It has been a cold week in Iceland, with temperatures dropping below freezing point. The Wiwi Jury has braved the frigid conditions to review the six acts competing in Semi-Final 1 of Söngvakeppnin 2018 on Saturday 10 February.
Söngvakeppnin 2018 consists of two semi-finals, with the second show set to take place next week on Saturday 17 February. Three contestants from each semi-final will advance, setting up a Grand Final of six songs on Saturday 3 March.
The first six hopefuls were treated to some mixed reviews from the Wiwi Jury, as the songs ranged from exciting and unconventional to predictable and unappealing.
In the end, the Wiwi Jury decided that Fókus Hópurinn has the best song of Semi-Final 1. The group will perform “Aldrei gefast upp” on Saturday, hoping to take the English version, “Battleline”, to Eurovision.
The Wiwi Jury ranked Guðmundur Þórarinsson and Heimilistónar second and third respectively, believing that these three acts are the ones that Iceland should send through to compete in the Grand Final.
Söngvakeppnin 2018 Semi-Final 1 Reviews and Rankings
1. Fókus Hópurinn — “Battleline” (6.62)
The best: The song is building up to a great and really strong chorus. I really love the sound of the singers’ voices in the verses and when they start singing together it gets even better. I can imagine a really strong performance and I keep my fingers crossed that this will make it to the final and maybe even to Lisbon. Somehow, I’m a little bit scared that it will sound like a mess when they come to the chorus. (Aline, 9/10)
The worst: Look, if Spain got anything right this year was leaving “Camina” last on their national selection. Iceland should do the same. Has anyone ever listen to songs by groups of artists (not bands) at will? “Battleline” is bound to become a trainwreck on stage, with so many people singing so loudly. I’d be happy if it’s not, but even though they get their vocals right, this shouldn’t, by any means, be Iceland’s entry. (Luis, 4.5/10)
2. Guðmundur Þórarinsson — “Colours” (6.19)
The best: I enjoy the playful lyrics and the Sebalter whistling. This feels like it should be on the soundtrack of a Disney movie rather than the Eurovision stage. I can’t stop picturing Chicken Little screaming “the sky is falling” when I hear those lyrics. A pleasant three minutes of music and certainly one of the best songs of Söngvakeppnin 2018 but ultimately Iceland should be looking for better. (Antranig, 7/10)
The worst: Pantone set “Ultraviolet” as their Colour of the Year for 2018. That’s a strong and shiny violet that’s far away from this entry’s “Colours”. After hearing this, Gudmundur probably wants to colour his lover’s world in Rose Quartz and Serenity, which were 2016’s colours. Both because his song is much quieter and more harmless and because it feels as if it was released two years ago. (Luis, 5/10)
3. Heimilistónar — “Kúst Og Fæjó” (5.88)
The best: This song is one big time capsule to the 50’s – 60’s, I really like the retro vibe in it. This song is really happy and uplifting. I have no idea what they are singing, but I heard that the song is about cleaning. Thinking the meaning of the song away, this could be a really nice act to watch. I wonder how this will do in the competition. (Aline, 7.5/10)
The worst: This is at least bringing something a bit different to the selection and has a nice retro feel. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too laid back to keep you engaged throughout, and the second half of the song doesn’t really add anything to it that you haven’t heard already. While it doesn’t quite have the same appeal as Nina’s “Caroban”, it could at least be an interesting one to watch staging wise at the national selection. (Jonathan, 4/10)
4. Ari Ólafsson — “Our Choice” (4.19)
The best: A really heartfelt pop-rock ballad, with a universal message, which soars into epic heights when he hits those high notes. What more can be said? A solid choice if it gets a chance to win. (Barnabas, 8/10)
The worst: No. I am very unhappy that this song exists. This song stands out because most of Söngvakeppnin 2018 is so sleepy. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good song. This is horribly dated, dredging up tired old “love love peace peace” lyrics. The last time ballads like this were on trend was in the mid 1980s and nothing has happened that suddenly makes this relevant. (Robyn, 2/10)
5. Tómas Helgi Wehmeier & Sólborg Guðbrandsdóttir — “Think It Through” (4.06)
The best: It may be just me with a heart of stone, but this duet about breaking up didn’t impress me at all. It is nice, but it doesn’t have that hook that would make it stand out from the rest. An average effort. (Barnabas, 5.5/10)
The worst: So I’ve thought this one through. And I’ve decided that this song isn’t very good. It’s not just that it has nothing interesting in it, it’s also that it constantly teases that it’s building up to something that might be memorable, and it just doesn’t. No matter strongly Tomas and Solborg sing that we should hesitate, there’s just no energy or emotion here. There’s no reason at all to remember this song. (Natalie, 2.5/10)
6. Þórunn Antonía — “Shine” (3.5)
The best: Considering Þórunn’s back catalogue, this is even more disappointing. There’s no energy in the chorus, and it just feels like it drags on and on. It’s one note from start to end. The lyrics are uninspiring, too. There’s so many problems, and not even Þórunn’s (quite good) vocal can salvage this. (Chris, 4/10)
The worst: This put me on sleep mode. She says she’s a “shooting star”, but it must be a shooting star in slow motion. “Shine” is languid, uninteresting and Þórunn Antonía does little to make it more appealing. She starts singing with a touch of sultryness that soon disappear. Then we’re left with a singer who does big notes over a half baked base. (Luis, 3/10)
The six acts will all perform the Icelandic versions of their songs in the Semi-Final. If they make it through to the Grand Final, they will then perform the version of their song intended for Eurovision.
What do you think of the first six semi-finalists? Who should make it through to the Grand Final on March 3? Let us know in the comments below!