The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rank and review the 43 songs competing in Eurovision 2018. Next we head to Iceland where Söngvakeppnin 2018 winner Ari Ólafsson has “Our Choice”. Was the song our choice as well? Read on to find out!
Ari Ólafsson – “Our Choice”
“Our Choice” reviews
Steinunn: Ari sure is a very good singer and is very charismatic. But that bubbly and cute personality won‘t do a thing for that song, which is just plain boring and way too dated. It would maybe have worked 20 years ago. And don‘t even get me started on those lyrics. They are very unimaginative, repetitive and sound way too “privileged people wanting to save the world with a charity show”.
Anthony: As Ari performed his entry at the final of Eurovizijos atranka, my initial thought was “This would be PERFECT for Valdas Lacko”. Instead of tugging at your heartstrings with his adorable face, it’s all crooner cringe with this ’90s sounding pop ballad. Unless they pull off a West Brom Great Escape, Iceland looks set to be on course for their first ever quadruple with tears of pain, not joy.
Chris: To quote a certain queen: choices. Having been selected over a multitude of better choices in Songvakeppnin, “Our Choice” was even chosen over the considerably more palatable Icelandic language version. Though Ari himself is an incredibly likeable figure, that really counts for nothing when paired with this song. Though the message reads true and earnest, the song itself just feels dated and like a pastiche of a “Eurovision peace song”.
Kristin: This was truly an unexpected winner of Söngvakeppnin 2018. The song is dated at best, and would have been a slam dunk choice 15 years ago. The shining diamond here is Ari himself, for that boy could charm an angry bear back in its cave, just by smiling. If he brings all that charm on stage in Lisbon — which I’m sure he will do — who knows what might happen. He could pull a Michal Szpak and enchant the whole of Europe with just one glance into the camera. Ari, we’re counting on you. Shine like there’s no tomorrow!
Luis: Let me prefix this: this comment doesn’t intend to be political. But watching Ari, all I could think of is that this entry is the Eurovision version of Emmanuel Macron/Albert Rivera/your local new neoliberal party candidate. The song itself is super dated, but the performance feels so perfect, so flawless, and so polished. Result: cringe for some, unconditional love for others. I clearly lean towards the first one.
Robyn: Ari is so lovely and is a superbly talented singer. But what on earth is happening with his song? It sounds like a 1980s celebrity charity single, but worse because it contains such mind-blowingly awful lyrics as “Together we could ease the pain if somehow we could ease the pain.” And by that logic, Iceland could qualify for the grand final if somehow they could qualify for the grand final. Ari deserves so much better. This song is just not pleasant to listen to.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 20 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 1 and a high of 7.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 3.83/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!
Voice is good, melody is interesting, but production is awful and lyrics are bland. Contrary to Yohanna’s “Is It True”, who felt dated in a way, you can’t forget with “Our Choice” that this song should have been sent in the nineties. This makes the difference between a runner-up and a song who’d probably finish last in SF1.
It’s sort of mutated into a guilty pleasure for me – the platonic ideal of the Eurovision Power Ballad (TM) – but not enough to keep me from ranking it second to last. I feel like a jerk, because Ari is easily one of the most likable contestants this year, but unlike, say, SuRie, charisma alone isn’t enough to lift this clumsy mish-mash of cliches out of the doldrums. I predict a bad finish in its semi, which is a shame because I’d love to see Ari do better with a great song. But “Our Choice” is clunky and beneath… Read more »
The typical peace song. A bit boring and dated. Ari is a nice guy though. I think is almost impossible for Iceland to qualifie. Iceland is in my 37th place: 1. Germany (9)| 3. Spain (8.5)| 7. Ukraine (7.5)| 11. Italy (7.25)| 13. Lithuania (7)| 14. Denmark (7)| 15. FYR Macedonia (7)| 16. Greece (7)| 17. Switzerland (7)| 18. Poland (7)| 20. Romania (6,75)| 21. Armenia (6.75)| 23. Slovenia (6.5)| 24. Ireland (6.5)| 25. Estonia (6.5)| 26. Croatia (6.25)| 29. The Netherlands (5.5)| 30. Azerbaijan (5.5)| 31. United Kingdom (5.5)| 33. Serbia (4.75)| 34. Latvia (4.5)| 35. Malta (4.5)| 36.… Read more »
Guess almost everyone said what it has to be said. This is not good at all.
