One of the strategies that manifests at every Eurovision Song Contest is to borrow elements from the previous year’s competition. It would have been awesome if 1/3 to 1/2 of the entries this year were critiques of the concept of the gender binary, but alas that is not the case. Instead, many countries have moved on to aping last year’s runner-up entry from the Netherlands.
If you were going to pick any entry from which to draw inspiration, “Calm After the Storm” by the Common Linnetts is a fantastic choice. Duets tend to do very well in the Contest, and a well-crafted and sincere ballad should be rewarded. That seems to be the approach Norway is taking with their selection, “A Monster Like Me” by Mørland & Debrah Scarlett:
The song, while a downer, definitely checks the “well-crafted ballad” box. My concern lies with the performance. Granted, the above video was from the end of Norsk Melodi Grand Prix after Mørland & Debrah Scarlett were named the winners, so the thrill of victory likely interfered with the harmonies and caused smiles during the serious moments. However, the staging did not leave much of an impression. The interlude before the powerful finish had a lot of dead air with little movement on the stage. That’s not going to work in an arena setting.
I also hope to see some wardrobe enhancements for both performers. I found Mørland’s blazer/t-shirt combo to be a bit of a mismatch, even if he is claiming to be the monster of the relationship. I liked the idea of Scarlett’s dress, but the zipper in the back bunched up in an unflattering way and became a distraction.
All in all, this is a solid entry from Norway. I don’t think “A Monster Like Me” needs any tweaking, which means the duo can work on creating a strong and memorable stage performance for Vienna.