Nothing is certain in Eurovision. Perhaps I’ve sounded a bit too assured that I know who is going to qualify from the semi-finals, but I’d like to make it clear that I’m clueless. Sure, you can refer to past form, but there are a lot of factors, many of them only coming into play in that 3 minutes of performance.
Semi final 2 looks to be an easy win for the strongest mainstream entries only because of the lack of them. What will fill the remainder of the ten qualifying slots could frankly be anything (though perhaps Latvia shouldn’t hold their breath). For me, Iceland falls right into this twilight zone. It could either be a toilet break or a standout performance. A relative island of calm between cacophonous Bulgaria and energetic Greece, it might well simply come down to the performance and staging.
Iceland, at the north-western outpost of Europe, entered Eurovision in 1986, and have only missed two contests since then due to relegation rules around the turn of the century. While it churns out fan favourites most years, it has struggled to maintain any great momentum in the rankings. That hasn’t stopped it reaching 2nd place twice, in 1999 and 2009.
The semi-final system hit Iceland hard when it first came in, and it failed to qualify for the first three finals when it was necessary. However since 2008 they’ve qualified every time.
Two national selection semi-finals and a grand final (read my review of the Söngvakeppnin final) selected Eyþór Ingi to perform in Malmö, with the first Icelandic-language entry since the rules were changed in 1999 to allow entries of any language. Eyþór appears to be a bit of an wildcard too (i.e. I couldn’t find anything on Wikipedia), so it’ll be interesting to see how the performance does.
It’s another typically Icelandic entry from a nation with a strong sense of Eurovision identity, whether it be stark modern dancepop or more traditional downtempo numbers. “Ég á líf” (or “I have a life”) is a fairly timid little ballad, very folky. That chorus is a bit repetitive though, it hasn’t quite grown on me yet even though it’s memorable. But then I said that about “Coming home” and ended up loving it!
It’s sweet, and makes me want to visit Iceland again, it’s just so good natured and warm. I don’t think it will make a big impact in the final if it reaches that far, not because I think it’s bad at all, but it’s not a very instant song. TV viewers have short attention spans! I hope I’m wrong, maybe they will stop what they are doing when they see his beautiful blonde hair… But as always I’m rooting for Iceland. I want them to win soon!
For more reviews of ESC 2013 entries and news, please visit my Malmö hub, or click “Malmö 2013” in the menu at the top of the page.