VIDEO: Norway sails into Eurovision final

Bergen ex-bouncer Carl Espen Thorbjørnsen went through to the finals of Eurovision on Thursday night after a powerful and passionate performance of his song Silent Storm.

VIDEO: Norway sails into Eurovision final
Carl Espen singing in the Eurovision semifinal in Copenhagen. Photo: YouTube screen grab

Norway's success means that all five Nordic countries will now be competing in the final on May 10.

"Now I'm so happy that I can't find the words," Thorbjørnsen told VG after the results were announced. "I am so very happy and very satisfied with my own performance. The hard work has paid off. It can be described as an extreme bliss."

Torbjörn Ek, a Eurovision expert for Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper, who had previously criticised Thorbjørnsen for showing nerves in his performances, told the channel that in the semifinal it had all come together. 
"It's the best he's done down here," he said. "He…seems nervous in the first minute. But his singing was cracking! And eventually he will get his nerves under control."
Austria's controversial entry, bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, also made the final, with "Rise Like a Phoenix", a power ballad that would not be out of place in a James Bond film, as did entries from Poland, Belarus, Romania, Malta, Greece, Switzerland, Slovenia and Finland. 
Wurst, the drag persona of Austrian singer Tom Neuwirth, triggered a petition in Belarus calling for the state broadcaster to edit her out of the television footage to avoid turning Eurovision into "a hotbed of sodomy". 

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Norway’s Eurovision hope struggles with mental ‘hell’

Agnete Johnsen, who is representing Norway at next week's Eurovision Song Contest 2016, has cancelled all public appearances ahead of the big show.

Norway's Eurovision hope struggles with mental 'hell'
Although she is struggling mentally, Agnete Johnsen said she is still in it to win it. Photo: Julia Nagelstad/Eurovision

The 21-year-old singer from Nesseby said that her mental health is struggling in the run-up to the contest in Stockholm and has pulled out of all national and international activities, including interviews and concerts.

“I appreciate the interest in my participation in Eurovision but right now my only focus is to do what I love most – signing on stage. I hope people can understand that I need to do that now,” she told broadcaster NRK.

Johnsen, whose song 'Icebreaker' won Norway's national competition in February, said that she has long battled depression and suicidal thoughts.

“For many years, I have been struggling mentally and I can't always control my thoughts as mush as I'd like to. When it happens, I am not capable of thinking positive and I will mentally go to a very dark place,” Johnsen told VG. 

“Everything is just negative. A pure hell,” she added. 

Johnsen said she hopes that pulling out of the promotional events in Stockholm ahead of the big show will allow her to focus on her performance. 

According to her managers, Stein Vanebo and Espen Nystad, the singer's decision to focus on her mental health ahead of the contest has the full support of the Norwegian delegation.

“All of us who are going to Stockholm are united in giving her all the support she needs to bring the victory home. And let there be no doubt – Agnete is competing to win Eurovision,” they said in a statement to NRK.

Johnsen will perform 'Icebreaker' in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest on May 12th in Stockholm. The final round is on May 14th.