NRK chose to stick with the tried and tested formula from previous editions of Melodi Grand Prix, when attempting to improve the dissappointing result of Stella Mwangi in Düsseldorf by calling for entries to their national selection as early as in June, with a deadline for submission being set for the 2nd of September.
This year saw broadcaster NRK hold the national selection Melodi Grand Prix for the fifty first time. Impressive viewing figures from the previous year meant that NRK wished to continue with the same show format, namely 3 heats culminating in a grand final held in Oslo Spektrum. The national selection did however go through something of a transformation, involving rebranding and significant changes to the process, including the decision to axe the Siste Sjansen heat and to let three artists qualify directly to the final instead of two artists as in previous editions.
Contrary to some countries, foreign composers were encouraged to submit entries to the Norwegian selection. Confirmation of acts began to emerge in November, following a great deal of specualtion in the national media. The Norwegian line up this year was much more varied than previous years, with some surprises and relatively known household names making their debut at the contest, as well as some people making surprising reappearances. Familiar names included musical star Lisa Stokke, known from her stint in London's West End with Mamma Mia, one time Dollie De Luxe member and 1984 entrant Benedikte Adrian making her return this year as part of a trio. Media darling Lise Karlsnes was welcomed to the fold, adding further credibility to the contest.
The line up featured an eclectic mix of music genres, including grand ballads, purebred rock and roll, dubstep, rap, dance, pop and electronica. The number of Norwegian language entries to make the final 24 artists was at an all time low however, with a meagre 4 entries, only 2 of which advanced to the final.
The national selection comprised three heats held in Ørland on the 21st of January, in Larvik on the 28th of January and in Florø on the 4th of February. Each heat saw eight acts battle it out for three spots in the grand final to be held in Oslo Spektrum on the 11th of February. With the omittance of the Siste Sjansen heat, NRK instead attempted to make the contest more accesible to the average viewer, with more extensive reports during the build up of each heat, with a mix of trivia and backstage footage featuring in a TV special each Thursday before the Saturday heats.
The final in Oslo featured predominantly little known names with the exception of the group Plumbo, previous MGP Jr entrant Malin Reitan, former Briskeby vocalist Lise Karlnes and country legend Bobby Bare (in a duet with Petter Øien). From the ten acts in the final, four advanced onto a super final based on their amount of televotes. The four acts to make it to the super final were Plumbo, responsible for a major Norwegian hit the previous year with Møkkamann and riding high on a subsequent wave of publicity alongside young singer Nora Foss al-Jabri with her disney style ballad Somewhere Beautiful. The final line up was completed with the country duet Things Change, performed by Petter Øien and 76 year old Bobby Bare as well as the newcomer Tooji with his dance number Stay, drawing parallels to last year's Swedish entry Popular in terms of looks and styling.
The voting was a thrilling affair, divided into three juries from the host towns, combined with the results from five regional votes. Each jury could award 2, 4, 6 or 8,000 points which led to an initial lead for Nora Foss al-Jabri. However, once the regional votes were announced it soon became clear that these juries were completely out of sync with the general public, with Tooji surging ahead in every single region. His final score of 137,480 votes was almost twice that of second placed Things Change.
Tooji's victory was a major surprise on the night, as the group Plumbo were the hotly tipped favourites to lift the title in most of the national media. Their song Ola Nordmann made quite an impact on both the iTunes and national charts with Tooji apparently coming from far behind to snatch the title from their grasp.Their failure in the super final has partly been attributed to something of a national backlash, following their scandalous behaviour at the prestigious Spellemann music awards, where band members made seemingly playful comments about the former Eurovision interval act Madcon, comments which were construed as blatantly racist by many.
The final results of the Norwegian voting were as follows:
1. Stay - Tooji 137,480 votes
2. Things Change - Petter Øien and Bobby Bare 71,685 votes
3. Somewhere Beautiful - Nora Foss al-Jabri 66,046 votes
4. Ola Nordmann - Plumbo 51,868 votes