Sometimes it’s not the journey, it’s the destination.
Ulrikke Brandstorp competed on the 2013 edition of Norwegian Idol and was runner up on the 2018 edition of Stjernekamp. She finished fourth in the 2017 Melodi Grand Prix with “Places.” She also played Liesl in a production of The Sound of Music. She co-wrote her song “Attention” with Christian Ingebrigtsen from A1 and Mørland, who represented Norway in 2015 alongside Debrah Scarlett with “A Monster Like Me.”
The moment I heard “Attention” during MPG’s fourth heat, I knew that it was going to win (and I’m still kicking myself for not proclaiming that on our Twitter account). It’s a gorgeous ballad, beautifully orchestrated and terrifically performed by Ulrikke. Her control throughout the song is remarkable, restraining her emotions when she needs to and unleashing them for maximum effect.
What impressed us the most is how well “Attention” is constructed. The orchestration is gentle and sparse at the start, and it barely swells for the first chorus. When it gets to the second chorus, “Attention” goes big, with subtle choral backing vocals emphasizing the big notes that Ulrikke belts out. We thought, “Well, they kind of went too big too early. Where do they go from here?”
Well, they go a quiet space for the bridge, a brief piano interlude which reloads the emotional rocket launcher. For the third chorus, the pyrotechnics are unleashed, both literally and vocally. It gives us chills, even though we are normally fire curtain cynics at this point.
If we want to nitpick, we’ll point that it’s a downbeat song that makes Hooverphonic’s “Release Me” sound like “Walking On Sunshine.” (It is a Mørland song, after all.) But damn, does Ulrikke make desperation sound great!
Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix was a hot mess this year for a variety of reasons. We’re not going to cover that here because that will be long forgotten come May. (Then we’ll remember it in June so we can write our 2020 WTF post.) For right now we’re just happy that in the end, the right song won.