Published May 23, 2012
From the beginning of Icelandic Eurovision times (1986), Icelanders have been from 75% to 100% sure that the nation will win the song contest. This happens every year, so we have been disappointed on a yearly basis.
It goes like this: First the quality of the Icelandic song is trumpeted to high heavens. It is without a doubt the best song of the contest. The Icelandic media tells tales of some foreign betting offices placing our song at the very top. We also get news of legions of foreign Eurovision freaks claiming our song is their favourite. When the harsh reality dawns on us after the contest we find a way to explain away our loss. For instance: It’s all cliquishness—the Eastern countries only vote for each other! Or: Our song was too good/modern for those stupid European countries that are years behind us in pop quality evolution!
This cycle of hope/disappointment was especially strong the first time we competed in the contest with Magnús Eiríksson’s “Bank of Fun,” performed by the shiny Icy Trio. Before the contest, the nation thought it had basically already won the contest and that it would only be a formality to go and collect the prize. When we came in at 16 (out of 20 nations), we were furious. The winner that year was Sandra Kim, a 14-year-old singer from Belgium. Her young age was obviously the only reason she won. We would have to top that novelty: “We should send two pregnant women next time to get the attention we need,” one guy from the Icelandic Eurovision Committee remarked.
In 1986 we were also very angry at the other Scandinavian countries. There we were, doing this stupid song contest for the first time, and they only gave us three points in total! And we gave them lots of points! Silly Sweden even got 12 points from us!
Our biggest fear isn’t losing though; it is winning. The nation’s economy would collapse if we had to host the show. Where would we stage it? At Harpa? At the giant airplane hangar in Keilir?
It is this mix of hope, fear and disappointment that makes Eurovision so thrilling for us. The streets are totally empty during the contest. In 1999 we almost won when Selma sang “All Out of Luck.” She was beat at the last minute by some Swedish hag; I was so worked up that I almost knocked myself out by banging my head against the wall.
This year we send Greta Salóme, an elegant newcomer, accompanied by Jónsi (not of Sigur Rós), who competed in 2004. She sings “Never Forget,” which she wrote and composed. The chances of winning are sky high and God might even have a hand in it, if we win. As Greta said in an interview, she thanks God for winning the Icelandic pre-contest. So with God on our side, I’d say it’s 100% sure that Iceland wins this time! We better prepare Harpa or the hangar for 2013.
Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if silly Sweden wins with that super catchy “Euphoria” song.