Love Love Peace Peace ahoy, something that Russia would consider sending in the mid2010s, everything of this feels out of touch with what it wants to convey. Saccharine, ill-fitting, lyrics and music that just drag on and on. Ari can be as likeable as he wants, but there’s no saving this sinking ship.
I guess Iceland needs to crash to be transformed and reborn in this contest.
Ari could easily win the race for hottest guy in this year’s edition – although my personal taste leans rather towards the French guy or Sevak from Armenia -, but the song is cancelling all of his chances to reach the final…
Yeah, one of the weakest songs this year. The only thing I like is the beautiful voice.
P.S.: Iceland has such good singers and they don’t have a good song most of the times. It’s sad.
He ‘s so adorable, but this song is the epitome of boredom. 1/10.
Justice for Heim.
Inoffensive singer. Horrendous song. I hope the justified backlash against this song is not directed at Ari. I have no idea if he is talented or not, as this song gives him no chance to demonstrate one way or the other. However, he needs another chance. Am not writing him off just yet as a performer but this, in all likelihood, is last place in its semi-final.
Ari is very talented and charming young man – his voice is joy to listen to and this is pretty much all the praise I have for Iceland’s entry. I don’t really hate it, but I don’t care about it either. Ari deserves better.
He can win Mr. Congeniality. He is very friendly anyway.
To moderators – I responded to Purple Mask in a polite and supportive manner, but my response is held for moderation. Please, check that. Thanks.
Oh no! Thanks Colin, for trying.
(I have experienced the same technical issues in the recent past).
Ari doesn’t deserve all that criticism!
I feel so sad giving Ari the 3 this song deserves. This is so dated and uninteresting. And they put him SECOND in the RO. That is just mean. His voice and charisma are great, too bad the viewers won’t care. Easy last place in the SF, and Im very sorry.
I may not like his song but ARI ÓLAFSSON IS A PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLL THAT NEEDS TO BE PROTECTED AT ALL COST!!!
I feel so sorry that the songwriters dumped this awfully out-dated number on Ari, because he is such a likeable and talented artist who deserves and can achieve better, and shouldn’t be given such a poor reputation because of this song. I want him to return next year, but I feel like he won’t be selected solely due to this year’s failure of a song choice.
It breaks my heart to see Iceland this year. They are doing so well in football, but not in this field apparently. Seriously, what happened? For me it seems like they gave up since their previous songs failed to qualify, even though I think they were quite decent actually. Literally all of their songs in national selection were weak, none of them would have qualified. I still hope and wait for a gem like Iceland 2009 from them. Ari is such a sweetheart, I just want to give him a hug. I respect the passion he has with this dated… Read more »
John Lennon’s “Imagine” is equally as dated and corny as “Our choice”, but almost everyone recognises “Imagine” as appropriate and meaningful – why? Today is the day some of our countries are attacking another country. We all had a choice we could make, to help and to heal; but did we want to listen to Ari’s song? No. Why? To put this simply: We all suck right now. At this point I’m leaning towards betting that this year’s ESC will be cancelled due to the outbreak of a war. They should have listened to Ari’s song, FFS! Have a nice… Read more »
Our Choice lacks power but will get a lot better on stage. Ari knows how to defend this.
Still, chances of qualyfing are very low. Such a strong semi.
5/10 I like this, it’s quite sweet, and I will listen to this. However it is a big flop; there is nothing striking about this; even as the song attempts to build it fails to grip. Ari has a really good voice. This is staying in the semi final and most probably will be seen in last.
Really? 1/10? Padraig you are such as stupid as Ireland song this year. Maybe Ari doesn’t have the most modern song but he is indeed a great singer and the lyrics are truly meaningful. ”Thers always a choice that we can make” I love the chorus. I’m shocked of what this ”jury” name a dated song. Hope Iceland will qualify for the Grand Final. Greetings and love from Romania to Iceland.
It’s just Padraig. Don’t take him seriously.
The Latvia’s symptom – why did Iceland send such an entry?! To try something new or what? Well… It doesn’t work. So solemn yet cheesy. And those lyrics… However, Ari is so sincerely enthusiastic and happy singing this song that I can’t be totally harsh with my rate.
I have to admit that I loved the Icelandic version. While it does sound like taken from a 1980s Eurovision Song Contest, it’s still a very good example of basic yet skilled songwriting. Now there’s the English version that I don’t like for two reasons: 1) The message doesn’t work with the music. It’s simply a cheese fest of platitudes we’ve all heard before. The Icelandic version has more of a nostalgic feel to it (“I’m looking for a way home”), which works actually very well with the music. 2) Ari sings the English version differently. In the Icelandic version,… Read more »
Good review, M_K! Our ratings are the same and opinions on this entry are quite similar.
