Last week they confirmed their 2019 participation and now Icelandic broadcaster RÚV have opened song submissions AND confirmed the dates for Iceland‘s national final — Söngvakeppnin 2019. And just to keep things interesting, they’ve also announced some changes when it comes to song selection. Whew!
Earlier today RÚV announced that submissions for Söngvakeppnin 2019 are now open and will close on October 22. So Icelandic composers and lyricists have a little over a month to concoct a song that will get Iceland out of the “four years in a row without making it to the final” rut.
First things first. Dates for all of the shows have been set in stone. The two semifinals will take place in Háskólabíó on February 9th and 16th. The grand final will be held in Laugardalshöll two weeks later on March 2nd.
Some slight changes have been made regarding the number of songs in Söngvakeppnin. In the past few years the national final has consisted of 12 songs in total — with six in each semifinal. But this year the number has been reduced to ten songs in total.
Each semifinal will consist of five songs with two of them making it to the final. That means that the final will consist of only four songs. However the producers of the show hold the power of qualifying one more song — a wildcard — if they deem it necessary.
The overall format of the national final will, however, be similar to that of the past two years. There will be two semifinals where results will be determined by 100% televote and a grand final consisting of 50% televote and 50% jury vote, which will result in a two-song ‘super-final’. The ultimate winner will then be decided by the public and the public alone.
Since 2016 RÚV has invited one or more artists with strong relations to Eurovision to perform in the final. There will be no change in that department this year and RÚV plans to get at least one new Eurovision star to perform in Söngvakeppnin 2019.
The main change is when it comes to how the songs will be selected. Before RÚV has used a jury consisting of various musicians and music experts to select the songs that make it to Söngvakeppnin exclusively from songs submitted by the public in an online submission process. This year, however, they have decided to spice it up a notch and added two more portals to be a part of this year’s Söngvakeppnin.
Along with the usual submission portal RÚV has decided to hire a few experienced and popular Icelandic songwriters to compose a part of the songs that will be in this year’s contest. And on top of that they are throwing a sort of songwriting camp for songwriters, producers and musicians, where the outcome of that camp might be used in the selection process for Söngvakeppnin 2019.
As for the submission rules, no extremely big changes have been made. The majority of composers behind each song still need to be Icelandic citizens or have permanent residency in Iceland. RÚV also maintains the language rule from previous years: songs must be sung in Icelandic in the semifinals but in the grand final contestants will sing in the language they intend to sing in at Eurovision should they advance.
One slight change this year is that each songwriter can only submit two songs to the contest, while previously there was no restriction. However, a lyricist can be a part of the writing team for more than two song lyrics.
With these changes the producers of Söngvakeppnin 2019 hope that the variety of next year’s song selection will be even broader than it has been in the past and that the quality will be even stronger.
Are you excited for Söngvakeppnin 2019? What is you thought on the changes? What type of songs would you like to hear? Tell us in the comments below.