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"Ambitions" is a song by Norwegian band Donkeyboy, taken from their debut album Caught in a Life. It was released as their debut single in 2009 and was a number-one hit in the Norwegian Singles Chart.

Single by Donkeyboy
from the album Caught in a Life
Released26 March 2009 (Norway)
FormatDigital download
GenreAlternative rock, indie pop
LabelWarner Music Norway
Songwriter(s)Cato Sundberg/Kent Sundberg/Simen M Eriksrud/Simone Larsen
Donkeyboy singles chronology
Music video
"Ambitions" on YouTube

The chorus of the song is built around a bassline similar to those of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and some of Madonna's 1980s songs, and features guest vocals by Linnea Dale. It stayed at top of the Norwegian Singles Chart for a total of 13 weeks in 2009 (weeks 27 to 38 and week 43). In February 2010, the single also topped the Swedish Singles Chart. By March 2010, it was announced that Ambitions had been on the Norwegian Singles Chart for 52 continuous weeks. Donkeyboy were due to release it in the UK on 19 April 2010, but postponed the release.

In 2010, it was recorded by sixth season The X Factor winner Joe McElderry and released in the UK on 10 October 2010 as the lead single to his debut album, Wide Awake.


Music videoEdit

The music video[1] directed by Kristoffer Borgli talks about a fictional disease "Abicere Leprous" which is caused by people giving up on their ambitions in life. Symptoms start with a vesicular skin rash, and it then spreads and destroys the entire body. The disease is almost always fatal within three years of catching it. The video interviews people infected with the disease and asks them how they were infected and what they are doing with their lives.

An alternative music video[2] released by Donkeyboy shows various candidates in a talent competition in dancing and their tribulations and ambitions and hopes and how they are dashed. At the end of the video, Donkeyboy members invite in one of the main characters, Tobias Mead, sixth runner-up on Britain's Got Talent 2010, who just lost into their car, making his "ambitions" come true that way.


"Ambitions" was released on 26 March 2009 and was put into heavy rotation by NRK P3.[3] "Ambitions" debuted on the Norwegian singles chart at #7 on 6 April 2009,[4] and reached the #1 spot on 29 June, after 13 weeks on the charts. "Ambitions" remained at the #1 spot for twelve consecutive weeks, before being replaced by the band's second single "Sometimes" on 22 September. This was the first time ever for a Norwegian artist to occupy the top two spots on the singles chart.[5] Guitarist Peter Michelsen described the situation as "completely absurd".[5]


Chart (2009/2010) Peak
Norwegian Singles Chart[6] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[6] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Norway (IFPI Norway)[7] 7× Platinum 70,000*
Sweden (GLF)[8] Platinum 20,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone

Joe McElderry versionEdit

Single by Joe McElderry
from the album Wide Awake
B-side"If You Love Me"
Released8 October 2010 (Ireland)
10 October 2010 (Digital download)
11 October 2010 (CD single)
FormatCD single, digital download
RecordedJuly - August 2010
LabelSyco Music
Songwriter(s)Cato Sundberg/Kent Sundberg/Simen M Eriksrud/Simone Larsen
Producer(s)Ray Hedges, Nigel Butler
Joe McElderry singles chronology
"The Climb"
"Someone Wake Me Up"
Music video
"Ambitions" on YouTube

The song was covered by Joe McElderry, the 2009 winner in the sixth series of the UK version of The X Factor, it was his second single, the lead single and opening track from his debut album, Wide Awake (2010). It was released on digital download on 10 October 2010,[9] with the CD single release the following day. The B-Side, "If You Love Me" is an original track which doesn't appear on the album.


The record label considered changing the title of McElderry's version to "Somebody".[10] It received its first play on BBC Radio 1 on 19 September 2010 and was uploaded on McElderry's official YouTube channel moments later.[11] This video was made private once the official video was posted on the channel


The song had three television appearances. He performed the single on the Sunday 10 October show of The X Factor 2010 [12] and on Paul O'Grady Live on 15 October 2010 as well as on The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Music videoEdit

McElderry with backup dancers in his music video for "Ambitions"

The video was directed by Nigel Dick.[13] The filming started on 9 September 2010[14] and wrapped the next day.[15] The secret location of the video was later revealed to be in Bulgaria after McElderry went missing there.[16] The music video leaked on 18 September 2010 but officially premiered on MSN on 23 September 2010. The video is described as an all-singing, all-dancing affair, McElderry told Daily Mirror "They wanted me to just do a few hand gestures, but I wanted a full-on dance routine. I made them get me a choreographer and everything."[17]

