A new rule has been established in Iceland that from now on, any song hoping to compete in the Eurovision song contest must use Icelandic lyrics only.
Páll Magnússon, director of the state broadcasting service RÚV, sent a formal letter to the Icelandic Society of Composers and Lyricists announcing the decision. The letter states that because the initial judging rounds are for an Icelandic audience, it is only right that the songs must be in Icelandic.
Until 1998, Eurovision guidelines themselves specified that contestants had to perform songs in their native languages, but this was later changed. Today, most Eurovision songs are performed in English, in order to appeal to wider audiences.
With the change in 1998, Iceland would still often have songs competing with each other in Icelandic, but winners who went on to Eurovision were often translated into English. Over time, the trend became that songs were simply composed in English.
The new rule does not effect in what language Icelandic performers at Eurovision itself may sing their entry songs; only what language they may sing in while still competing in Iceland.
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