Big Daddy Karsten’s ‘Smile’ could bring gay bears to Eurovision!

A song representing gay bears and non-monogamy could be headed to Eurovision!

Queer Norwegian rapper Big Daddy Karsten is bringing his feel-good, danceable tune “Smile” to Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix. The Melodi Grand Prix is an annual music competition that determines which song will represent the country in the Eurovision Song Contest.

For any that may be unaware, Eurovision is an annual European song competition that features participants representing primarily European countries. If chosen to go forward, “Smile” will represent Norway in the competition. 

The inclusion of “Smile” in the competition is significant for many reasons: It’s the first song to be entered by a gay bear rapper, and it’s the first song to be entered that discusses themes of non-monogamy. “I wanted to show that people in open relationships feel love just like everyone else”, said Big Daddy Karsten. “At the end of the day, if I love you, I just want to make you smile.” 

Not only does Big Daddy Karsten rap about gay love and non-monogamy in the track, but he also gives a nod to characters from BearCity, the popular bear movie series that deals with gay relationships. “You can be the Roger to my Tyler in a city full of bears, as long as you are smiling,” he raps. 

There will be a total of seven shows from January 16 to February 20, 2021:

  • 16 January 2021: Heat 1
  • 23 January 2021: Heat 2
  • 30 January 2021: Heat 3
  • 6 February 2021: Heat 4
  • 13 February 2021: Heat 5
  • 15 February 2021: Last Chance
  • 20 February 2021: Final

There will be a total of 26 songs in MGP 2021, and 12 songs will compete in the final:

On February 15, 2021, one artist will get the Wildcard in the Last Chance round for the Final of MGP which will be selected in a live broadcast on the radio and at NRK.no. This year’s grand final will feature 12 finalists, instead of the regular 10. Like last year, half of the finalists will be internally selected (pre-qualified) and half chosen through the heats.

Big Daddy Karsten will perform “Smile” in Heat 3 on Saturday, January 30 at 7:50 p.m. CET (1:50 p.m. EST, 6:50 p.m. GMT). You don’t need to be a resident of Norway to vote. Anyone outside of Norway can vote as well. 

To register and vote during the show on Saturday from outside of Norway, visit nrk.no/stem/mgp!

To listen to “Smile”, visit Spotify, Apple Music and other digital platforms, listen on YouTube below!

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Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.