With Norway it comes back a true Eurovision winner: Alexander Rybak! His song “Fairytale” has been the winning song from the Moscow ESC 2009, which received the highest points, which have ever been reached according to the old voting system. All participating countries in 2009 voted for the youthful Alexander, beside of Norway of course. The runner up country Iceland was 169 points behind Norway. This song “Fairytale” was a #1 Hit in Norway and Russia and in nine other European countries it reached the Top 20.
Now Alexander Rybak has been winning the Norwegian national final called “Melodi Grand Prix”, out of 1200 submitted entries with his unusual title “That's How You Write A Song”, which can be taken as friendly advice for ESC composers. Alexander Rybak is not the only repeater in this year’s ESC in Lisbon. We have the Dutch singer Waylon, who represented The Netherlands in the group The Common Linnets with “Calm After The Storm” and came second in Copenhagen 2014 and the Austrian singer Cesár Sampson, who has been singing in the background for Bulgaria in 2016 and 2017.
Alexander Igorovitsj Rybak war originally born in Minsk, Belarus in 1986. His family moved to the south of Oslo, where Alexander grew up. His parents are musicians as well, so Alexander learned to play the piano and in particular the violin. In the age of 10 he became a student at the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo. In 2005 Alexander took part at the Norwegian Idol and reached the semi final, one year later he could win the talent contest Kjempesjansen with his own composed song “Foolin”. He has been working together with aha singer Morten Harket as well as the world famous violinist Pinchas Zukerman.
The great success for Alexander came with the victory of the ESC in 2009. From then on he toured around Norway and abroad, appeared in many TV shows, he even performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, held at the Oslo Spektrum in 2009. He released his first album “Fairytales” and released several new songs such as “Europe’s Skies” in 2010, which became a chart success in Scandinavia; “Strela Amura” in 2012; a duet with Paula Seling “I’ll Show You” ; “Leave Me Alone” in 2012 ; “5 to 7 Years" in 2013; and “Blant Fjell" in 2015. Alexander has also been seen in several national finals for Eurovision and even at the interval act of the Stockholm ESC 2016.
The song for this year is called “That’s How You Write A Song”. The modern arrangement with a groovy sound appears contemporary and fresh. Alexander has nothing to lose; he has already won the crown of Eurovision. Of course it would be great for him to have a second victory. It is still the question if the song is a strong as “Fairytale”. Especially the violin remake might be heard too many times. The lyrics do also appear strangely, as the music lover would like to listen to a good composition with beautiful lyrics, he does not need a direction of use how to write a song. The song has a catchy melody and a glimpse of recognition. The biggest question is if this is enough to win the ESC again?
Finals: 53 (11 since 2005)
Top 10: 23
Chances for Top 10: 40%
Chances for Final: 73%
Norway has joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 1960. The first entry “Voi-voi” by Nora Brocksted made a good 4th place. Norway is the record holder in getting last at the ESC when it comes to the voting. In the 56 years old history, Norway has been last for 11 times, and four times Norway has not received a single point! Even if the Scandinavian countries have a similar taste of music and singers are mostly known all over Scandinavia, Norway and Sweden battle out their own competition, but like all Nordic countries are generally very generous exchanging points with each other, which can also be noticed in the Balkan countries, Greece and Cyprus and so on.
On the other hand, Norway has won three times and has been in the Grand Final for 52 times and reached the Top10 for 23 times, that’s a 40% chance for Top10 position for Norway. Some Norwegian entries have become real evergreens such as “Lykken er” by Hanne Krogh (1971, 17th place), “Mata Hari” by Anne-Karine Ström (1976, 17th place), “Mitt Liv” by Kate Gulbrandsen (1987, 9th place) and “My Heart Is Yours” Didrik Solli-Tangen (2010, 20th place). In the recent years Norway has been quite successful again, since 2012 Norway could mostly qualify for the Grand Final, that’s mainly due to the good quality songs on a very good international level. Last year JOWST could reach another great 10th rank in the Grand Final of Kiev with “Grab The Moment”.