last Time

Leaning into its Viking roots worked out quite well for Denmark in 2018, so perhaps Norway had set its sights on reaping similar fortunes in 2020?

Rein Alexander's anthemic battle cry is our favourite kind of summons - the kind that beckons you to the dance floor.

"We got no fears, we can conquer all"

Adelén - Bombo

Out of a field of 21 in 2013, this summer-ready bop finished in second place behind the almighty I Feed You My Love by Margaret Berger

The writer behind the song, Ina Wroldsen, has since gone on to be responsible for several more summer smashes; most recently in 2023, when she co-wrote Kylie Minogue's global comeback hit Padam Padam.

"Bailar al son del Bom-bom-bom-bom-bom-bo"

NorthKid - Someone

A valiant attempt to Bring Back the Boyband to the Eurovision Song Contest, this was ironically thwarted at Melodi Grand Prix 2022 by one of the classic boyband posterboys of yesteryear - Ben Adams from a1, and now of Subwoolfer notoriety too. 

But if you're gonna have to finish runner-up to any song, you'd choose Give That Wolf A Banana, wouldn't you?

"Hey, how you been? Did you ever go to Berlin?"

Rebecca - Who We Are

Written by the man who represented Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, Mørland, this song would ultimately go on to finish second to the man who had represented Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, Alexander Rybak. 

Rebecca's impressive pipes demonstrated precisely how you should sing a song. But in 2018, Norway went with Rybak's lessons on That's How You Write A Song

"Hating me won't find you love."

KEiiNO - Monument

Just two years on from their televote-winning turn at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019, KEiiNO had clearly enjoyed the experience so much that they were back to do it all over again at Melodi Grand Prix 2021

Once again, they brought the banger. And they even did the Norwegian tourism board some favours with a music video that showcases Norway at its most stunning. But in a strong field, they finished in second place, just missing out on a ticket to Rotterdam. 

"Thunder and gloria, ho-na-he-lo-lo-hei-la."

Melodi Grand Prix 2024 commences on Saturday 13 January. 

Broadcaster NRK will be offering up a live stream of the first semi-final, over on the Melodi Grand Prix website, starting at 19:50 CET. 

Norway chooses its Eurovision Song Contest entry at the Melodi Grand Prix final on Saturday 3 February. You can see all other key dates for the 2024 national final season over on our Calendar Page

You can listen to all 37 songs of Eurovision 2024 via your favourite streaming service or watch the music videos on our YouTube channel.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

Don't forget to download our app (for iOSAndroid), sign up to the official Eurovision Song Contest newsletter, and subscribe to the official podcast!