So, who exactly is Iceland’s main competition in Malmö? Well, let’s start with these five.
It’s always a tad unfortunate when the country that colonised you ranks among your strongest competitors. The sad truth is, however, that Denmark is almost universally tipped to carry off the Eurovision crown this year with “Only Teardrops,” performed by 20-year-old Emmelie de Forest. Yes, it’s catchy; yes, de Forest benefits from a certain ‘urchin-like’ quality but what Iceland’s entry may lack in oomph, the Danes more than make up for with (ahem) pan pipes.
‘Where?’ we hear you cry. For the more geographically inept Icelander, San Marino is a tiny republic on the Italian peninsula. They were represented last year by Valentina Monetta with a song about Facebook. No, really. Now, as social network-obsessed as the average Icelander might be, that was a step too far. So far that it bombed. However, the plucky Sammarinese (yes, that’s a word) singer is back this year with “Crisalide (Vola)” and it’s really very lovely. And exceedingly camp. Huzzah!
Last year, Engelbert Humperdinck suffered a double ignominy. First, the veteran crooner ended up second from last on the scoreboard. Then, having relied upon the novelty factor of being the oldest contestant in Eurovision history, he was usurped by a posse of Russian grannies with a revolving oven. This year, the UK has recruited Bonnie Tyler, of “Holding Out For A Hero” fame, to perform “Believe In Me” in the grand final. In truth, it’s a very nice song indeed. The UK is going for “youth” this year—Tyler is a sprightly 61-year-old.
When Sweden’s Loreen romped to victory last year with “Euphoooooria,” we anticipated a slew of copycat hi-energy dance tracks in 2013. Not so if Iceland is anything to go by. However, Germany have chosen dance act Cascada as their representatives. The song is called—wait for it—“Glooooorious.” Well, okay, we exaggerate with the ‘o’s but you get our drift. In fact, Germany’s entry was investigated for plagiarism for sounding too similar to last year’s winner but was eventually exonerated. We reckon this is catchy enough to be a real contender.
Iceland’s Nordic brethren are really pulling out all the stops this year. In Norway’s case, they’ve pulled out the big guns with electro-pop starlet Margaret Berger and her rather funky number “I Feed You My Love.” Lyrically, the whole thing verges on being scary (‘Now, I can see the whole world is mine … You put a knife against my back / And you dare me to face the attack’) but musically, it’s the closest you’re likely to get to chart-friendly in this year’s contest.
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