Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008

Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008
Eurovision Song Contest 2008
Country  Norway
National selection
Selection process Melodi Grand Prix 2008
Selection date(s) Semi-finals
12 January 2008
19 January 2008
26 January 2008
Second Chance
6 February 2008
9 February 2008
Selected entrant Maria Haukaas Storeng
Selected song "Hold On Be Strong"
Finals performance
Semi-final result Qualified (4th, 106 points)
Final result 5th, 182 points
Maria Storeng represented Norway in 2008.

Norway was represented at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 by Maria Haukaas Storeng, performing the song "Hold On Be Strong". Storeng was chosen through the Norwegian national final, Melodi Grand Prix, organised by the Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK).

18 artists in total competed in the semi-finals of Melodi Grand Prix 2008, with only eight acts progressing to the final, held on 9 February at the Oslo Spektrum. After the votes of both the juries and televoting, Storeng was announced the winner of the contest, and represented Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia.

Storeng's song, composed by Mira Craig, competed in the first semi-final of Eurovision 2008 on 20 May 2008. She qualified to the final, coming 4th of 19 with 106 points. At the final, closing the contest of 25 competing entries, she placing 5th, receiving a total of 182 points. This was Norway's best placing at the contest since 2003, and their best placing since semi-finals were introduced to the contest in 2004.



Norway first entered the Eurovision Song Contest in 1960, placing fourth in their debut entry. Shortly afterwards however, Norway began to fare worse at Eurovision, becoming known for coming last place. Having come last place six times, their best place at that point was third place in 1966, when Åse Kleveland represented the country with "Intet er nytt under solen". In total, Norway has come last 10 times, the most for any country at Eurovision, with its latest in 2004.[1]

Norway first win came in 1985, when duo Bobbysocks, Hanne Krogh and Elisabeth Andreassen, won the contest with "La det swinge". In 1986 Norway hosted the competition for the first time in the city of Bergen. Norway won again ten years later, at the 1995 contest, when Secret Garden beat the competition with "Nocturne". At the 1996 contest, held again in Norway, this time in the capital of Oslo, Norway came close to winning again, coming second with "I evighet", performed again by Elisabeth Andreassen.[1]

Since the country's debut Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK) had been in charge of the Norwegian entry, and is also responsible in broadcasting Eurovision in Norway.

Melodi Grand Prix 2008

Melodi Grand Prix 2008 was the selection process for the 47th song to represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest.


NRK began their campaign for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest on 9 July 2007. An open call for songs was made by NRK for Melodi Grand Prix 2008. NRK also directly invited composers to submit songs for the contest, as they did in 2007. All entries had to be received by NRK by 1 September.[2][3] Composers of all nationalities were again welcome in the competition, despite the controversy that has arisen in recent years over the number of songs written by Swedish composers that can be found in the competition.[4] However NRK said that they support songs composed by Norwegians, but that they would still like to open the contest to foreign composers, hence all entries were under consideration.[5]

The initial dates and venues for the competition were announced on 28 September, when it was revealed that the second semi-final would be held in Kongsvinger, the third semi-final in Bodø and the final in the Spektrum in Oslo.[6][7] The first semi-final was later revealed to have been set to be held in Stavanger, along with the news that Per Sundnes would be the host of the contest, having previously commentated for NRK at Eurovision.[8][9] For 2008, however, it was revealed by NRK that Sundnes would not be commentating for Norway.[10]

Date City Venue Notes
11 January 2008 Stavanger Sandvigå Semi-final 1
18 January 2008 Kongsvinger Semi-final 2
25 January 2008 Bodø Bodø Spektrum Semi-final 3
6 February 2008 Oslo Oslo Stratos Second Chance
9 February 2008 Oslo Oslo Spektrum Final


Melodi Grand Prix featured a total of five shows, held over five weeks from 12 January to 9 February. Three semi-finals were held, each containing six participants. From each semi-final the top two songs in a televote progressed to the final. The third and fourth placed songs in the same televote went on to the Siste Sjansen round, a second chance round held on 6 February where these songs were given a second chance to qualify for the final. The final of the competition, held on 9 February, featured the six direct qualifiers from the semi-finals and the two winners of Siste Sjansen. In the final, the top four songs selected by televoting and jury voting qualified to the Gold Final, where the winner was selected through another round of jury and televoting.


