Most of the Nordic countries have successfully re-invented their national finals during the last years, and Norway has been working very hard on finding ESC success.
They have been successful as well. Wig Wam in 2005, Maria Haukaas Storeng in 2008 and, of course, Alexander Rybak in 2009 all left lasting impressions on the international audience. Not bad for the country that used to end in bottom five every year for such a long period of time.
But who is perfect? Also Norway has rejected a few personal favourites of mine during the last ten years. It would have been most interesting to find out how these ones would have fared had they reached the ESC.
Venke Knutsen - Jealous Cause I Love You (2010)
I was never a fan of Didrik Solli-Tangen's pompous old ballad and can't help thinking that Venke would have spiced up the Oslo happening quite a bit with her output, presence and wacky lyrics.
Velvet Inc - Tricky (2009)
Of course Rybak was the right choice. Nobody else could have crushed all resistance in Moscow like he did. But had Norway opted for this slick pop praline instead, nobody would ever have known that.
Veronica Akselsen - Am I Supposed To Love Again (2008)
Mellow and melancholic. Very sensitive performance, also. Again, not strong enough to better Maria's fifth place in Belgrade, but a very proud entry for any country.
Ann-Mari Andersen - Ándagassii (2008)
Ethnic, haunting, suggestive piece of modern pop. Slick production and soft, appealing lyrics in Sami. One of the best and most progressive entries that Norway ever left behind.
Mocci - Tonight (2006)
And then there is always Mocci, who has the distinction of missing out twice with modern, urban sounding entries. Her 2006 Sophie Ellis-Bextor sound would probably have been too laid-back in Athens (and had she hit the notes as poorly as she does in this clip, she could have had to fight it out with Fabrizio over the last place) but the song is good. And her 2001 effort would have rocked Copenhagen and filled a real void in the extremely weak line-up of that year.
Mocci - You've Got The Motion (2001)