Over the past few weeks, the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have been rating all of the songs participating in Söngvakeppnin 2016, the Icelandic national selection, to determine our favourite entry. People fought. Friendships were made and lost. But from it, a favourite emerged.
Our jury for this edition consists of 17 jurors who hail from Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Iceland, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. We are truly international, y’all. Each juror assesses each song independently, and awards each song a score from 0 to 10. Before calculating the Wiwi Jury verdict, we drop the highest and lowest scores to reduce potential bias and outliers.
You can scroll down to see the final rankings along with the average score and some of our comments. Click on the song title to read our review and watch our video reactions.
WIWI JURY: OUR TOP 12 FOR ICELAND
1. GRETA SALÓME – “THE VOICES”
The best: 2016 is shaping up as the year of returning artists and there are very few people I’d like to see come back more than Greta Salóme. “The Voices” has a haunting effect through the verses before hammering home a catchy chorus. All of the different instruments that come in work very well together, especially those drums. Get her back to Eurovision immediately! (Antranig, 10/10)
The worst: Naturally, everyone is going to compare this to “Never Forget” in 2012, and unfortunately “The Voices” misses the mark for me completely. We’ve seen Greta Salóme deliver power, and this song feels like a blackout. The folky sounds are too common in Söngvakeppnin 2016 and I’d expect something different and with more wow-factor from Greta. Disappointing! (Josh, 6/10)
2. ELÍSABET – “AGAIN”
The best: I have to admit I’d totally love “Again” as a soundtrack. It’s well constructed — although its transitions are a bit forced in some points — and the progression of the instruments creates an interesting dark atmosphere, like a suspense film. It reminds me of the soundtrack of Borgen in a way. I’m loving that, but I have to say that I can hardly see it translated into a Eurovision stage. In fact, I can’t imagine this song staged if it’s not with a big orchestra and a choir, and with only six people allowed on stage, that’s quite difficult. (Luis, 7/10)
The worst: There’s a lot of drama happening with “Again”, and a good sense of progression and musical storytelling. It builds and unfurls, but feels like it never reaches the climax it’s promising to deliver. The drums worry me, in the way that drums props at Eurovision always seem to be a curse. (Robyn, 6/10)
3. KARLOTTA – “UNSTOPPABLE”
The best: There’s a lot to like about Karlotta and “Unstoppable”. I love the crescendo of the beat throughout the verses, culminating in a powerful chorus. The ooh-woah-oh-ohs are spectacular and it’s impossible to resist joining in. This entry would work incredibly well at Eurovision — the last note would earn extra points in drinking game circles. This girl is unstoppable! (Antranig, 10/10)
The worst: I can see the appeal in “Unstoppable”, but it’s not really for me. Karlotta’s voice is far too dainty and soft to match the grunge and drama in the instrumental. It’s like asking Yohanna to sing Amandine Bourgeois. Some say opposites attract – but this combination just doesn’t work! (Josh, 4/10)
4. ALDA – “MOMENTS”
The best: Alda’s song is very cute and makes for some very easy listening. This has shades of Anna Bergendahl but the last minute is explosive with some powerful vocals and this would be memorable in Stockholm. With the right staging and the right performance, she could win the ticket to Stockholm — this is definitely the dark horse of the competition. (Antranig, 8/10)
The worst: I’ve listened to this song several times, but all I can remember about it is that it’s kind of folky and has a few of the “hey” shouts that were all over pop from 2015. I guess that’s the trouble – there’s nothing striking about this song, nothing that makes me sit up and go “wow!” (Robyn, 5/10)
5. Þórdís & Guðmundur – “ALL OVER THE WORLD”
The best: I’m digging this. Is it a hard-core hip-hop song? No. But it has just the right amount of rap and just the right amount of pop elements to meet the Eurovision criteria. It all depends on the performance. If they nail that factor, I believe this is going to go far in Söngvakeppnin 2016. (Steinunn, 7.5/10)
The worst: It’s true that the opening bars are sleepy and a bit dull. But do we really need an Icelandic rapper to wake us up? Hell to the NO! Rap is bad enough in English, but the reality is that English is the linga franca of rap. Straight Outta Reykjavik just doesn’t work for me. (William, 2.5/10)
6. ERNA & HJÖRTUR – “MY MIND IS”
The best: Söngvakeppnin is celebrating its 30th anniversary, but that’s no excuse to bring back this slice of the mid 1990s. I’m a little partial to Erna & Hjörtur’s power harmonies, but that’s really the only thing that’s stopping me from disliking this song entirely. It’s expertly performed, but oh so dull. (Robyn, 6/10)
The worst: God, this is boring. I appreciate that they have lovely voices and know how to blend, but in a competition filled with similarly down-tempo, atmospheric songs, it just feels like more of the same. The dated sound is fine — I think with duets one overlooks throwback melodies — but it’s just not inspiring. Sorry ’bout it. (William, 4.5/10)