NRK received 600 submissions for MGP, substantially higher than the previous year's total of 464.[11][12]

Rumours of who would compete in the 2008 MGP arose early on. The first major name to be mentioned was former Eurovision winner for Sweden Carola.[13] However this did not come to pass, having later entered as a wildcard into the Swedish national selection Melodifestivalen.[14] Another name mentioned as a potential entrant was Lene Alexandra, who had previously had success with the song "My Boobs Are OK".[15] Alexandra later confirmed her participation in MGP in December 2007.[16]

NRK released the names of the 18 composers who succeeded in qualifying to the semi-finals in December 2007. They included Mira Craig, Wig Wam band members Glam and Teeny, Christian Ingebrigtsen and Jan Groth.[17][18] The final list of the 18 competing songs were released on 13 December. However, this list contained solely the song titles and composers, leaving out the names of the final performing artists.[19][20] This list contained songs which had been composed purely by Norwegian citizens, which arose suspicion over whether NRK has changed their policy on accepting submissions by non-Norwegian composers. Stian Malme of NRK confirmed that no change in policy had occurred, and that the jury appointed by NRK had chosen these 18 songs based purely on merit alone.[21]

The artists for each semi-final were revealed over three weeks in late December 2007 and early January 2008. The artists for the first semi-final were revealed on 18 December 2007, and included the Tinkerbells and Podium, as well as soloists Nicholas Carlie, Ann-Mari Anderson, Michelle, and Veronica Akselsen.[22][23]

The second semi-finalists were revealed on 28 December. It was revealed that Crash!, who achieved third place in last year's contest, would return to Melodi Grand Prix in this semi-final. They would be joined by Maria Haukaas Storeng, Sven Garås, Anne Hvidsten, Zuma and Cube.[24][25]

The final semi-finalists, who would compete in the third and final semi-final, were revealed 4 January 2008. Lene Alexandra was officially confirmed as a participant, and would compete in this semi-final, alongside Torstein Sødal, Maria Trøen, Ole Ivars, as well as Avalanche and the King of Trolls.[26][27]


The semi-finals of Melodi Grand Prix 2008 began on 12 January 2008. Three semi-finals were held in Stavanger, Kongsvinger and Bodø, which led up to the Siste Sjansen round in the Oslo Stratos and the final in the Oslo Spektrum on 9 February.

In the three semi-finals, the top two songs of the six competing entries qualified directly to the final. The third and fourth-placed songs qualified to the Siste Sjansen round, here they would be given another chance to qualify for the final. Televoting decided the eight qualifiers in all semi-finals.

Semi-final 1

The first semi-final of MGP 2008 was held at the Sandvigå in Stavanger on 12 January.

Televoting selected "Ándagassii" by Ann-Mari Andersen and "Am I Supposed to Love Again" by Veronica Akselsen to qualify directly to the final, while "Lystgass" by Podium and "Hold On" by the Tinkerbells were selected to proceed to the Siste Sjansen round.[28]

Semi-final 1–12 January 2008
Order Artist Song Lyrics (l) / Music (m) Results
1 Podium "Lystgass" Tørje Lennavik (m), Håkan Fjerdingen (l) Siste Sjansen
2 Ann-Mari Andersen "Ándagassii" Stein Austrud (m), Ann-Mari Andersen (l) Final
3 Nicholas Carlie "Colliding" Nate Campany (m), PK Ottestad (l) Out
4 Michelle "Don't Stop the Music" Fred Ball (m), Hannah Robinson (l) Out
5 Tinkerbells "Hold On" Aina Beate Gundersen (m), Svein Gundersen (m), Jan Groth (l) Siste Sjansen
6 Veronica Akselsen "Am I Supposed to Love Again?" Anne Takle (m), Lalia Samuelsen (l) Final

Semi-final 2

The second semi-final was held in Kongsvinger on 18 January.

