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MGP Heat 1 Run Down

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

The first betting event of the 2021 Eurovision season is upon us with the first heat of Norway's Melodi Grand Prix taking place on Saturday.

Four songs are competing for one spot in the final, and frankly that is all they are competing for, as none of these are in winning contention. That is especially true because KEiiNO, the Norwegian group that won the 2019 televote in Tel Aviv, are back and one surely expects them alone to have quality above these other entrants. And if they don't Rein Alexander has a Ktejil Mørland written track that I personally am very excited by.

Of the four songs in this heat I will rule out Playing With Fire, with doesn't progress beyond plodding through the motions after the first minute. The three others have redeeming qualities but also fundamental flaws

Stina Telling - Elevate. Stina is the biggest name in this semi, but in the bubble of being a teenage YouTube and Instagram celebrity. She brings the downbeat Zara Larsson sounding Elevate to the stage which flows nicely in the verse but has a chorus that sinks and zaps all the energy. Might be hard for a vote-for-me appeal to reach the general population.

Jorn's Faith Bloody Faith is suitably aggressive and the power rock chorus is fantastic. The rest of the structure is completely strange and alienating and will need some very creative staging to get casual voters.

Finally Blåsemafian with Let Loose has potential as an uptempo bop, but the boys don't necessarily show charisma behind brass instruments (Epic Sax Guy they ain't) and I think the instrumental here is just too long. Feels more like an interval act.

One of them will have the performance to deliver enough on the night though, but it is hard to clearly tip. Norwegian readers could be smart and shop around for fair odds, with Stina Talling at 2.8 with Norsk Tipping, Jorn at 4.0 with ComeOn and Blåsemafian at 7.5, also ComeOn. The clear disagreement in odds setting from the different bookies isn't surprising given the diversity on show - and is common in heats like this. Stina feels the right favourite and is topping polls etc. but is also the one I'd be most concerned with because of the difficulty in staging Elevate.

The show starts at 1950 CET on Saturday, on NRK 1 and available to stream globally.

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