Earlier today, the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – hung out at Reykjavik’s trendy Micro Bar for a few hours. It gave us plenty of time to review Erna Mist Pétursdóttir and her entry for Söngvakeppnin 2017, “I’ll Be Gone”. Did she do enough to impress us?
Erna Mist Pétursdóttir – “I’ll Be Gone”
About Erna Mist Pétursdóttir
Erna was one half of a boyfriend/girlfriend duo, along with her partner Magnús Thorlacius, that competed last year with the song “Til þín”. They failed to make it to the finals in Laugardagshöll. Will Erna be luckier this time around?
“I’ll Be Gone” reviews
Robyn: Whether deliberate or accidental, “I’ll Be Gone” is structurally similar Sanna Nielsen’s “Undo”. It’s similar to the point where Sanna’s lyrics fit perfectly over many parts of the Icelandic song. As a result, it ends up feeling a bit formulaic. Erna is such a brilliant singer, though, and most listeners won’t be ESC nerds so she can probably pull it off.
Jason: “I’ll Be Gone” is a gorgeously delicate ballad, and Erna’s voice is both pure and powerful. The Icelandic version of this sounds so beautiful and ethereal, but it is not as accessible as the English one. The momentous key change stops it from becoming boring, and I think this would go down well in Kyiv.
Chris: It’s “Undo” if it were done by a Disney princess. There’s a lot to be commended here with the vocals. If Erna can hit those notes live then I’ll be floored. I wonder if the voters in Iceland will be similarly wooed? Another point: the English lyrics feel too formulaic. In Icelandic, this becomes much more mysterious to a non-native ear. It stands out so much more.
William: I appreciate a slow build-up, but this is so slow that Erna risks losing all of her listeners in the process. The chorus benefits from the heavy beat mixed with her ethereal vocals, and the moment of silence followed by the nuclear key change at 2:00 is stunning. But so was a similar chain of events in Sanna Nielsen’s “Undo”, which sounds very, very similar, rendering this somewhat derivative and predictable.
Bernardo: I’m conquered by simplicity. “I’ll Be Gone” is a silent storm with a simple arrangement that reaches its climax during a strong key change a la Eurovision. Erna’s ethereal and sweet and mysterious vocals help carry the song and I actually think the Icelandic version is better than the English one. Potential dark horse right here. I’m in love.
Patrick: Erna is like the Icelandic Birdy, with a light tender voice. This is a very very simple song…for better or worse. I really do like the piano and the delicate emotion of her voice makes this so sweet and pure. But I think she would have major problems in Kiev, due to the ballads that are already chosen, and those yet to come. This is a simple act that would get lost at Eurovision, but still a good effort.
Antranig: This is a very good song but I am conflicted about the key change. It had a very ethereal feel and the key change loses that vibe, but it brings in a much-needed injection of power. I don’t have a preference between the two languages here and I believe a mix of the two would work really well. Erna’s vocals are also strong and fit the song perfectly.
Luis: What a delicious voice Erna has! She turns everything into magic, except for the Icelandic version, which weirdly sounds worse than the English one. So let’s stick to “I’ll Be Gone”. I just love how the song grows from the lower tones to the big chorus. It’s like a stairway to heaven! It’s very Frozen, one might say, but well, Frozen was an international blockbuster, wasn’t it?
In our Söngvakeppnin 2017 Wiwi Jury, we have 20 jurors but only room for 8 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 5 and a high of 8.5.