Earlier this week the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — headed to Iceland where we prayed Eyjafjallajökull would not erupt while we stripped in the Blue Lagoon. After we had indulged in a bit of skin therapy, we gathered round some smoked fish to review Maria Ólafs’ Eurovision 2015 song “Unbroken”. Is her song still intact after our review? Or does she need to break it up and rebuild? Read on to find out…
Iceland’s Eurovision 2015 song
Reviews: Maria Ólafs with “Unbroken”
Robyn: I wasn’t a fan of this song in the Icelandic national final, but it’s really grown on me. It has a really good contemporary pop sound with a great escalating melody and an especially strong chorus. But I’m really hoping that María ditches the low-budget Emmelie de Forest look and goes for something a bit hipper. There’s nothing about the song that requires it to be sung by someone looking like they’ve just got out of bed.
Padraig: When Frozen’s “Let It Go” was first released, no one ever predicted that it would become such a global hit. “Unbroken” shares a lot of characteristics with the Disney song, and there’s every chance that it could become a phenomenon in its own right. Likeable, catchy, memorable – this has all the ingredients for a top ten finish, and deserves to give Iceland its best result since 2009.
Angus: Out of the darkness and into the light, Iceland means business and in Maria they have struck gold. ‘Unbroken’ is a flawless ballad, ably blending shimmering harps, hypnotising percussion and Maria’s stunning vocal into the strongest ballad of 2015. There’s no way Iceland are finishing anywhere other than the Top 2 of the Grand Final.
Max: Firstly can I just say that this girl deserves to be ENTM. She is gorgeous and has the total look of a star. Now, as for the song, it brings back memories of Yohanna in 2009. It’s a sweet little number with a lovely instrumental and her voice just blends with it so well. The meaning of the song, like many others, is about love, but its in such a refreshing way. Plus Hera Bjork will be backing so that’s a big plus in my book! If this girl can pull it off on the night then she could be bringing some serious publicity to Iceland that doesn’t include an erupting volcano.
Bogdan: I seriously don’t get the hype. “Unbroken” sounds to me like a forgotten Taylor Swift filler from five years ago. (No shade: I love me some TayTay!). Contrary to Taylor Swift, however, Maria lacks the vocals and the stage presence. Gurl, you are pretty, but why walk around barefoot when you are already short, unless you want to look like a toddler without a tiara? (By the way, ditch that cutesy princess dress, too). Anyhow, as far as the song goes, y’all can write me off as broken, because I am never, ever, ever going back to 2010. Like, ever.
Patrick: Iceland is back with a stunning song and I’m really happy about that! Maria was the best in the NF and it’s nearly a miracle that she won. She is really young and looks so innocent but that strong voice is so unbelieveable, the little fairy from cold Iceland with the big voice! I listen to the song often enough to be able to say that she really needs to qualify and do well in the final itself! Goo Iceland – woop woop!!!
William: When she says “I’m letting go” I want to hold on forever! Sweet, endearing and empowering, the song is easily one of my favourites. The video gives this a sanitized feeling which I don’t like, but thankfully it comes to life live. Note to Maria: You look a tad unwashed in the video. You need to play to your strengths as a fresh Cover Girl and ditch the nightgown for Vienna.
Chris: This is the dark horse of the year. Maria is a hugely engaging performer and she has an incredibly accessible song. Ditching the dancers was definitely the right decision, as was the switch to English (which I initially hated). With the team she has behind her in Vienna, this could be spectacular.
Mike: This is Eurovision at its best: a lovely girl with an innocent look singing lyrics appropriate for any number of situations. Everyone can relate to the idea of taking ”one step at a time”. Whether it’s about love, conflict or something else, life is about making decisions and putting one foot in front of the other. This is also the first time in many years where I prefer the English version over the Icelandic one. One of my personal favorites this year.
Deban: Maria’s pipes work a treat on this radio-crafted pop number. “Unbroken” is one of 2015’s stronger entries. It has power, range and a universal message. Maria remains endearing, likeable and professional. Maria: Sack your stylist in time and you could land in the Top 5. Easily!
Twenty-nine jurors review each song, but we only have space for ten written reviews. The remaining 19 scores are listed below.
William C: 7.5/10
To reduce potential bias, the lowest and highest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 10.