This year Iceland celebrates thirty years of Eurovision entries and the final of Söngvakeppnin 2016 on February 20th promises to be the biggest ever contest and a massive television event in Iceland.
Iceland first took part in Eurovision in 1986 in Bergen with the song Gleðibankinn, performed by the trio ICY. Expectations were high in Iceland but the song disappointingly finished 16th of 20 participating countries. Nevertheless the contest became hugely popular in Iceland and has remained so ever since. Iceland’s performers Selma and Yohanna have both secured second place in the Eurovision grand final, but the national track record in recent years has also been very impressive. Iceland qualified for the Eurovision finals for a remarkable seven consecutive years (2008-2014), before finally missing out on qualification from the semi-finals last year in Austria.
Tonight, the national broadcaster RUV announced the twelve songs chosen to compete in Söngvakeppnin 2016. The national final will take place on February 20th where six of the twelve entrants will compete. These six finalists will be chosen by the public through televoting in two separate televised contests on February 6th and 13th. Both public televoting and a jury (50/50) will choose two songs to go forward to a head-to-head in a final sing-off. The winning song will then be chosen by the public.

National broadcaster RUV promises a fabulous show to celebrate thirty consecutive years of Icelandic Eurovision participation, with both overseas and Icelandic Eurovision stars set to grace the stage.

1. Kreisí (Crazy)
Song: Karl Olgeirsson
Lyrics: Karl Olgeirsson and Sigríður Eyrún Friðriksdóttir
Artist: Sigga Eyrún

2. Óvær (Uneasy)
Song and lyrics: Karl Olgeirsson
Artist: Helgi Valur Ásgeirsson

3. Ótöluð orð (Unspoken words)
Song and lyrics: Erna Mist and Magnús Thorlacius
Artists: Erna Mist and Magnús Thorlacius.

4. Hugur minn er (My mind is)
Song and lyrics: Þórunn Erna Clausen
Artists: Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir and Hjörtur Traustason

5. Spring yfir heiminn (All over the world)
Song: Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson
Lyrics: Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson and Guðmundur Snorri Sigurðarson
Artists: Þórdís Birna Borgarsdóttir and Guðmundur Snorri Sigurðarson

6. Augnablik (One Moment)
Song: Alma Guðmundsdóttir and James Wong
Lyrics: Alma Guðmundsdóttir, James Wong and Alda Dís Arnardóttir
Artist: Alda Dís Arnardóttir

7. Óstöðvandi (Unstoppable)
Song: Kristinn Sigurpáll Sturluson, Ylfa Persson and Linda Persson.
Lyrics: Alma Rut Kristjánsdóttir, Ylfa Persson and Linda Persson.
Artist: Karlotta Sigurðardóttir

8. Fátækur námsmaður (A broke student)
Song and lyrics: Ingólfur Þórarinsson
Artist: Ingólfur Þórarinsson

9. Á ný (Again)
Song and lyrics: Greta Salome Stefánsdóttir
Flytjandi: Elísabet Ormslev

10. Raddirnar (The Voices)
Song and lyrics: Greta Salome Stefánsdóttir
Artist: Greta Salome Stefánsdóttir

11. Ég sé þig (I see you)
Song and lyrics: Sigríður Eir Zophoniasardóttir and Jóhanna Vala Höskuldsdóttir
Artists: Sigríður Eir Zophoniasardóttir and Jóhanna Vala Höskuldsdóttir

12. Ég leiði þig heim (I lead you home)
Song and lyricsi: Þórir Úlfarsson
Artist: Pálmi Gunnarsson.

RUV has furthermore published a magnificent and comprehensive four DVD box set to celebrate the thirty years of Söngvakeppnin and Eurovision participation in Iceland with all the Icelandic winning songs and many big favourites from the Icelandic Songvakeppnin preselection contest.

escXtra has talked to some of the singers and songwriters. We will be back with an article in a bit, where you can read what they had to say, and find out more about Söngvakeppnin 2016.

I'm Norwegian, presently living in Iceland. My mom loves Eurovision, and always let me stay up to watch the contest since before I can remember, so I'm "second generation Eurovision lunatic". My musical god is David Bowie, so I'm obviously not into the stereotypical Eurovision songs. I prefer the rocky/bluesy/jazzy/ethnic songs over schlager and mainstream ballads, though I occasionally surprise myself (and others)... I HATE canned drums and "Cvet Z juga". Photo © Tobias König

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