Indeed, I’ve just read yours (we even published them almost simultaneously. 🙂
No to projection dress and opera. No to russia
ICELAND – Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the winner of Eurovision… of 1992!!! Yes, this song is dated. It’s the term used lightly for any song under the sun, but this is one of the rare examples it actually applies to. Someone described the song as very archaic and it really is – both musically and lyrically. But musically, it’s still very lovely to listen to. Lyrically, it holds a good message, but it’s so cheesy! It’s somewhat childish and old fashioned at the same time, which makes it’s target audience – who? Ari sings really well and… Read more »
The “target audience” is everyone who can believe in peace. The concept is neither “childish” nor “old-fashioned”, and today’s outbreak of proxy conflict in Syria is the perfect day to demonstrate why most critics are wrong to reject this song.
In fact, the song quite delibaretly evokes the “Vietnam War” dilemma in sounding a bit like the debut album of Procol Harum in 1967. It’s obviously a deliberate reminder that we have a choice not to go back to those times. The Vietnam War lasted 20 years. Think about Vietnam, then think about Syria, and think about this song.
I am sad and angry for the news about Syria and I find it hard to grasp that any living creature could be this cruel. I am boiling inside as much as you. I agree, even I find the form the message has been presented somewhat cheesy and childish, the message in Icelandic and Australian songs is a powerful one and if people would listen to it, this world would be a better place. The lyrics seem cheesy because one would think it’s been done to death and that everyone knows it. Sadly, human stupidity has no limits. Hence, the… Read more »
As it turns out, that was worth the wait to read. Thank you Colin. 🙂
You do know that you can reject a song without rejecting the message of the song, right?
I agree with almost everything Colin has to say about this. I find it hard to believe that there is a target audience for this. Maybe my grandmother might like it?
Indeed, yes. I was just being dramatically expressive. 🙂
I’m sorry. The kid seems nice and is a good singer but this song is such a bore. Dated, clicheed and going nowhere. I feel bad for him. That’s going to taint this whole experience for him.
Also, reading that the writer of the song is dead serious about this being an awesome relevant piece of music… yeah. No.
Apparently you also say yes to stupidity.
Wow you’re gonna say NO to millions of people because of me, that’s pretty immature.
The troll is strong on this one.
Ari is a man of immense talent. He’s been done dirty. This is a dreadful song that does not suit him or do his wonderful voice any favours. Ari is a great performer and can really deliver on stage. However, the lyrics, the melody, and honestly even the outfits he wears to perform them are cliche and boring. It’s a shame because at such a young age he has such talent and aptitude that is being wasted on a cheap and lacking song that, in a few weeks time, I will forget.
this has no chance at all, weakest song of 2018
good looks but no personality i’m afraid
Nicky stop trolling you cant give a song 0/10 unless it’s russia
okay i give the song more honestly 3.5/10 then, Iceland is a certain NQ in semi 1
Ari seems to be a very nice and likeable guy… And he can sing! And while there weren’t really good Songs in the icelandic selection to choose from in the first place, this was probably one of the worst ones. I’m really sorry, but I don’t see that many qualities in thi´s song. It’s kinda nice and Ari makes it a hundred times better already, but god, it’s so dated and cheesy! Would have been a great choice for the ESC in 1989. I think that this is the least competitive song this year and I don’t think there’s even… Read more »
That score: OUCH!
Sadly, it’s totally justified. If Iceland had wanted to go for old-fashioned, they should have chosen the cougars of Heimilistónar. 😉
I want them to send Sjonni Brink or Maria Olafsdottir
Sjonni Brink is dead so it would be very hard to send him….
For me very comparable to Omar Naber and ‘On my Way’. I think it will do slightly better than expected, but Saturday’s final is a long, long way home (quoting Supertramp). 3.5/10
Is it just me who thinks that Ari would be perfect to sing Slovenian entry of last year “On My Way”. Omar’s interpretation wasn’t as curious and youthfully optimistic as the lyrics suggested and Ari could bring that touch with equally stellar voice. In that combo, it would probably be a qualifier.
My God- see my comment above. Great minds think alike!
Incredible! 🙂 Well, both songs are somewhat outdated, with On My Way being more suited for a curious 19-year-old who goes into the world unexperienced. On the other hand, Our Choice by Naber would probably sound much more dire.
