The big daddy of the Melodi Grand Prix – not Jahn Teigen, but Tor Endresen – competes against five other acts in the third Norwegian semifinal in Bergen this Friday. The Eurovision veteran has already clocked up an astonishing ten appearances in the Norwegian selection since 1987, winning once of those in 1997. The nil points he received at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin did not deter him and he is back again this year with the song Dreaming of a new tomorrow.
Tor's advantage is promising – as a native Bergen boy, he is bound to have an enthusiastic home crowd behind him. He will be seeking public redemption from his unplaced appearance at last year's Melodi Grand Prix, when, as part of the duo Seppo (pictures), he failed to win enough votes for the 'superfinal' with the song Can you hear me.
Tor is not the only experienced Melodi Grand Prix artist in the third semifinal, although he is certainly the most experienced. Kathrine Strugstad is hot on his heels, although still a MGP fledgling, having also performed in the 2005 selection alongside Tor. Her song Velvet blue, also failed to make the top four that year.
Birgitte Einarsen too is a familiar face to fans, having reached a comely third place in the 2003 Norwegian selection with Good evening, Europe! Her pop-dance number Saturday is one of the highly fancied titles in the third semifinal.
All three are joined by Grand Prix debutantes Phung, Veronica Akselsen and Christine Guldbrandsen (no relation to Norway's 1987 representative Kate!). Christine, like Tor, hails from Bergen, and can boast of being the only singer to offer a song in Norwegian in the whole of Norway's selection process for 2006. It must already have brought her some luck – by many she is already considered a favourite to win through to the final on 4th February.
Two fortunates will proceed directly to the grand final, and two more will gain the final two places in the second chance semi, held on 3rd February.