"Get Up" by Crash! and "Hold On Be Strong" by Maria Haukaas Storeng were chosen by televoting to qualify to the final, with "Always, Always" by Zuma and "A Little More" by Anne Hvidsten proceeding to the Siste Sjansen round.[29]

Semi-final 2–18 January 2008
Order Artist Song Lyrics (l) / Music (m) Results
1 Zuma "Always, Always" Alexander Stenerud (m & l) Siste Sjansen
2 Cube "Would You Spend the Night With Me?" Åge Sten "Glam" Nilsen (m & l) Out
3 Anne Hvidsten "A Little More" Anne Hvidsten (m & l) Siste Sjansen
4 Crash! "Get Up" Trond "Teeny" Holter (m & l) Final
5 Sven Garås "I'm in Love" Robin Nordahl (m), Ingrid Nørsett (l) Out
6 Maria Haukaas Storeng "Hold On Be Strong" Mira Craig (m & l) Final

Semi-final 3

The third and final semi-final of MGP 2008 before the Siste Sjansen round was held on 26 January at the Bodø Spektrum in Bodø.

The final direct finalists were "Eastern Wind" by Torstein Sødal and "Far Away" by King of Trolls, while "Som i himmelen" by Ole Ivars and "Sillycone Valley" by Lene Alexandra became the last songs to join the Siste Sjansen round.[30]

Semi-final 3–26 January 2008
Order Artist Song Lyrics (l) / Music (m) Results
1 Avalanche "Two Monkeys (On The Roof)" Kjetil Røsnes (m & l), Kirsti Johansen (m & l) Out
2 Maria Trøen "Hear When I'm Calling" Jarl Aanestad (m & l) Out
3 Ole Ivars "Som i himmelen" William Kristoffersen (m & l) Siste Sjansen
4 Lene Alexandra "Sillycone Valley" Ivar Winther (m & l), Kam An Leung (l) Siste Sjansen
5 Torstein Sødal "Eastern Wind" Christian Ingebrigtsen (m & l), Eivind Rølles (m & l) Final
6 King of Trolls "Far Away" Frode Anderssen (m & l) Final

Siste Sjansen round

The third- and fourth-placed songs in each semifinal perform in Siste Sjansen (Second Chance) round, held on 6 February at the Oslo Stratos in Oslo. Six songs performed, like in the other semi-finals, with the top two songs from televoting qualifying to the final.

The winners of Siste Sjansen, qualifying to the final, were "Hold On" by the Tinkerbells and "Som i himmelen" by Ole Ivars.[31]

Siste Sjansen - 6 February 2008
Order Artist Song Lyrics (l) / Music (m) Results
1 Podium "Lystgass" Håkan Fjerdingen (m & l), Tørje Lennavik (m & l) Out
2 Tinkerbells "Hold On" Aina Beate Gundersen (m), Svein Gundersen (m), Jan Groth (l) Final
3 Zuma "Always, Always" Alexander Stenerud (m & l) Out
4 Anne Hvidsten "A Little More" Anne Hvidsten (m & l) Out
5 Ole Ivars "Som i himmelen" William Kristoffersen (m & l) Final
6 Lene Alexandra "Sillycone Valley" Ivar Winther (m & l), Kam An Leung (l) Out


The final of Melodi Grand Prix 2008 was held on 9 February 2008 at the Spektrum in Oslo. The six direct qualifiers and the two Siste Sjansen winners competed in the final, where two rounds of voting selected the winner that would represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. A round of televoting selected the four songs that would progress to the Gold Final, where a second round of voting, featuring both televoting and jury voting, selected the winner from these four songs.[32]

The interval act for the final was Jahn Teigen, who represented Norway at the 1978, 1982 and 1983 contests, as well as competing in 14 Melodi Grand Prix's between 1974 and 2005. He performed a medley of many songs recorded by him, including many of his previous MGP entries, such as "Optimist" (1989), "Mil etter mil" (1978), "Do Re Mi" (1983) and "Glasnost" (1988).[33]

