Eurovision Entry: Norway - Stella Mwangi - "Haba Haba"
Apr 29 2011 03:03 pm CET

Stella Mwangi's song of advice "Haba Haba" may be an unexpected entry from Norway in terms of style, but shows that the country will not tie itself to one definition of pop music when it comes to Eurovision. Could this song bring the Contest back to Oslo?

Country: Norway
Title: "Haba Haba"
Artist: Stella Mwangi
Semi-Final: First, Slot 2
Last year's entry/position: "My Heart is Yours" - Didrik Solli-Tangen (20th Place)

When "Haba Haba" was selected by Norway back in February, the pick seemed somewhat confusing. The song has a strong Caribbean vibe, even with Swahili lyrics – two items that generally don't jump to mind when someone says "Norway." Despite what I thought was a less than stellar vocal performance at Melodi Grand Prix, the Norwegian jury and public overwhelmingly supported this song.

Since the selection, Stella Mwangi and company have made some good choices. The song was rewritten in a key better suited for the voice, eliminating my main concern for this entry. The music video was also one of the last to be released and as a result is one of the best produced videos submitted this year. I realize that isn't a requirement for the contest, but an interesting video is going to get more airplay than a recording of a live performance from a semi-final.

I am fairly confident "Haba Haba" will advance out of the first semi-final. Positioned between Poland and Albania, the fun in the track will contrast nicely with the power of what is surrounding it. Where the song is going to run into trouble is in the Final. Although the song ranks high among the bookmakers, my gut is telling me that the song's appeal is not going to be as strong when pitted against whatever comes out of the second semi-final. Perhaps this is something that Norway will be able to overcome with performance position, but if "Haba Haba" lands between Sweden and Estonia or some other combination of favorites, I fear this song will get swallowed up.

Although my initial opinion of this song was mixed, I think Norway has made the necessary fixes to make "Haba Haba" a contender.

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Mike McComb –
Follow Mike on Twitter @Rube_Goldberg

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