On Saturday , Denmark will hold its Dansk Melodi Grand Prix Final at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen to select their entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam . Following a successful 12th placing in last year’s Grand Final in Tel Aviv by Leonora , with her song ” Love is Forever”, Denmark will be hoping to improve on that placing this year .
As a prelude to the big night and as someone who has links to Denmark via my Danish family roots. I thought it would be fun to delve into the archives of Danish Melodi Grand Prix contests gone by. Let’s take a look .
1984 -Kirsten and Søren/ Hot Eyes ” Det lige det ” ( It’s just that)
Many Eurovision fans old enough to remember the contests of the 1980’s may recall Kirsten and Søren,internationally known as Hot Eyes , representing Denmark in Eurovision in 1984, 1985 and 1988 respectively . They are a big part of Danish Eurovision history due to not only their participation in Eurovision but for the other times they have tried to represent their country again by taking part in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and it is not uncommon to walk around Denmark and still hear their songs being played in shops or other public places .Perhaps the most interesting aspect of their 1984 entry ” Det lige det” ( It’s just that ) was that it became known as the ” swimming pool song ” because during the performance in the Melodi Grand Prix, Kirsten threw Søren into a swimming pool by the stage. Unfortunately, this was not able to be replicated at Eurovision itself. Given that there was no public vote at that time, wonder what the international juries would have made of that, had it been possible?
Kirsten and Søren also represented Denmark in 1985 with ” Sku du spørg fra no’en” and in 1988 with “ka du se hva’ jeg sa”.
1983-Gry Johansen “Kloden Drejer”
Gry Johansen won the Danish Melodi Grand prix in 1983 with the uptempo number ” Kloden drejer ” and went to the Eurovision Song Contest in Munich as one of the favourites to win the contest. Sadly for Gry , the international juries didn’t agree and she finished in 17th place. Gry entered Dansk Melodi Grand Prix again in 1985 , 1989 and 2000 but wasn’t successful on any of those occasions .However, Gry’s song is still very much a part of Danish Melodi Grand Prix and Danish Eurovision history and Gry herself has on occasions, been the Danish spokesperson at Eurovision .
1997-Kølig Kaj -” Stemme i mit liv “
Kølig Kaj gave us Danish rap in Eurovision 1997 after winning that year’s Melodi Grand Prix. Formed by the singers Thomas Lægård and Christina Juul Hansen , the song was about the singer’s difficulties in speaking to the object of his strong affections. Unfortunately ,rap rarely works in Eurovision and this was no exception with the duo only managing a 16th place in the Eurovision Song contest in Dublin , with only 25 points.
Here’s their Melodi Grand Prix performance
2005 -Jakob Sveistrup ” Tænder på dig” ( Talking to You)
With Danish pride dented somewhat after Thomas Thordarsson had failed to qualify Denmark to the final from the first ever semi final to take place in Eurovision in 2004, Jakob came to the 2005 edition of Dansk Melodi Grand Prix following his appearance in the Danish talent show “Stjerne for en aften” ( Star for a night) .However at the time he was not a professional musician but a teacher for autistic children( he became a full time musician after Eurovision). His performance of the song ” Tænder på dig” beat off competition from former Danish winners of the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 The Olsen brothers ,who were trying to represent Denmark again with ” My little yellow radio”. Jakob sang the English version of his song at Eurovision in Kyiv , Ukraine and managed to bring Denmark back to the final. He gained a respectable 9th place and under the old rules, qualified Denmark straight through to the following year’s grand final .It’s actually one of my personal favourites from Danish Eurovision history.
1989 -Birthe Kjær ” Vi maler byen rød” ( we’ll paint the town red)
Who could forget this catchy little cabaret style song and Birthe in her dazzling red dress ,in 1989 ? Birthe Kjær began her singing career in the 1960’s and had made previous bids to represent Denmark in 1980, 1986 and 1987 before finally winning Dansk Melodi Grand Prix in 1989 . With the free language rule still not having been introduced into Eurovision, Birthe sang the song in her native Danish and impressed the juries with her performance, giving Denmark a top 5 placing by coming 3rd. The song still remains popular in Denmark today with it being included many a time where memories have been talked about of Denmark in Eurovision and the history of the Dansk Melodi grand prix
2001 Rollo & King -Det står et billede på mit bord
Having won the Eurovision song contest in 2000 with the Olsen brothers and their song ” Fly on the wings of love ” Denmark prepared to host the 2001 edition in Copenhagen . Rollo & King won the Danish ticket in the Melodi Grand prix , held in Hjerning , to represent their country on home soil . A country style song, they translated it into English for Eurovision and it became known as ” Never ever let you go ” . At the time it wasn’t expected to do so well and based on their Melodi Grand prix staging , that may have been so but on Eurovision night, singing last, they actually brought Denmark very close to a back to back win and came in 2nd place , only missing out to Estonia .Here’s how the performance may have looked at Eurovision had they kept the language as Danish and not changed their stage look
1991-Anders Frandsen ” Lige det hvor hjertet slår
Anders won the 1991 edition of Dansk Melodi Grand Prix and his song was quite the opposite of the up tempo entries previously brought to Eurovision by Denmark. Unfortunately it failed to grasp the interest of the international juries and Denmark finished the 1991 Eurovision song contest in 19th place with only 8 points. Sadly Anders, is no longer with us having tragically passed away in 2012 at the age of 51.
2019 -Leonora -” love is forever”
I really couldn’t write this review without coming right up to date and mentioning last year’s Danish Melodi Grand Prix winner Leonora . Although this is probably one of my least favoured Danish Eurovision entries ( I so wanted Julie and Nina to represent Denmark in Tel Aviv ! 😢😢) it surpassed all my ( and probably many others!) expectations by not only reaching the grand final but coming a respectable 12th place . Let’s hope this year’s act doesn’t need a giant chair !
Well, that’s just a small selection of acts from the archives of Danish Melodi Grand Prix contests gone by . There are of course many more and I am sure that all of you out there, especially Danish fans , will have your own personal favourites. Please feel free to say what you think and who you most remember from years gone by !
So, who will Denmark choose to succeed these acts who have graced the Danish Melodi Grand Prix and Eurovision stage over the years? #Join us for our live blog of the Danish Melodi Grand Prix 2020 on Saturday at 20;00 CET!
Author : Sarah Rudman
Source & visual sources : DR , Wikipedia, Good evening Europe TV, Esconnet,You Tube