What Have We Won?: Jóhanna Guðrún’s Second Place Triumph - The Reykjavik Grapevine

What Have We Won?: Jóhanna Guðrún’s Second Place Triumph

What Have We Won?: Jóhanna Guðrún’s Second Place Triumph

Published March 16, 2018

In a previous Grapevine article, British journalist and unabashed Eurovision-obsessé Joanna Smith described Eurovision as, “The time of year when half the population of Europe goes crazy—flag-waving, song-singing, chaos-inducing crazy—and the other half wants everyone to know that they don’t even care about Eurovision… whilst they watch the entire thing and live-tweet it ‘ironically.’” These fated lines are perhaps the most comprehensive description ever written about the most important competition in the world: Eurovision. Euro-motherfucking-vision.

Beauty reigns

Iceland is no exception to the craze. They love the thing, but they still have yet to win it.

In 2009 though, the valiant efforts of chanteuse Jóhanna Guðrún garnered second place with her emotional pop ballad, “Is It True?”. Donning a sky blue tiered gown, Jóhanna sang her heart out. It was an affecting performance. Jóhanna’s voice is perfectly tuned, strongly resonant, clean and controlled and “Is It True?” showcased it to its highest potential.  

A moment to remember

With her win, Jóhanna immediately took up reign as an Icelandic national hero. The 2009 Eurovision contest, and particularly that fatal key change in the middle of the song, became one of those pivotal I-remember-exactly-where-I-was situations.

That said, if you’re one of those weird North Americans completely unfamiliar with Eurovision, it’s a song contest where every country in Europe (and now bizarrely Australia) competes to dominate with their best inspirational banger or ballad. At Eurovision, cheesiness takes precedent and tears fall freely. There’s also lots of confetti.

For more of Iceland’s great victories, click here.

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