The Icelanders put the financial crisis behind them, collected a few kroners, and last night managed to stage the first semi-final of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsin 2011, their Eurovision selection contest. Fans gave two contestants the green light for the February 12 final.
Erna Hrönn took the first spot. Her saccharine ballad “Ástin mín eina” (“My old love”) doesn’t really show off her powerful chops, which we’re sure she has. After all, this woman went to Oslo last year and performed back-up vocals for Hera Bjork (the contestant who only slightly resembled Meat Loaf, but totally channeled an erupting Eyjafjallajökull).
The second spot went to Haraldur Reynisson, with “Ef ég hefði vængi” (“If I had wings”). It’s very Simon and Garfunkel (the “Sound of Silence” years), and has a touch of the feel-good factor brought to Eurovision most recently by Cyprus’ 2010 entry Jon Lilygreen & the Islanders.