Spotlight on…Iceland

It’s nearly February, so naturally we’re about to experience our first mad weekend of national finals. Among the 1, 784, 322 events taking place on Saturday is the final of Söngvakeppnin 2013 – a.k.a. the decision show for Iceland – and whilst that isn’t the most exciting thing on the agenda (I have to hand that gong to the first semi of Melodifestivalen) I felt it was only appropriate to remind y’all of Iceland’s Eurovision history, before they add another stat to it. With a massive amount of luck, the song they choose this year will be absolutely amazing and pave the way for Reykjavik 2014. I for one am desperate to see the contest there in my lifetime.

Anyway, it’s time to switch the spotlight on *metaphorical switchy noise*





1986 – 16th with Gleðibankinn by Icy





Silver medals

2 – 1999, 2009

Bronze medals


Best result

2nd – 1999, 2009

Top 10 finishes


Top 10 success rate


Top 5 finishes


Top 5 success rate


Wooden spoons (last places!)

1 – 1989

Semi final qualifications


Qualification success rate





My favourite entry

Is It True by Yohanna (2009). This was perfection, so long as we’re talking about everything but Yohanna’s dress (which looked like haphazardly stitched-together dishrags garnished with raggedy pom-poms). The song is one of my favourite ESC ballads ever, her voice was/is incredible, and the fantastical backdrop used the frigging massive LED screens of the stage to full, atmospheric advantage. That note (you know, THAT note) gives me chills every time.

My least favourite entry

Tell Me! by August & Telma (2000). Okay, A & T, I’ll tell you – your song is rubbish. Iceland has had some amazing entries over the years, but it’s like they lifted this one straight out of the Book of Eurovision Unoriginality. It’s just…nothing. At least Israel’s entry was so bad it was entertaining. PS – the English lyrics are dreadful.

More of the memorable

Það Sem Enginn Sér by Daníel (1989) – I do not understand how this not only came last, but scored a big fat zero too. I love this song! Sure, his outfit wasn’t great, but this was the 80s, and I don’t think anyone had the right to discriminate against someone else for their “fashion” choices.

Minn Hinsti Dans by Paul Oscar (1997) – another fan recently reminded me of this one. The song’s catchy, but the most striking thing about it is the staging. I bet you’d never seen a Eurovision participant sitting on a couch and suggestively stroking their own thighs before this (or if you had, I bet it wasn’t onstage…).

All Out of Luck by Selma (1999) – having a rubbish day? Listen to this and I promise you’ll be feeling better within seconds. I can’t say the same for Selma’s other entry, but it’s best we just don’t go there.

Congratulations by Silvia Night (2006) – if we’re talking Iceland and stuff that’s memorable, Miss Night has to be included. Her performance was like Britney Spears in drag and on crack.

This Is My Life by Euroband (2008) – I was surprised this didn’t do better in the final. Still, it got there, unlike a certain other TIML.

Coming Home by Sjonni’s Friends (2011) – the sad story behind Sjonni’s friends and not Sjonni himself going to Düsseldorf overshadowed how good the song really was. The Icelandic version, as always, is the best.

Their best stage show

This Is My Life. It was the choreography that made the performance pop. I especially like the “reveal” of Regina when she appears to sing her verse, and the little combination right before the money note.

Their best costume/s

Selma (2005). Okay, so we are ‘going there’ after all, but not to dissect the song, so it’s okay. I’m a woman of simple tastes – I like burnt orange, I like the MJ one-glove  look, and I like sparkly things – particularly when you can hot glue gun them to your head. So it’s no wonder I’m a fan of the playsuit and accessories worn by returnee Selma in Kyiv.

Their best vocalist/s

Yohanna, without a doubt. I think I may actually be in love with her voice, and if I could marry it, I would. And before you say anything, yes, I know that’s creepy.


As I said, I’m hanging out for an Icelandic Eurovision, and since I haven’t listened to any of the potential entries for 2013 (not even Birgitta’s – that’s taken serious restraint) I haven’t given up hope. The fact that Yohanna is now out of the race doesn’t bother me, as much as I love her, because I did listen to her song and it’s safe to say she’s gone downhill since her runner-up Is It True? and her last NF song Nótt. But I guess we’ll always remember her as one of those who nearly nabbed the victory for Iceland (had it not been for a few hundred points, Oslo 2010 wouldn’t have been). Anyway, whatever wins this weekend would have to be absolutely shocking to be the worst thing Iceland has sent, so I’m staying positive.

Please don’t tell me if I shouldn’t bother.


You know the drill – let me know what you think about Iceland in the ESC!


4 Responses to “Spotlight on…Iceland”

  1. nprovenghi271

    Iceland! I love Iceland, not only in general, but also in Eurovision. Since 2003, in my opinion, Iceland’s been robbed three times of victory (2003, 2008 and 2011, if you’re curious) with wonderful songs. The odd thing seems to be that I’m lukewarm about the Icelandic songs that EVERYONE loves, like “Never Forget,” which finished second in OGAE, but was 35th on my list. Similar story with 2009, even though Yohanna’s a fantastic singer.

    As for their selection this year, it’s our first Super Saturday! For me, if I can even watch, Söngvakkepnin will take priority for me over Norway, Malta, Hungary and Sweden (!). That’s how much I love it. What song is your favorite? Mine is “Lifið Snýst,” followed by “Ég Syng!” Last time Yohanna was a fan favorite, Iceland sent my favorite song. Hopefully it happens again! 🙂


    • Jaz

      I wouldn’t agree with you on Birgitta being robbed. Sertab is a favourite of mine, and Belgium would also have made a deserving winner. But ANYONE would have been a better champ than Russia. t.A.T.u were apparently super shocked they didn’t win. Whatever…

      Never Forget lost most of its magic when it became Never Forget. It was probably written in English first, but the Icelandic version was so mysterious and atmospheric…sigh.

      Hooray for Super Saturday!! I won’t be watching anything because I won’t get up at 3am to watch a dodgy stream of anything less than the Melfest final or Eurovision itself. Enjoy Söngvakkepnin if you do watch (as if you wouldn’t enjoy it). I haven’t heard any of the songs in the final, I want it to be a suprise. But I want Birgitta to win because she’s Birgitta, which I know is terrible. But I’ve heard her song is pretty good.


      • nprovenghi271

        I understand that, but Birgitta just blew the roof of the hall in Riga and I totally fell in love with the song.

        Ugh! I can’t stand when Iceland does that. Same with “Aftur Heim” and, probably, whatever they select this year.

        Aww. Well, it’s a pretty strong final, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with what they pick. I wouldn’t be upset with Birgitta, but there I songs I like more. Enjoy your sleep and thank you! 🙂


        • Jaz

          I respect your right to love Birgitta. Her performance was really sweet, for lack of a better word. I liked the flower reveal thingy (or whatever you would call it).

          Okay, you’ve got my hopes up! When I finally do wake up I may have to make Iceland my first port of call. Let me know how the show was.



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