Xtra Preview & Review: Iceland – Söngvakeppnin

The national final season is in full swing. On Saturday, February 17th, the second semi-final of Söngvakeppnin 2018 is going to take place. We’ve taken a look at the entries and the procedure below, so here is the XTRA Preview & Review!

XTRA Preview: Söngvakeppnin 2018

As so many times before, Söngvakeppnin is the selection method chosen by RÚV to find Iceland’ Eurovision Song Contest entry. The first time Söngvakeppnin, then called Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, was used to select the Icelandic Eurovision entry, was all the way back in 1986, in the country’s debut year. The format and rules have varied a bit over the years; semis or just one big final, language rule or not, number of entries, but on the whole, RÚV is very happy with Söngvakeppnin as their selection process.
2018 will be Iceland’s 31st participation, and the entire nation is hoping for their first victory. With Portugal finally getting their win last year, Iceland is now number two, alongside Malta, on the list of countries with most participations without winning; they both have 30. Cyprus is in first place with 34. Iceland’s best result at Eurovision is 2nd place, a result they have achieved twice; with “All Out of Luck” in 1999 and with “Is It True” in 2009.
Söngvakeppnin 2018 consists of two semifinals, thesecond of which will take place this Saturday, 17 February. The first took place this past weekend, and it was “Heim”, “Aldrei gefast upp” and “Kúst og fæjó” that qualified directly to the final. The final takes place on 3 March. A special jury might pick a wildcard from the six non-qualifiers, so there is tha possibility of a seven act final.

XTRA Review: Söngvakeppnin semi 2

Þórir & Gyða – Brosa

Hlynur: “Brosa” is a sweet song and has this feel good/relaxed vibe. However it does not really stand out, and half way through the song my mind has gone somewhere else. Can imagine it being played in the background at cozy dinner party.
Score: 5.5/10
Wivian: I like this kind of happy, summery song, and their voices work really well together. There is still something missing, though, to make it really hit home for me. It sounds the same from start to finish, which is kinda disappointing. I guess it’s just promising a bit more than it can deliver. It still makes me smile, though!
Score: 5/10
Luke: This starts off and I think “Oh God, I’m going to absolutely adore this” and then it just doesn’t go anywhere. My favourite last year was Heim til þín, which was similar to this but DID go somewhere. So this is a bit of a let down, but still a decent try!
Score: 6/10
Miki: As someone that loves these indie sounding folksy songs, I cannot be objective when reviewing this one.”Brosa” is light, cute and pleasant. I would listen to it outside of the Eurovision music bubble and it is among my favorites entries in this years Söngvakeppnin.
Score: 8/10

Aron Hannes – Golddigger

Hlynur: I think I liked his last entry, “Tonight”, better. However this one is more fresh and sounds new. But it’s difficult not to notice similarity with “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars. It stands out and might even win the show.
Score: 6.5/10
Wivian: His entry last year was among my favorites, so I was very happy when I heard he would be back for another try. And Aron Hannes is still really good, and fun and super charming, but to me, this song seems to ba lacking…something. I find I’ve heard this a fantazillion times before, so to me it’s just a bit too predictable… It does stand out, though, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up going to Lisbon. It’s just not really my kind of song. I’ll very happily dance to it in Euroclub, though!
Score: 4.5/10
Luke: Oh hello, this is fun! This really stands out from the other songs and that’ll do well for it. It does get a little repetitive and predictable, but I wouldn’t be against seeing this win.
Score: 7/10
Miki: “Golddigger” is certainly different compared to the other entries in Söngvakeppnin this year. Despite me not liking it, I feel that the fact that it stands out will be the thing that will make or break it. In other words, I wouldn’t be thrilled if this won (cause it really isn’t something I would listen to) but I can see why people would vote for it.
Score: 5.5/10

Áttan – Hér með þér

Hlynur: I can’t say that I liked this song in the beginning. However since it’s quite popular on the radio here in Iceland I have gotten used to it.
Score: 6 /10
Wivian: When I heard Áttan would be in Söngvakeppnin I automatically assumed they would win, just like I did when I found out Svala was in last year. But that was before I heard the song. This is very different from what they normally do, and. Instead it is very “Áttan doing Eurovision”, and I don’t like it much when artists try to “do Eurovision”. I would have liked it a lot more if they’d just done what they normally do!
Score: 2/10
Luke: This is…..no, just no. It feels like it’s trying too hard to be some sort of cool house music and the result isn’t good. I’m almost cringing.
Score: 1.5/10
Miki: “Hér með þér” is kinda light, inoffensive and it has a nice little flow going. I personally really like this, It’s kinda cheeky yet it remains credible and doesn’t go overboard with the cutesy thing.
Score: 7/10