The Gold Final featured the top 4 songs of the public televote. The final winner was decided from these four songs in a mix of both jury and televoting. Three regional juries in Stavanger, Kongsvinger and Bodø gave each finalist 2,000, 4,000, 6,000 or 10,000 votes, and these points were joined by votes from five televoting regions.[34]

The final winner was Maria Haukaas Storeng with "Hold On Be Strong", which received a total of 195,661 votes. This was more than 75,000 votes more than runner-up Torstein Sødal.[35]

Final - 9 February 2008
Order Artist Song Lyrics (l) / Music (m) Results
1 Crash! "Get Up" Trond "Teeny" Holter (m & l) Out
2 Ann-Mari Andersen "Ándagassii" Stein Austrud (m), Ann-Mari Andersen (l) Out
3 Tinkerbells "Hold On" Aina Beate Gundersen (m), Svein Gundersen (m), Jan Groth (l) Out
4 Veronica Akselsen "Am I Supposed to Love Again?" Anne Takle (m), Lalia Samuelsen (l) Gold Final
5 King of Trolls "Far Away" Frode Anderssen (m & l) Gold Final
6 Ole Ivars "Som i himmelen" William Kristoffersen (m & l) Out
7 Torstein Sødal "Eastern Wind" Christian Ingebrigtsen (m & l), Eivind Rølles (m & l) Gold Final
8 Maria Haukaas Storeng "Hold On Be Strong" Mira Craig (m & l) Gold Final
Gold Final
Artist Song Lyrics (l) / Music (m) Jury Televote Total Place
Veronica Akselsen "Am I Supposed to Love Again?" Anne Takle (m), Lalia Samuelsen (l) 16,000 93,957 109,957 4
King of Trolls "Far Away" Frode Anderssen (m & l) 6,000 109,811 115,811 3
Torstein Sødal "Eastern Wind" Christian Ingebrigtsen (m & l), Eivind Rølles (m & l) 18,000 100,095 118,095 2
Maria Haukaas Storeng "Hold On Be Strong" Mira Craig (m & l) 26,000 169,661 195,661 1


Song Juries Televoting Regions
Stavanger Kongsvinger Bodø Total Northern
"Am I Supposed to Love Again?" 4,000 6,000 6,000 16,000 4,713 10,878 11,505 55,751 11,110 93,957
"Far Away" 2,000 2,000 2,000 6,000 7,520 14,627 15,043 58,797 13,824 109,811
"Eastern Wind" 10,000 4,000 4,000 18,000 5,391 10,423 15,308 46,226 22,747 100,095
"Hold On Be Strong" 6,000 10,000 10,000 26,000 22,056 23,396 21,169 83,342 19,698 169,661



Shortly after winning Melodi Grand Prix "Hold On Be Strong" reached number one on the Norwegian singles chart, VG-lista, and was the first Eurovision 2008 song to top the charts anywhere in Europe.[36][37] Storeng later signed a record deal with Universal Music and released her latest album in Norway before competing at Eurovision in Belgrade.[38]

Storeng attended the UK Eurovision Preview Party in London on 25 April 2008 to promote her entry internationally.[39] She performed "Hold On Be Stong" during the event, and performed along with acts from eight other competing countries in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest.

Before the Contest began it was announced by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organisers of the contest, that Norway would be one of the stops on the Winner's Tour, in which the winner of the Contest would tour Europe.[40]

At Eurovision

The 2008 Contest was the first to implement two semi-finals, with all countries, apart from the "Big Four" countries – Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom – and the host country, taking part in the semi-finals.[41] The EBU split up countries with a friendly voting history into the two different semi-finals, to reduce the effect of diaspora and block voting seen in the Contest since the implementation of televoting in 1998.[42] On 28 January 2008, the EBU held a draw which determined that Norway would compete in the first semi-final, held on 20 May 2008.[43]

For the contest the commentator for the semi-finals and the final was Hanne Hoftun, who took over from the 2007 commentator and MGP host Per Sundnes.[44][45]


Maria Haukaas Storeng performing "Hold On Be Strong" at the first semi-final.

