Stop sending foreigners to Eurovision: politician

Norwegian politician Tove Ovesen has provoked an angry reaction after writing on Facebook that the country should stop sending ”Russians, Africans, Swedes and Iranians” to represent Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Stop sending foreigners to Eurovision: politician
Tooji puts on a brave face despite propping up the field in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest (Photo: Tore Meek/Scanpix)

After Iran-born singer Tooji finished last in Saturday night’s competition, with a song co-written by a pair of Swedes, the centre-right Coastal Party (Kystpartiet) politician took to Facebook to voice her displeasure: “If Norway is to represent Norway, maybe it’s time to stop having Russians, Africans, Swedes and Iranians perform for us.”

Party leader Bengt Stabrun Johansen was quick to distance himself from Ovesen’s remarks, newspaper Nordlys reports.

“These are not views that reflect the Coastal Party’s policies,” said Stabrun Johansen.

“She needs to take note of the fact that, as an elected representative, she represents our voters and should avoid airing private opinions on Facebook.”

Despite facing criticism from several quarters, Ovesen insisted she was not racist.

The Eurovision Song Contest, she told newspaper Finnmark, offered Norway an ideal opportunity to showcase the country’s culture and traditions.

“What is really important to us: cherishing our Norwegian heritage or letting others take over everything we have that’s Norwegian?” she said.

Tooji, who came to Norway from Iran at the age of one with his mother and older brother, was the surprise runaway winner in the national Eurovision qualifiers in February.

Swedish singer Loreen scored a landslide victory in Saturday night’s final  in Baku with her song Euphoria

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‘Take On Me’ tops a billion YouTube views: What makes 80s Norwegian hit so enduring?

It’s arguably the biggest success in the history of Norwegian pop, and A-ha’s 1984 pop classic ‘Take On Me’ this week reached a new milestone.

'Take On Me' tops a billion YouTube views: What makes 80s Norwegian hit so enduring?
A-Ha performing in 2015. Photo: AFP

The song combines synthpop with acoustic guitars, keyboards and drums and is indisputably the band’s signature tune and one of the most evocative pop songs of the decade.

That is complemented by a memorable music video which combined live action sequences with black-and-white pencil sketch animated overlays, in what was then an innovative technique called rotoscoping. It won six awards at the 1986 MTV Music Video Awards.

Perhaps the combination of both music and visuals has driven Take On Me into the realms of YouTube royalty. The official video, originally released in 1985, was recently restored and upgraded to 4K resolution to improve visual quality, Warner Music Norway wrote in a press statement.

In any case, A-ha now join a small list of artists with music videos that have tipped the 10-figure mark for total views on the social media website.

While South Korean rapper Psy’s 2012 hit Gangnam Style and Despacito by Luis Fonsi (2017) have famously garnered monstrous numbers of YouTube views, it’s arguably harder for songs which pre-date widespread use of the Internet to rack up those kind of figures.

Take On Me joins two Guns N’ Roses songs (November Rain, Sweet Child o’ Mine), Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit in an elite club of just five songs from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s with over a billion views.

Numb by Linkin Park was the first pre-YouTube video from the 2000s to reach a billion views.

“Obviously the video is unique and it has some features that stand up and stand the test of time,” he shared. “It’s hand drawn which makes it what it is,” A-ha guitarist Magne Furuholmen told Billboard last year.

“The song also seems to resonate with people across time. It’s just very fortunate to have such a big song in our catalogue,” Furuholmen said.

“We probably spent a few years talking it down, trying to get people to focus on new stuff we’re doing. At this point, certainly speaking for myself, I’m just surprised and proud that the song has done so well and still finds an audience,” he added.