William: Iceland’s María Ólafs isn’t just representing Iceland at Eurovision — she’s bringing us its beautiful vistas on her LED screen. At various moments you see the Northern Lights and Icelandic mountains, but the focus is definitely María. She’s ditched her dancers from the national selection and fills the massive stage with her voice — and some simple yet sassy turns and arm-ography. The aerial shots work well: We see her creating ripples with her toes and stepping on cracks on the lava. At one point she makes an arm movement and the camera spits out gold dust. It’s a little cheesy, but fits with her sparkly tutu gown and the general theme of stepping “out of the darkness and into the light forever”.
Iceland’s first rehearsal at Eurovision 2015
Chris: I’m torn. I definitely still like this and there’s new elements to the performance that I enjoy – the floor screen in particular has some lovely effects. But at the same time, removing the dancers altogether (and not just changing the routine) was always a risky option in my mind, which is now playing out on stage. She seems too alone at times and the other ways they’ve tried to make up for it, like her throwing gold dust at the screen, don’t feel like they’re working.
Padraig: Iceland’s staging is wonderfully simple, yet at the same time really, really, really sophisticated. As the song opens, we see Maria step across cracked magma. The Northern Lights shimmer in the background, and slowly intensify as the floor transforms to a glimmering pool, which shimmers as Maria steps across it. By the end the cracks are gone, and we’re treated to an unbroken golden floor. Vocals were shaky for the first run through, but there were no issues thereafter. The camera work also seems a little out of place. At points she looks skyward, and where you’d imagine there should be a nice aerial shot the camera zooms out. Still, these are only little niggles about an excellent performance.
María Ólafs: Reviews and Reactions
Iceland Meet and Greet at Eurovision 2015
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Photo: Thomas Hanses (EBU)