Along with Norway and Finland, our Nordic neighbors out west will also choose their representative for Düsseldorf on February 12. We haven’t paid much attention to their semi-final season, but the lucky seven selected for the big final will of course undergo serious scrutiny:
• Haraldur Reynisson – Ef ég hefði vængi
• Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir – Ástin mín eina
• Yohanna – Nótt
• Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir – Eldgos
• Jógvan Hansen – Ég lofa
• Magni Ásgeirsson – Ég trúi á betra líf
• Sigurjón’s friends – Aftur heim
We have a special weak spot for those Icelanders, after all they’re just a bunch of vikings who got bored of staying in Norway some thousand years ago and who could really blame them for that? It may be a leap of faith to compare the vikings with those who tries to conquer Europe on the Eurovision stage nowadays, but we expect nothing less than top notch entries erupting from the Saga Island (our sincere apologies for this season’s poorest pun so far).
In that regard we are somewhat disappointed that this year’s national final appears to be a yawnathon of gigantic dimensions, with only a couple of noteworthy exceptions. If our Icelandic friends want to see the GEE squad enthusiastically waving the Icelandic flag in Espirit Arena they have to give us something we at least could work with and warm up to. And as for now we are desperately seeking some straws to grab on to.
Cause there is this thing about ballads in ESC, usually they need to really stand out in order to grab our attention. There has to be full-blown goose bumps, shivers down our spines and on the verge of tearing up, having an emotional meltdown towards the build-up of the last chorus when the grand key change kicks in. And just by flipping through the songs on YouTube we are certainly not getting anywhere close feeling exactly that.
Erna Hrönn, Yohanna and Magni tries their best, but it just all feels a wee bit too neat, inoffensive and indifferent. Which is sad cause we have shamelessly stared at Erna Hrönn when she has been competing for Iceland in ESC before as a backing singer for various other artists. She has a baffling stage presence and her beautiful smile formerly bursts out of the TV screen even when she’s barely visible in the background. We would love for her to finally get her chance to shine in the spotlight, but unfortunately we think her song is just too dull and forgettable. And Yohanna, wow, talk about x-factor, we absolutely adore her. This year’s ballad is not by far as strong as her ESC runner-up from two years ago, but if there is someone who has the ability to lift an average, going nowhere and certainly not likely to qualify from the semi-final tune, it must be her.
Haraldur Reynisson and Sigurjón’s friends compete in the harmless, non-edgy, trying to be charming sing-along ditties. We can’t really see any of them going somewhere and at least not to Düsseldorf, even though we do expect Sigurjón’s friends to get buckets of sympathy votes since this is the song that Sjonni Brink has written and was to perform himself. His tragic and unexpected death put a stop to that.
The mid tempo, anthemic, shout your feelings out in the air song from Jógvan Hansen might be a grower. First it did nothing for us, but after hearing it a couple of times more, we realize its potential. It has quite a contemporary sound, and thrown in a dance routine by the backing singers and fireworks on stage it might work out.
And last but not least there’s Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir with Eldgos. Oh! My! God! Someone please pick our gobs up from the floor! This is so insane and over the top that we don’t know where to begin. Mix one “omg, the world is so cruel, I just wanna kill myself” emo kid (or kid, isn’t this bloke too old for this stuff anyways?) with a valkyrie belting out whatever as if the world’s gonna end today, and this is what you get, apparently. The Icelanders will have some nerves choosing this entry for Düsseldorf we’d say. But we’re pretty sure some Eastern European country will love it, so why not..
We have no idea which direction the wind will blow, but we’re all gonna find out on Scandinavian Super Saturday! (To be correct it should be Nordic but then our cheeky alliteration goes down the drain.)