As you may have noticed, the Eurovision Song Contest is kind of a phenomenon in Iceland. Alongside supporting the occasionally semi-successful Icelandic handball and football teams, each year—without fail—Eurovision evokes a heightened nationalistic fervour. Over 98% of Iceland’s TV audience watched the competition’s finals in the last two years—and that’s even when Iceland didn’t actually make it through.
With this much attention on the competition, the right to represent Iceland is something of a hot topic. This year, ten bands have made it through the initial heats, all with their eyes set on representing their country in Tel Aviv.
As well as the usual selection of pop singers, a couple of artists stood out from the pack when RÚV previewed the contestants of the Söngvakeppnin selection show last weekend.
One is Skaði, a trans singer who has been rising through the ranks of the 101 scene, whose entry is a collaboration with oddball rapper Elli Grill and Glymur. Also in the running is Tara Mobee, a young pop singer who graced the cover of our Airwaves 2018 magazine.
Hate will prevail
Another eye-catching presence is Hatari. An ambitious art-project-cum-gothic-techno troupe who won the Best Live Band at the Grapevine Music Awards in 2017 and 2018, Hatari’s track is entitled “Hatrið mun sigra,” or “Hate Will Prevail.”
The title could prove controversial given the context of the finals. When it was announced that the 2019 contest would be held in Tel Aviv, over 17,000 Icelanders signed a petition calling for the world to boycott the event. RÚV considered the petition, but pressed ahead regardless.
Wannabes and wildcards
So, what happens next? After a long buildup, with much media attention lavished on all of the Eurovision wannabes, the semi-finals will be held on the 9th and 16th of February. A public vote is overseen by a panel of experts, and two songs—plus a possible “wildcard”—will make it through to the final decider on the 2nd of March.
If you want to do your research, the final ten are:
- Hatari – Hatrið mun sigra
Hera Björk Þórhallsdóttir – Eitt andartak / Moving on
Kristina Skoubo Bærendsen – Ég á mig sjálf / Mama Said
Þórdís Imsland – Nú og hér / What Are You Waiting For?
Daníel Óliver – Samt ekki / Licky Licky
Elli Grill, Skaði og Glymur – Jeijó, keyrum alla leið
Friðrik Ómar – Hvað ef ég get ekki elskað? / What If I Can’t Have Love?
Ívar Daníels – Þú bætir mig / Make Me Whole
Tara Mobee – Betri án þín / Fighting For Love
Heiðrún Anna Björnsdóttir – Helgi / Sunday Boy
We’ll report back on the results over the coming month—and let you know if Hatari do indeed prevail.