Melodi Grand Prix (Norway) 2022 Semi-Final 1: Mira Craig and Eline Noelia

Mira Craig — “We Still Here”
I didn’t expect to hear songs which sound like they could have come from the Middle East in Norway’s national final, but I guess music is becoming more universal these days. After a start filled with intrigue, the song settles into a galloping rhythm which it more or less stays with for the rest of the song — there’s not enough musical variation for my liking. Craig’s voice has a deeper tone, which is very convincing as a battle cry throughout the track, but her forays into higher notes sound too forced. But my greatest annoyance with the song is that the lyrics could easily be”We’re Still Here” instead of “We Still Here”. I understand that it’s the fashionable option these days, but given that the rest of the lyrics don’t even remotely attempt to be as streetwise, it sounds somewhat cringe-worthy to me.

Eline Noelia — “Ecstasy”
The first time I heard this song I was thrown off by the synth fog horn or whatever it is supposed to be, but I’m fine with it now. Normally you’d expect a song which seems to have 100% synths to sound like it came from the 1980s, but this sounds about as a modern as it gets. What’s more impressive is Noelia’s voice, which seems to be at the point of breaking apart at several points in this song, and yet you also get the sense that she’s fully in control of it. This is a high-risk, high-reward scenario: if her vocals hold on the night, surely this will go far. If there are cracks, it could go down in a flaming heap. I’m hoping for the former, because when Noelia lets loose, this is a thrilling song.