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. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Norway storms into Eurovision final

“This could go all the way,” Stian Malme, the head of Norway’s delegation told NRK, after Kjetil Mørland and Debrah Scarlett won wild cheers from the Eurovision audience with their most powerful performance yet.

Norway storms into Eurovision final
Kjetil Mørland and Debrah Scarlett with the song A Monster Like Me in the semifinals no. 2 in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Wiener Stadthalle on Thursday night. Photo: Jessica Gow / TT / NTB sca
Kjetil Mørland and Debrah Scarlett took their dark ballad A Monster like Me palpably up a notch to win a place in the Eurovision final, proving that the song, which criticised for being too slow and even boring, could be boosted to move a Eurovision crowd. 
“It was such a wonderfully delicious experience. I'm just filled with joy. To hear the entire audience singing along was completely unreal,” Scarlett told Norway’s VG newspaper after coming off the stage. 
“As I stood backstage I felt genuinely touched. The whole stage shook with the response,” Mørland said. 
Out of the countries in today’s second semi-final, Norway is being joined by Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Israel in the final. 
“We are delighted now,”  Malme said. “You never know what will happen in Eurovision. This act spearheaded by Mørland & Debrah Scarlett has every possibility of reaching the top in the final on Saturday.” 
The duo ditched the gothic look of their music video in favour of more standard Eurovision costume — a white dress for Scarlett and a white T-shirt and dinner jacket for Mørland. 
They went onto stage with blessing of this year’s glamorous hostess, Conchita Wurst, the runaway winner of last year’s contest. 
In an interview with the duo in ‘green room’ Wurst asked what he could do to cheer Mørland up since “the Norwegian contribution is a bit sad”. 
“Give me a kiss on the cheek,” Debrah answered, after which Wurst obliged, joking, “I kissed a girl for the first time.”