The video opens with Joe getting out of a taxi and he wanders through the streets, which soon is revealed to be a video set he walks past various people including extras, dancers and a director. They soon all start dancing at the first chorus. At the second verse, he's at a fictional Rome set with an orchestra behind him. A boy walks by and drops his papers on the floor, Joe walks up to him and helps him pick them up, the boy throws the papers in the air and backup dancers appear and everyone starts dancing. After this, Joe walks into a room singing the lines "I can't tolerate". He looks in a mirror. Dancers appear behind him again as he sings the final chorus, though this time, the video cuts to the three different scenes throughout the final chorus. The dancers in the room walk away as Joe looks at the camera for the final time and turns around and walks away as the screen fades out. Joe confirmed that there will be an online music video. Fans will take part in a competition doing the dance routine from the official music video and posting it on YouTube, the best videos will be put in the music video.[18]

Track listingEdit

UK single
1."Ambitions"Kent Sundberg, Cato Sundberg, Simen Eriksrud, Simone Larsen2:57
2."If You Love Me"Tony Nilsson, Alexander Kronlund, Fernando Fuentes3:24


Digital Spy gave the song 4 stars, stating "Provocative, ostentatious, restless, fearless, shameless... are just a handful of adjectives we'd happily slap on the back of Lady GaGa's meat dress. Current X Factor champ Joe McElderry, on t'other hand, is just a lovely young man with a lovely face and a lovely voice. However, as his first non-Winner's Song single shows, sometimes that's enough. 'Ambitions' is actually a cover of a Scando chart-topper from little-known Norwegian band Donkeyboy, but Awur Joe, you'll be glad to know, Really Makes It... In fact, he impresses with a falsetto that has all of Mika's finesse but none of the flounce, the chorus hits the spot on first listen and the whole thing's got more bounce than a puppy with rubber booties on. A few more tunes like this, and the Geordie lad's going to make a lot of pop fans go a little bit... GaGa."[19]

4music also praised the song saying "this is all very surprising! I fully expected Joe McElderry's new single to sound like something from the Glee soundtrack. Not that that would have been a bad thing (after all, who doesn't love a bit of Rachel Berry and co.), but the real thing is much more satisfying than that would have been. While the falsetto vocals on Ambitions immediately bring to mind Mika, there's a lot more to Ambitions than initially meets the eye. With its rich, layered vocals and uplifting chorus, Joe could potentially have a massive hit record on his hands. Well, we wouldn't want another 'Leon Jackson' situation, would we now?".[20]



  1. ^ Music video of "Ambitions" by Donkeyboy
  2. ^ Alternative "Ambitions" music video by Donkeyboy
  3. ^ Myrvold, Kine (2009-03-26). "DonkeyBoy A-listet på P3" (in Norwegian). Drammens Tidende. Archived from the original on 23 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  4. ^ "DonkeyBoy debuterer på VG-lista" (in Norwegian). Drammens Tidende. 2009-04-09. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2009-05-27.
  5. ^ a b Røyseland, Halstein (2009-09-23). "Donkeyboy skapte norsk pophistorie" (in Norwegian). Verdens Gang. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  6. ^ a b "Ambitions, in various European singles charts". Archived from the original on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  7. ^ "Trofeer". IFPI Norsk platebransje (in Norwegian). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry – Norway. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  8. ^ "Swedish single certifications – Donkeyboy – Ambitions" (in Swedish). Swedish Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on October 13, 2015. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
  9. ^ "Joe McElderry's got high Ambitions". The Sun. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  10. ^ Joe McElderry "announces" single title Digital Spy. Retrieved on 20 September 2010.
  11. ^ Ambitions by Joe McElderry YouTube. Retrieved on 19 September 2010.
  12. ^ Cheryl Cole 'planning X Factor performance for new single' after Joe McElderry Metro. Retrieved on 20 September 2010.
  13. ^ Joe McElderry’s Ambitions by Nigel Dick Retrieved on 26 September 2010.
  14. ^ Joe jets off to secret video location Shields Gazette. Retrieved on 20 September 2010.
  15. ^ Joe McElderry tweet Twitter. Retrieved on 20 September 2010
  16. ^ Joe no, I'm lost The Sun. Retrieved on 20 September 2010.
  17. ^ Joe McElderry's new single video is all-singing, all-dancing affair Daily Mirror. Retrieved on 22 September 2010.
  18. ^ Ambitions Dance-Off Retrieved on 11 October 2010.
  19. ^ Singles Review: Joe McElderry - "Ambitions" Digital Spy. Retrieved on 20 October 2010.
  20. ^ Joe McElderry - Ambitions 4music. Retrieved on 20 October 2010.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Chart Track: Week 41, 2010". Irish Singles Chart.
  23. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201044 into search.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "End Of Year Charts: 2010" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-10.