Last Saturday, during the first semi final of Söngvakeppni 2017, three acts made it to the finals (Rúnar Eff, Aron Hannes and Arnar Jónsson & Rakel Pálsdóttir), while three more were eliminated (Hildur, Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson & Þórdís Birna Borgarsdóttir and Erna Mist Pétursdóttir).
Now, as the dust settles, acts have suggested that there might not have been an even playing field owing to technical problems. As viewers who watched the show can attest, the sound system was not functioning properly during the first three performances from Hildur, Erna and Júlí & Þórdís. Now Hildur has made a formal complaint to the Icelandic national broadcaster RÚV.
In an interview with Icelandic web media visir.is, Hildur said that producers ignored the advice of the sound expert she brought with her to the dress rehearsals. And she didn’t just bring any sound technician: She brought Logi Pedro Stefánsson, member of Retro Stefson, a well-known and respected producer and the younger brother of Unnsteinn Manuel, the Icelandic spokesperson from last year (yes, the one with the dog).
“It’s really annoying that they decided to disregard his comments, because we really did try,” she said. “They just ignored it.”
“Plus, it’s rather odd that we, the contestants, have to be the ones making sure that everything is top notch, instead of RÚV having a team of expert producers. When I was a member of SUNDAY two years ago, Logi was with me the whole time, and could pretty much run the show behind the scenes.”
Hildur, however, is not trying to sound like a cry baby. In fact, she stressed in the interview that the sound was probably just a factor — though it’s hard to deny that it was likely a very big factor.
“I’m in a very difficult position, because I don’t want people to think that I am blaming someone else for not making it to the finals,” she said. “But I am sure that the sound trouble had something to do with it. A pop song should be catchy and powerful, but if it seems like it’s lacking power during the live performance, people sure as hell won’t vote for it,” she says.
Júlí & Þórdís, the cute couple who were also considered favourites to advance, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the sound as well— though they have not made a formal complaint.
Even the acts who did make it through have complained.
Arnar, who advanced with his singing partner Rakel, said that the sound was bad during his performance — though it was nowhere near as bad as in the first three songs.
Hildur admitted that she was feeling stressed even before the contest began, especially when she learned that she would be the first one on stage with her song “Bammbaramm.”
“I knew that if there were to be any problems with the sound and sound mixture, chances are that the first song performed would be hit the hardest. Turns out, I was right to be worried. First of all, my mic wasn’t even on for the first few seconds, and the music was definitely louder than the singing, the whole time. It was painfully obvious when I watched the performance again.”
There is a chance that the juries might choose a wildcard for the finals, so Hildur and the others are still in the game. “But that is not the point,” Hildur said. “I don’t expect any special treatment. I just wanted my voice to be heard, and that they would take this into consideration, and hopefully prevent the same mistake happening again next Saturday.”
In an interview with the web media nutiminn.is, Skarphéðinn Ólafsson, head of programming at RÚV, said that if there had been a severe technical failure during the performances, there would have been a possibility to perform again. However, that unwritten rule did not apply to “Bammbaramm” and “Heim til þín.”
He said: “During a live show, there is always a risk that something goes wrong. Not just in Iceland but all over the world.”
What are your thoughts about Hildur’s exit? Is RÚV responsible for the whole mess or can this be blamed on a bad performance? Please comment below.