Following on from the earlier announcement that Iceland would again use the Söngvakeppnin national final to select its 2016 entry, Icelandic broadcaster RUV has now confirmed dates and the format the competition will take.

In 2016 Söngvakeppnin will be celebrating its 30th anniversary and the broadcaster is promising something special, saying, “We are diving into this year’s preparations with big enthusiasm!” And as Hera Björk told us recently, Icelanders really know how to party.

The rules

These Icelandic fans are excited
These Icelandic fans are excited

The format is largely the same as what was used in 2015. The competition is only open to songwriters with Icelandic citizenship or permanent residence in Iceland. However, Icelandic songwriters are able to co-write with non-Icelandic songwriters, but two-thirds of the music and one half of the lyrics must be contributed by an Icelandic songwriter.

All songs in the semi-final must be performed in the Icelandic language, but in the grand final songs must be performed in the language intended for its Eurovision performance. Last year, five of the seven finalists were performed in English, with “Lítil skref” becoming “Unbroken”.

The deadline for submitting songs to RUV is 2 November. To find out more about entering, visit RUV.

The shows

There’ll be two semi-finals, and three songs from each semi will progress to the final. There’ll also be a wildcard pick from the remaining semi-finalists, making a total of seven songs in the final.

In the final, the seven songs will be narrowed down to two superfinalists via a 50/50 jury and televote. The overall winner will then be selected by 100% televote.

The semi-finals will be held on 6 and 13 February 2016, and the grand final will be held on 20 February.

RUV’s rules also state that technically it is only the song that wins Söngvakeppnin, not the performer(s). After the winning song has been chosen, RUV then internally selects the performers who’ll be going to Stockholm. It is safe to assume that RUV will go with the existing lead singer(s) of the winning song, but as we saw earlier this year when María Ólafs’ dancers from Söngvakeppnin didn’t make it to Vienna, the supporting performers won’t be guaranteed a ticket to Stockholm.