The night of Saturday, March 10, saw the final of Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix, the national selection format used to choose each year’s Eurovision entry. To the delight of many, as well as the dismay of many others, a former contest winner took the crown and thus will represent the country in the 2018 competition.
As reported by ESCToday, 31-year-old Alexander Rybak was one of four contestants to advance to the Gold Final round of this year’s Melodi Grand Prix; his rivals were fellow Eurovision Song Contest alumni Aleksander Walmann, who represented Norway in 2017, duo Stella & Alexandra, and newcomer Rebecca. The latter’s song, “Who We Are,” was penned by the country’s 2015 representative for ESC, Kjetil Morland.
The competition came down to Alexander Rybak and Rebecca, after the two received the highest amount of televotes. Round three asked the public to choose between the pair, with the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest winner being crowned. This result was none too surprising to most ESC fans, as the Belarus native had been top in polls since his participation in Melodi Grand Prix was first announced.
However, not everyone in the Eurovision Song Contest community is thrilled to see Rybak have another shot at the contest’s title. Many fans feel that the violinist’s entry, titled “That’s How You Write A Song,” is an extremely poor choice due to what they feel is a lack of originality and overall silliness of the tune. Others are of the opinion that, even if Alexander’s entry is worthy of having been chosen as the Melodi Grand Prix winner, they do not wish to see someone who has already won enter the competition again.
This is a common belief among Eurovision fans; former winners like Lena, Dana International and Loreen have faced scrutiny for returning to the contest despite having already been awarded the trophy. Some followers go as far as to say that if an entrant has already had their shot in general, regardless of winning, they should seek their career elsewhere and give newcomers a chance.
Alexander Rybak made Eurovision Song Contest history back in 2009 when he won the competition with 387 points, the highest amount to have been achieved under the former voting system. His debut album hit the number one spot in not only Norway, but also Russia, ultimately charting in the top 20 in a total of nine different countries. He appeared as the interval act in 2012 and 2016, accompanied by his infamous violin. Rybak has faced his fair share of controversy over the years, with rumours having popped up in the music community concerning the singer’s alleged anger control issues, which led to him breaking his own fingers and also destroying his violin.