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Oslo, Ep. 3

June 1, 2015 — After 2.5 years away, Literary Death Match returned to dazzling Oslo for a brilliant Kulturhuset debut that saw Birger Emanuelsen topple Linda Klakken after a wowing come-from-behind victory in a stirring game of Musical Chairs to win Emanuelsen the LDM Oslo, Ep. 3 crown. 

But before the finale was even a consideration, the magical night kicked off with Klakken, poet and author of Skriv ferdig boka om livet ditt (Finish the book about your life) and Mamma, kone, slave (Mom, wife, slave) who read a startling, brilliant piece about her own vagina. Then it was on to Amalie Kasin Lerstang, award-winning author of Europa (Tarjej Vesaas´debutantpris), co-editor of Fanfare, who dazzled with a pitch perfect pair of poems that the packed house loved. 

Then the mic was handed over to the night's trio of all-star judges: Selma Lønning Aarø, author of Jeg kommer snart (I'm Coming); Sondre Lerche, singer, songwriter and mentor on The Voice Norway (now based in NYC); and Kari Slaatsveen, comedian, journalist and host of Fru Larsen (Mrs Larsen) on NRK P13. The trio praised both authors, keying on Klakken's boldness, and Lerstang's performative might, but after a long deliberation, they made the night's first impossible decision, deciding it would be Klakken who would advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a brief intermission, Round 2 began with a sterling performance from Eivind Buene, composer of contemporary music and author of the essay colllection Dobbeltliv, who briefly read a genius piece of writing before inviting the crowd to follow him to a side room where he performed a pair of songs on the piano. Finally, it was Emanuelsen, winner of Ungdommens kritikerpris (for Fra jorden roper blodet) & For riket er ditt, who went off book (and sometimes off microphone) wiht a powerful, memorized excerpt from his novel. 

Again the judges were center stage, applauding Buene's bold move to take the audience to an entirely new space, and Emanuelsen's booming voice. And after another huddle, they emerged and made the night's second impossible decision, declaring Emanuelsen would be the night's second finalist. 

Then up stepped LDM Creator Adrian Todd Zuniga, who announced the night's finale: Literary Musical Chairs, in which volunteers from the crowd were paired with finalists, then circled the chairs while listening to songs inspired by great works of literature. After Team Klakken took a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead, Team Emanuelsen stormed back to force overtime. While Bernhoft's "Come Around" blasted all around and the audience went wild, it was Team Emanuelsen's representative who sat first when the music stopped, winning Emanuelsen the LDM Oslo, Ep. 3 medal, and literary immortality to go with it.