In brief: the latest from Sweden, Norway and what happens inside the Reference Group
NORWAY – Will we see Marcus & Martinus and in the line up for the 2018 edition of Melodi Grand Prix (MGP)? Well we don’t know the answer yet (but we surely would love to) but we know what NRK is planning to do with NRK this year. No more snippets! Finally! NRK announced that unlike previous years’ this time there will be directly full version release of the songs for MGP 2018 and actually two months in advance. This is set to happen on January 15th Melodi Grand Prix producer Stig Karlsen says that this happens in order “to see if any of the submitted songs stand out in and have a greater impact than the others.” NRK has received 1200 songs for MGP 2018. Regarding the song Stig Karlsen sounded says, “There are very many talented people engaged in next year’s MGP. It’s going to hurt to pick only ten songs and ten artists to fight to represent Norway in Lisbon!”.
SAN MARINO – The 9th participation of San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest will be decided through an international marathon selection for the first time ever. Over 600 singers submitted their songs so far but the thing is that none of them is from San Marino! Alessandro Capicchioni, Head of Delegation says: “It is a competition also designed for home artists… and for which we have developed a system that enhances them. We can not wait to prove that even our artists have something to say”. Submissions due on November 30th. Those gathering more than 100 likes or shapes, or pay 4,99 Euros will be considered by the San Marino jury. Ten songs will be announced in early December, three of them will be wildcards. A series of live shows will determine the winner eventually with voting by jury and public. Eurovision songs will be decided internally and for the three finalists these songs will be available in the final (late February).
SWEDEN – Kikki Danielsson and Martin Almgren are the two new names in the rumour mill of Aftobladet for the 2018 Melodifestivalen edition. Danielsson was born in Osby, Sweden, and resides in Gävleborg. In total, she has participated nine times at the Swedish Melodifestivalen and one time at the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix. She has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twice, in 1982 (as a part of the Swedish pop and country group Chips with the song “Dag efter dag”, finishing 8th) and in the 1985 (solo) with the song “Bra vibrationer”, finishing 3rd. Karl Martin Ingemar Almgren is a Swedish singer and winner of Idol 2015 which was broadcast on TV4. Almgren was born in Lindesberg. He released his debut single Can’t Hold Me Down after winning the Globen finale.
IRELAND – Louis Walsh has confirmed that Westlife will get back together. Does this ring a Eurovision alarm? Westlife split in 2012 after selling over 50 million records worldwide. But five years on, it looks like the foursome of Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan are already gearing up for a return. Speaking in Dublin tonight, Louis told RSVP: “A Westlife reunion is definitely going to happen… but I have no idea when. “I’m still really good friends with all of the lads. I think the reunion will be great, but its up to them to decide when they will do it.” Louis, who also managed rival Irish band Boyzone, revealed he has been in contact Westlife member Mark. He added: “I was chatting to Mark Feehily last night about the Christmas album he’s bringing out, and its amazing. I’d forgotten how talented he is.” Meanwhile, Walsh has ruled out being on TV for another 10 years as he ‘doesn’t want to be like Bruce Forsyth.’
THE NETHERLANDS – 1988 Dutch representative in the Eurovision Song Contest, Gerard Joling says he had a song ready for Eurovision 2018 but he was too late submitting his song to AVROTROS. The revelation took place at the RTL Late Night. His song is titled I Can Count On You, written by Bram Koning and Kees Koek. The artist said: “It was a damn good song. I might even send it in for Waylon, he would be perfect for it. There are gorgeous changes of tempo, it’s a colossal song.” He will have to remain satisfied with his Shangri-La entry in 1988 and his 9th position in the scoreboard.
EBU – The Reference Group is the committee overseeing the development and future of the Eurovision Song Contest. Their task is to modernise the contest and oversee the annual preparations by the host. Furthermore, they keep an eye on the financial side of the Eurovision Song Contest. Earlier this autumn EBU added DR’s Head of Entertainment Jan Lagermand Lundme in the EBU’s Reference Group. In the latest update of its formation, EBU announced French Head of Delegation Edoardo Grassi although it should have been Paul Hrytsak as he is the latest Executive Producer of a Eurovision event. The currently elected Heads of Delegation are Aleksandar Radic (RTVSLO), Nicola Caligiore (RAI) and Emilie Sickinghe (Avrotros). The group is completed by DR’s Head of Entertainment Jan Lagermand Lundme. He is also joining this year after being invited by Jon Ola Sand personally to fullfil and advising role. Interestingly, neither Edgar Böhm (ORF) nor Pavlo Hrytsak (UA:PBC) have a place in the EBU Reference Group. João Nuno Nogueira (RTP) is joining the board as next year’s Executive Producer. SVT’s Martin Österdahl produced the 2016 contest and is also in the group.