Dagur Sigurðsson – Í stormi

Hlynur: Strong power ballad, with great kick at the end. Maybe a bit too dramatic. But I believe if he delivers it well he will be one of three acts that will advance from his semi. Score: 7/10
Wivian: I really like the rock feel of Dagur’s voice, and the song has a certain similarity to Magni’s “Hugarró” from 2012, with the piano intro, the build and the sort of raspy rock voice. However, where “Hugarró” is pure perfection from beginning to end, this is missing something, especially in the build up to the chorus. It is still my favorite in this semi, though, and I really hope it will qualify for the final! I love me a good rock ballad! Score: 8/10
Luke: This feels veeeeeery dramatic, but the emotion just isn’t coming through very strongly. The ending is fantastic but the rest of the song just isn’t good enough. It’s a shame, with just a bit more of a push I think this could’ve been amazing…
Score: 5/10
Miki: I love Dagur’s voice, I love parts of the instrumentation….Basically, I love everything but the actual production of this song. It’s a throwback and yet it doesn’t make me feel nostalgic. This song needs a one way ticket to the early to mid 90’s.
Score: 4/10

Stefanía, Agnes & Regína – Svaka stuð

Hlynur: Not sure what to think about it but I do prefer it in English. So much going on in this song. So it kinda makes you confused but still pumped up.
Score: 6/10
Wivian: What possessed these wonderful singers to do this? Stefanía has one of the greatest voices in this contest, but that fact doesn’t make this song any better. I really, really want to like anything she’s involved in, but no matter how hard I try…I just can’t! Sorry! I refuse to give any song in Icelandic 0 points, so thank heaven’s we’re not reviewing the English version…
Score: 0.5/10
Luke: Oh dear God, Iceland, why have you pushed this travesty onto the world? This is literally hot trash and I wonder how these women can go up on stage, perform that song, and not be mortified with themselves. Please get it away from me.
Score: 0/10
Miki: “Svaka Stuð” feels like a time machine that tries to bring the 70’s back to Reykjavík. I wouldn’t say this is horrible or unlistenable, but I would say it’s not a very successful attempt of what it tries to be. Parts of it some amazing and then it becomes kinda repetitive and anticlimactic. Personally, I think that Iceland should not send this to Eurovision.
Score: 3/10

Rakel Pálsdóttir – Óskin mín

Hlynur: Beautiful song but not sure it belongs in this contest. Rakel will sing it well though. It sounds like a lovely lullaby, could even be advertisement for a insurance or flight company.
Score: 4/10
Wivian: I’m not sure what it is with this song, but it just leaves no impression whatsoever. The moment it’s over, it’s completely gone from my head. It’s perfectly pleasurable to listen to, but at the same time it’s like it’s not there at all. The lyrics are wonderful, and can’t fail to touch anyone who’s a parent, but even that’s not enough to save this. Neither is the fact that some of Iceland’s finest voices take part in it.
Score: 3/10
Luke: …..what? Oh, sorry, I just slept through that entire song.
Score: 0.5/10
Miki: “Óskin Mín” is the type of song I would love to listen to while sitting in front of a fireplace with a glass of wine in a cottage somewhere. Which means it truly achieves to create an ambient, but as far as its chances at Eurovision …. I’m not sure.
Score: 6/10

Who do we want?

The XTRA Jury, this time consisting of Hlynur, Wiv, Luke and Miki has spoken. Below you can see the average score each of the songs achieved. And remember; this is not a prediction; it’s their personal opinions!
Their favourite for Saturday’s show is Þórir and Gyða’s “Brosa”!

  1. “Brosa” – Þórir & Gyða: 6.125
  2. “Í stormi” – Dagur Sigurðsson – “Heim”: 6
  3. “Golddigger” – Aron Hannes: 5.875
  4. “Hér með þér” – Áttan: 4.125
  5. “Óskin mín” – Rakel Pálsdóttir: 3.375
  6. “Svaka stuð” – Stefanía, Agnes & Regína: 2.375

Which of these six do you like best? Make sure to let us know who you like by commenting!

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