National Final Throwback: Laila Samuels – Afterglow

Upon request, today’s National Final Throwback takes us back to a time more recent, 2016 to be exact. It’s a song that received an incredible amount of hype, yet I’ll admit that I really haven’t heard this song much. The song I’m talking about is Afterglow, performed by Laila Samuels. To write this post, I’m watching her national final performance for the first time, so it’s almost like a first impressions – so what do I think of it?

First thoughts are: why did I not catch onto this hype?! This song is really something, and to think Icebreaker won (no shade, it was a nice song but perhaps a bit too disjointed) is a bit of a surprise to me. The song has this Nordic noir feel to it. It’s got a really interesting melody in the verses, which for me I think is the highlight of the song. Controversially I might say that I think her vocals live were a bit hit and miss in certain parts of the song, but it’s such a miniscule criticism considering the song itself is really a stand out.

What really struck me while watching the national final performance is how incredible the staging is, and I can imagine what this would have looked like on the Eurovision 2016 stage, and would safely say it would have qualified into the final. Seeing the northern lights as the backdrop with cool laser and smoke effects almost caging Laila in creates this incredible effect and atmosphere, and that would have stood out in the semi-finals had she made it to Eurovision.

I do think this was probably a missed opportunity for Norway, especially considering their actual 2016 results weren’t among their best. It comes across as a song that was more polished than Agnete’s entry (again, no shade), so it’s a shame it was left behind in the national final realm. Overall, I definitely get the hype, and would be happy to give this an 8/10!

Artist Profile:

Year: 2016

Country:  Norway

Artist: Laila Samuels

Song: Afterglow