From Iceland — Hera Björk Wins Söngvakeppnin 2024

Hera Björk Wins Söngvakeppnin 2024

Published March 4, 2024

Photo by
Patrik Ontkovic

Söngvakeppnin, Iceland’s pre-Eurovision song competition, left voters perplexed on Saturday, with some questioning the validity of RÚV’s election process.

Every year, Söngvakeppnin acts as the preliminary arrangement for deciding Iceland’s representative in the Eurovision Song Contest. Following two elimination rounds, five artists were selected to compete on the final night. Musicians Hera Björk, Bashar Murad, ANITA, VÆB, and Sigga Ózk ultimately battled for the chance to rep Iceland, with Hera Björk coming out on top with her song “Scared of Heights.” The singer, who previously represented Iceland in Oslo in 2010, went toe-to-toe with runner-up Bashar Murad and his song “Wild West.”

In light of the recent international events, RÚV announced earlier this year it was cutting ties between Söngvakeppnin and the official Eurovision performance, after numerous attempts of discouragement made by the Icelandic music community. It will be up to the winner — Hera Björk — to decide whether they will perform at Eurovision 2024 in Malmö in May.

Questions of possible election fraud

Iceland made international news upon the announcement that Palestinian-born artist Bashar Murad would be vying for a chance to represent Iceland at Eurovision. Following the final tally on Saturday, Bashar’s fans were surprised by the night’s results, with some claiming election fraud. Apparently, RÚV’s official election process made it seem as if votes cast for Bashar were added to Hera Björk’s tally. Others reported that calls to Bashar’s voting line were immediately dropped, while calls to Hera Björk’s line went through successfully.

After the competition, songwriter Einar Hrafn Stefánsson stepped forward to demand an independent investigation to be made into the legitimacy of the election. Söngvakeppnin director Rúnar Freyr Gíslason stated that the matter will be investigated while also claiming that, “even if every vote for the winning song would have gone towards [Bashar Murad], it wouldn‘t have made a difference on the result.”

As the dust settles, we are yet to see whether Hera Björk will, in fact, represent Iceland in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest — or whether Iceland will participate at all.

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