Christmas has come early in Iceland! On December 11 state broadcaster RUV announced the 12 semi-finalists who will compete in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2016 — Iceland’s national selection for Eurovision. The roster, which was announced on the Vikan með Gísla Marteini programme, includes some familiar names for Eurofans. Greta Salome Stefánsdóttir, who sang with Jonsi at Eurovision 2012, has composed two of the competing songs and will perform one of them (“Raddirnar”, which means “The Voices”) herself. Erna Hrönn, who served as a backing vocalist for Yohanna in 2009, will sing the duet “Hugur minn er” (My mind is) with Hjörtur Traustason. And Pálmi Gunnarsson, who sang with ICY on Iceland’s debut at Eurovision in 1986, has another go with Ég leiði þig heim (I lead you home).

Another familiar name is Alda Dís Arnardóttir, who won the second series of Iceland’s Got Talent earlier this year.

RUV received a total of 260 songs, which were whittled down by a special selection committee. Here are the dirty dozen…

Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2016: Semi-finalists

Kreisí (Crazy)
Song: Karl Olgeirsson
Lyrics: Karl Olgeirsson and Sigríður Eyrún Friðriksdóttir
Artist: Sigga Eyrún

Óvær (Uneasy)
Song and lyrics: Karl Olgeirsson
Artist: Helgi Valur Ásgeirsson

Ótöluð orð (Unspoken words)
Song and lyrics: Erna Mist and Magnús Thorlacius
Artists: Erna Mist and Magnús Thorlacius

Hugur minn er (My mind is)
Song and lyrics: Þórunn Erna Clausen
Artists: Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir and Hjörtur Traustason

Spring yfir heiminn (All over the world)
Song: Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson
Lyrics: Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson and Guðmundur Snorri Sigurðarson
Artists: Þórdís Birna Borgarsdóttir and Guðmundur Snorri Sigurðarson

Augnablik (One Moment)
Song: Alma Guðmundsdóttir and James Wong
Lyrics: Alma Guðmundsdóttir, James Wong and Alda Dís Arnardóttir
Artist: Alda Dís Arnardóttir

Óstöðvandi (Unstoppable)
Song: Kristinn Sigurpáll Sturluson, Ylva Persson and Linda Persson
Lyrics: Alma Rut Kristjánsdóttir, Ylva Persson and Linda Persson
Artist: Karlotta Sigurðardóttir

Fátækur námsmaður (A broke student)
Song and lyrics: Ingólfur Þórarinsson
Artist: Ingólfur Þórarinsson

Á ný (Again)
Song and lyrics: Greta Salome Stefánsdóttir
Artist: Elísabet Ormslev

Raddirnar (The Voices)
Song and lyrics: Greta Salome Stefánsdóttir
Artist: Greta Salome Stefánsdóttir

Ég sé þig (I see you)
Song and lyrics: Sigríður Eir Zophoniasardóttir and Jóhanna Vala Höskuldsdóttir Artists: Sigríður Eir Zophoniasardóttir and Jóhanna Vala Höskuldsdóttir

Ég leiði þig heim (I lead you home)
Song and lyricsi: Þórir Úlfarsson
Artist: Pálmi Gunnarsson

Celebrating 30 years of Iceland at Eurovision

This year’s participation marks the 30th anniversary of Iceland’s first participation in 1986, when ICY (which included Pálmi Gunnarsson) sang the song “Gleðibankinn”, finishing in 16th place. During that time Iceland has only missed two contests — in 1998 and 2002. They were relegated out of those contests because they finished outside the qualification threshold in the preceding years.

The broadcaster had previously teased us with the possibility of a big selection. Just look at this advertisement calling for song submissions from the fall. It includes images of some of the country’s most beloved Eurostars, including Selma, Hera Björk and Yohanna. We suspect there will be plenty of special performances this year…


To mark the anniversary, RUV has produced a special box set of four DVDs to mark their participation.


The semi-finals will be held on 6 and 13 February 2016, and the grand final will be held on 20 February.  Three songs from each semi will progress to the final. There will 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.

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. Sorry ’bout it.


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7 years ago

Yet again, needs more MIAU.

7 years ago

When will the songs be revealed?

7 years ago

Another Augnablik (3 years running). I hope Greta has brought a great song and can smash the competiton.

Paul D
Paul D
7 years ago

So happy that Erna Hrönn will try again! And this time is a duet
Also very happy about Greta, hopefully she brings back the violin

7 years ago

We know that Greta go to Eurovison, she only have 2 song, no more composer is famous like her. No song from Svein Runnar who had good song in past in contest , Olygur Smari…
I would love to see in future comeback at nationaln final Magni Ásgeirsson. He had good songs in past and for me deserved to won in 2012 ,2013 with his song.

7 years ago

Pálmi Gunnarsson sing for Iceland 1986 as part of group .

7 years ago

wasn’t there an ‘augnablik’ last year too?