I wouldn’t dare to say it would qualify, but it would be a better pairing, I agree. Ari could give some energy to that (endless) song. But in the end, both are very old fashioned entries.
I thought Robin was supposed to be better analyst than most of them. He was so mean
*She. Think “Call Your Girlfriend,” not “Friend Like Me.”
Luis, you got the point!
Iceland is one of my favourite ESC countries and I would love to see them win soon (call me old school but it would my dream for Malta and Cyprus would win as well) but this song will not get the points needed to get into the Saturday night show. Such a shame.
Poor, boring, disappointing,
Iceland probably had the weakest NF final this year. And it chose one of the weakest and most annoying songs in that final, Air was my 5th in Iceland.
I looooove Robyn’s logic adapted from the lyrics… He can qualify if somehow he can qualify!!! Oh you made my day with that review! Thank you, Robyn!
This was a rather poor choice for Iceland in a relatively weak national final. Would’ve preferred Dagur to be totally honest, but even that pales in comparison to other ESC acts this year. Ari’s song is cliche, dated, blasé, over-sentimental, and lacking variation and impact. Overall, it’s 4/10 from me. Sorry, Iceland! Wish they would send something epic in Icelandic!
There’s so much discussion about the term here and I guess this is a perfect example of what should be considered a dated song. It’s not about being a few years behind the trends and it’s definitely not the case when you purposely evoque the past by making use of timeless influences. It’s when everything sounds outdated: the lyrics, the melody, the singer’s approach and even the production. If months ago someone showed me this one and told me that it’s from 1988, I would never think they were lying. Even its message smells as mothballs. Not even the candidates… Read more »
Oh, I am going to be a really nice one for this review. 😉
Great review as always. 🙂
Thanks! 🙂 And as you could see, this also got a rating below 4 that I wasn’t expecting to give. But then I read the lyrics one more time and…
Yeah, they are so generic! It has a cute message, but a really cheesy form. In a way, it’s like Australia’s slow tempo twin.
Poor Ari. They gave him a message that it’s outdated even for a parody! 🙁
A very weak and outdated song. The lyrics are too much and it just drags on for too long. Ari is great but the song isn’t. Iceland should really change something in their selection process next year.
I agree so much. The past four years only Svala won both the first round and the superfinal. Maria, Greta and Ari all came second to someone else in the first round.
I think the superfinal exists so one could pick it’s second or third choice over the last or semi-last. For example, out of six songs presented, someone’s 3th and 5th choice may be among the top 2 and then they get a chance to pick the preferred one, even if their 1st was someone who was already eliminated.
If you don’t count in semi final vs final result, though.
Same goes for Denmark..
Tbh I think he won the superfinal because of his looks. When he was in the superfinal all the teenage girl probably voted for the cute guy, despite the fact that Dagur had a much better song, and in Icelandic!
Ohhhhhhh feel so sorry for him I hope he comes back to eurovision with a better song.his a very nice guy
Iceland had probably one of the weakest national selections but there were still songs with much better appeal that the one they chose. I don’t think our choice was a good one at all. The singer has good vocals and all but the song is truly filled with cliche lyrics and dull pace. Sorry this I absolutely abhor
Qualified :1)EST 7.67 2)CYP 7.61
Not qualified 4) AZE 7.22 5)GRE 6.94 6)SUI 6.50 7)ARM 6.39 8)BLR 6.36 9)CRO 6.19 10)LTU 5.83 11)IRE 5.67
Qualified: 1)EST 9.25 1)CYP 9.06
Not qualified 4)GRE 8.56 5)AZE 8.19 6)SUI 8.06 7)CRO 7.69
8)BLR 7.56 9)ARM 7.50 10)LTU 7.44 11)IRE 7.06 12)ISL 5.31
Qualified:1)EST 16.92 2)CYP 16.67
Not qualified 4)GRE 15.50 5)AZE 15.41 6)SUI 14.56 7)BLR 13.92 8)ARM 13.89 9)CRO 13.88 10)LTU 13.27 11)IRE 12.73 12)ISL 9.14
What is this modified score you are writing about??
Oh Iceland, how you break my heart. Year after year after year, ever since I shat myself when Greta and Jónsi placed a baffling 20th (!) place in Baku, I get enraged at Europe for not giving you the placing you deserve. That’s why it breaks my heart that one of my favourite countries at Eurovision has decided this year to send this dirge. I have to legitimately make an effort to listen the whole way through. The whole song is just so languid and uninspired and (I’m just gonna say it) boring. The drumline sounds like it’s a Johnny… Read more »