Norway is back in the Eurovision Song Contest finals as this weekend saw 23-year old Jostein Hasselgård winning the Norwegian finals.
Given Norway’s mediocre results in the 2001 finals, no Norwegian artists performed at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest final. To the delight of the Norwegian Song Contest enthusiasts, Norway is yet again sending a hopeful young artist to defend the nation’s honour.
23-year old Jostein Hasselgård from Gressvik near Fredrikstad won the nation’s hearts this Saturday. In a unique interaction with the viewers, the Norwegian Broadcasting Company allowed the TV-audience to cast its votes via SMS text messages. More than 200 000 votes were given, and 78 460 were in favour of young Hasselgård and his emotional piano-ballad “I’m Not Afraid To Move On”. Runners up were Alfie and his “One”, “Good Evening Europe” performed by Birgitte Einarsen and “Din Hånd I Min Hånd” by Eurovision Song Contest veterans Bettan, Lotta and Klikki.
Norway has won two Eurovision Song contest finals: in 1985 Bobbysocks won with their “La Det Svinge”, while in 1995 Secret Garden took home the victory with their “Nocturne”. However, Norway is perhaps better known for mediocre results and the phrase - “Norway – nil points” has been frequently used to describe the international impact of Norwegian music. In 2001 Haldor Lægreid’s “On My Own” tied with Iceland for the very last place, thus excluding Norway from the 2002 contest. Hopes are up this year though – many have their faith in young Jostein Hasselgård and his “I’m Not Afraid To Move On”.