So, RÚV just announced the 12 semifinalists who will compete in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2016. They were chosen by a special jury, from 260 submitted entries. escXtra has spoken to a few of the singers and songwriters to find out more about the songs.
As expected, there are a few familiar names, but in a good mix with new faces.
Greta Salóme, who wrote and performed the Icelandic entry, Never Forget, in 2012, has two songs in the line-up, one in each semifinal. One of her songs is called „Raddirnar“ (The Voices), and will be performed by Greta herself. This is kind of indie-folk-pop, while her other entry, „Á ný“ (is more of a Bond ballad. This one will be performed by Elísabet Ormslev, who is actually the daughter of Helga Möller; one third of ICY, who performed the first ever Icelandic entry, Gleðibankinn, in Bergen in 1986. Palmi Gunnarsson, who was one of the other singers in ICY will perform Þórir Úlfarsson’s song “Ég leiði þig heim” (I Lead You Home).
Greta is very excited to have two songs in the semifinals again, just like she did in 2012. She describes the song she will sing herself as „kinda indie/folk/pop“, and Elísabet‘s song as „more of a Bond ballad“. You can listen to Elísabet‘s version of Adele‘s „Hello“ at the bottom of the article. Elísabet, who just competed in The Voice Iceland, says she‘s very excited about this next step in her career.
One of the other semifinalists, Hjörtur, also took part in The Voice, and he won! In Söngvakeppnin he will perform Þórunn Erna Clausen‘s ballad „Hugur minn er“, with Söngvakeppnin veteran Erna Hrönn. Þórunn is a familiar name, having written the lyrics to „Coming Home“ (Sjonni‘s Friends, 2011), and several Söngvakeppnin entries. This time, though, she has also composed the music, which, she says, is something she has wanted to do for a long time.
Karl Olgeirsson is the second songwriter who managed to get two songs through to the semifinal stage. This is the third consecutive year in which Karl har gotten songs through to this stage; in 2014 he wrote „Lífið kviknar á ný“ for Sigga Eyrún, and last year he compose Haukur Heiðar‘s „Milljón augnablik“. Both these songs made it to the final in their respective years.
This year he‘s written „Kreisí“ for Sigga Eyrún, and „Óvær“ for Helgi Valur Ásgeirsson. Karl describes „Kreisí“ as electro pop, which is a new genre for him, in Söngvakeppnin, and „Óvær“ as a „Beatles/Bond/soul song“.
As in previous years the songs all have to be performed in Icelandic in the semifinals. In the final the songs have to be performed in the language they will be performed in in Stockholm, should they win. A change from pervious years , though, is that the songs can be released in English as soon as they have been premiered on the radio. Remixes and acoustic versions can also be released at this time.
So, three songs will qualify to the grand final from each semifinal. However, Hera Ólafsdottir, executive producer of Söngvakeppnin, tells escXtra that there is still a possibility of a seventh finalist, a wildcard, if RÚV feels that there’s a need for one.
The final song mixes are to be submitted to RÚV by January 11th, so it‘s likely that the songs will be presented soon after that date.
Iceland is celebrating it‘s 30th Eurovision anniversary this year, and to celebrate they are hosting the final in Laugardalshöll, one of the largest concert arenas in Iceland, with a capacity of up to 11 000 people. The smifinals will, as they have in the past two years, take place in Háskólabíó.
The official ticket sales starts on January 6th, but starting tonight, and lasting only 24 hours, is a the sales of a special ticket package; the ALLA LEIÐ package. This package includes tickets to all three shows *and* the recently released 4 disc DVD box „Söngvakeppnin 30 years“, at just 9900ISK. What more perfect Christmas present could a Eurovision fan wish for?!?