Storeng competed in the first semi-final on 20 May 2008, performing 9th in the running order, following Slovenia and preceding Poland. For her performance she wore a mid-length blue dress, and was accompanied on stage by three female backing singers and two male backing singers, dressed in black and blue. The stage was filled with blue light, and a starry background was shown on the LED screens surrounding the stage.[46] At the close of the voting Storeng received 106 points, placing fourth in a field of 19. Norway received points from all voting countries in the semi-final except for Greece.[47] As such, Storeng qualified to the final of the contest, after being the last name to be pulled out of envelopes revealing the 10 qualifying entries.[48]

925,000 viewers watched the first semi-final on NRK TV, gaining more than 200,000 viewers over the 2007 semi-final when Norway failed to qualify.[49]


After qualifying to the final Storeng was asked by the Norwegian delegation to cancel all activities and to not speak until the final, so that she would be able to give the best performance she could on the night of the final.[50][51][52]

Storeng gave a repeat performance in the final on 24 May 2008, where she performed 25th and last in the running order, performing after eventual winners Russia. She received 182 points in the final, placing fifth of 25 competing countries. Storeng received the most points from neighbouring Finland and Sweden, who each gave their 12 points to Norway. She also received 10 points from Denmark and Iceland, as well as 8 points from Estonia. Norway itself gave 8 points to Iceland, 10 to Bosnia and Herzegovina and their maximum 12 points to Denmark. Her result was Norway's first top 5 placing in the contest since 2003.[53]

Over 1.5 million Norwegians watched the final of Eurovision on television, with viewership increasing to almost 1.8 million during the voting. This was almost 82% of the TV share available who watched the show, as was the second highest viewing figures experienced for Eurovision ever seen in Norway, beaten only by the 1996 Contest, which was held in Norway.[54][55]

After Eurovision

Storeng returned to Norway after the final as a heroine, with much praise given to her after her fifth place in Belgrade.[56] "Hold On Be Stong" was later released in Sweden after Eurovision, where it peaked on the Sverigetopplistan at #8.[57][58] The song also reached #37 on the Danish singles chart.[59]

In November 2008, Storeng performed in the musical Grease at the Oslo Spektrum, playing the character of Betty Rizzo. She becomes one of the many number of artists who have competed at Eurovision to go on to perform in Grease, with others including Sally-Ann Triplet, who represented the United Kingdom in 1980 and 1982, and Olivia Newton-John, who represented the United Kingdom in 1974 and became famous for acting in the film version of the musical.[60][61]

After receiving such a strong placing from a Norwegian-composed song, NRK decided to close off Melodi Grand Prix to foreign composers, something which the broadcaster was once reluctant to do. Stian Malme, project manager for Melodi Grand Prix, said that NRK "wants the Melodi Grand Prix to be a forum where Norwegian songwriters can develop and present themselves both nationally as well as internationally."[62] Storeng returned to Melodi Grand Prix in 2009, this time as co-host of the contest with Per Sundnes.[63]<[64]

Despite hosting MGP, Storeng was rumoured to be one of the participants in the Swedish preselection for Eurovision 2009 Melodifestivalen. She was rumoured to be competing in the contest as a duet with another former Eurovision artist, Anna Sahlene, who represented Estonia in 2002 with "Runaway". Due to conflicting dates with her hosting duties with MGP, the only possible semi-final she could compete in was the final semi-final, held one week after the final of MGP 2009.[65][66] This news was confirmed by Sveriges Television (SVT), with Storeng and Sahlene competing in the fourth semi-final, held on 28 February 2009, with the song "Killing Me Tenderly".[67] The duo failed to qualify to the final of Melodifestivalen 2009, placing seventh in the semi-final.[68]

See also

External links


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