After a disappointing result in Düsseldorf where Stella Mwangi failed to qualify for the final, Norwegian broadcaster NRK have decided to make big changes to their already popular selection format, Melodi Grand Prix.
In 2012 the number of artists will increase from 21 to 24, the live shows will be longer and the second chance round or Sistesjansen will disappear. Instead, a 40 minute preview programme will be shown on each Thursday ahead of the Saturday night show.
"We are expanding the number of broadcasts and the total programme time and we are increasing the number of artists. We are doing this to make Norway's largest music competition even larger and even more important", said NRK project leader Skjalg Solstad.
The organisers want to open the event up more for the public and let them get closer to the action than ever before.
The Sistesjansen second chance round will disappear after first appearing in 2006. In its place will be four preview broadcasts on the Thursday ahead of the live shows.
These new shows will bring the latest news from the rehearsals and the public will be able to get an insight into how everything is going with the artists. In addition there will be reports looking at the history of the competition, the costumes and other themes.
"There is a point to showing the viewers more of what is happening at Melodi Grand Prix. Before everything has been a bit secretive and we have just gone straight into the competition. We are opening the event up and letting people see what is going on behind the scenes. More than ever we will be following the artists from when they are chosen, throughout the rehearsal process, right up to the three minutes they are on stage performing their song", Solstad went on to say.
Semi final and final dates announced
In addition to the above changes to Melodi Grand Prix, NRK have also announced details of the host towns and the dates of the semi-finals and final.
In 2012 the semi-finals will take place in Ørland, Larvik and Florø. Both Ørland and Florø have hosted semi-finals before but next year will be the first time the show takes place in the southern Norwegian town of Larvik. The final will take place as per usual at the Oslo Spektrum arena where the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest was held.
Here are the dates:
- Semi-Final 1, Ørland - Saturday, 21 January
- Semi-Final 2, Larvik - Saturday, 28 January
- Semi-Final 3, Florø - Saturday, 4 February
- Final, Oslo - Saturday 11 February
Tickets for each show will be put on sale next week.
The show will be presented by Per Sundnes and Marte Stokstad, who are both experienced when it comes to Melodi Grand Prix and are very excited about hosting the show once again.
The organisers of the show are in the process of finalising the song selection for next year but will not reveal anything until every artist and song is in place.