From Iceland — Recipe For Victory: This Is How We Finally Win Eurovision

Recipe For Victory: This Is How We Finally Win Eurovision

Published May 8, 2017

Hannah Jane Cohen
Photo by
Art Bicnick / Grapevine Archive

Iceland is the only Nordic country that has never won Eurovision. But why? It doesn’t really make sense, right? There seems to be no shortage of talented, world-famous Icelandic musicians: Sigur rós, Of Monsters and Men, that woman whose name starts with B. But it’s true—while Iceland is known for its whimsical and creative musicians, we just can’t seem to mix the perfect Eurovision cocktail. Which is, let’s face it, ridiculous—even Finland has done it.

While we have high hopes for Svala’s “Paper” this year, the Grapevine wants to be fully prepared just in case Iceland doesn’t grab the crown. Therefore, we spent weeks carefully analyzing each previous Eurovision winner, looking for the ingredient-X which made them win big. In the end, we compiled four approaches to seizing Eurovision fame and victory—dream acts guaranteed to outshine even “Euphoria.”

The “Famous Person”
Muscleboy ft Björk performing “Beach Body Biophilia”
Many countries have tried the winning approach of sending some big star as their representative in Eurovision. The UK sent Olivia Newton-John and Engelbert Humperdinck, Switzerland sent Celine Dion, and Sweden sent ABBA—so why shouldn’t Iceland take advantage of our biggest star? While Björk’s music might be too, uh, edgy for Eurovision, add buff Scooter-style Europop act Muscleboy as a collaborator, and now you’ve got an act that’ll appeal to both plebeians and audiophiles. Sample lyrics: “Crystalline amino nebula! Squats and protein powd-ah!” Costume ideas: fake tans and beaded headpieces.

The “Novelty”

If you thought Finland’s Lordi was weird, well, get ready: NYIÞ is an experimental black metal project—with emphasis on the experimental. When we reached out to them for a description of their music, the anonymous masked figures behind the “band” said they were “a nameless entity that feasts on the lifeblood of unknowing souls.” Lifeblood? We think the judges would love that! Imagine the wind machines of Eurovision blowing animal blood and ram skulls around the stage, soundtracked by tritones. This is a surefire winner!

The “Traditional Made New”
Sturla Atlas accompanied by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, playing “Heyr mína bæn”

Countries always send in shitty polka acts “made modern” with electric guitars or slutty outfits. But hey, it usually gets them to the finals, so obviously Iceland should do the same! “Heyr mína bæn” is an old-school Icelandic pop song that translates as “Hear My Prayer.” Fittingly, it’s also the Icelandic take on the Italian song that won Eurovision in 1964—already a winner!

We’d make it more exciting by letting downtown hip-hop boys Sturla Atlas cover it. If you don’t know Sturla Atlas, all you need to know is that their most hardcore song is about sipping wine. If there’s anybody that could appeal to both older folks and young kids, it’s them. You may as well give us the trophy now.

The “This Song Doesn’t Translate Well To English But We’re Gonna Throw It In Anyway”
“Bagel” performed by XXX Rottweiler 

One of the best parts of Eurovision is when a country translates a song into English that would have been best left in their native tongue. With a plethora of clever Icelandic songs whose wit would make no sense in English, why shouldn’t Iceland have their moment in the sun? Here’s our idea:

In 2003, Icelandic rap troupe XXX Rottweiler put out “Beygla,” a rap song whose hook translates to “Your mom, your mom, your mom, is a bagel.” In Icelandic, beygla means bagel, yes, but it also means a dent in a car, so the idea is that your mom, according to Erpur from XXX Rottweiler, “is like a rusty old bicycle.” Mean, right? While the song is totally edgy in Icelandic, in English it’s just: “Your mom is a bagel.”

Here’s the idea: Erpur, Bent, and Lúlli wear bakers’ aprons á la 2011 Eurovision stars Buranovskiye Babushki from Russia. Accompanied by each of their mothers, they act out the song by throwing bagels at each other. Fuck the Panama Papers—this would make international news. Get the champagne ready!

So watch out Eurovision: like the Icelandic football team, we are going to take your contest by surprise with a Viking clap and a “HÚH!” Get the trophy ready… and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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