It’s the Nordic nation that has avoided the Eurovision grand final for the past four years. Now Iceland’s broadcaster RÚV has revealed that 132 songs have been entered in the national final Söngvakeppnin 2019. But some of the ten eventual semi-finalists will come from other sources.
Entries closed this past Monday and had been open for the previous month. Now the seven-person selection committee will listen to the submitted tracks and select the songs that will compete in the semi-finals next year. The committee is made up of music experts from Félag íslenskra hljómlistarmanna (Association of Icelandic Sound Artists), Félag tónskálda og textahöfunda (Association of Composers and Copywriters) and RÚV.
But this won’t be the only way songs are selected for the semi-finals. As the broadcaster revealed back in September, they will also be directly inviting experienced and popular Icelandic songwriters to compose songs that for this year’s contest.
RÚV also held a songwriting camp for songwriters, producers and musicians, to create songs that will also be considered in the selection process for Söngvakeppnin 2019.
Ten songs will be selected for the Söngvakeppnin semi-finals, down from the 12-song format used from 2015 to 2018. The ten competing entries will be revealed in January, ahead of the semi-finals on February 9 and 16. The grand final will be held a fortnight later, on March 2.
Söngvakeppnin 2019 is putting a new emphasis on staging. The show has acquired the services of British director choreographer Lee Proud. Icelandic musician Samuel Jón Samúelsson returns as musical director for the show.
The changes to Söngvakeppnin 2019 come after four years of disappointing results for Iceland. The country last qualified for the grand final in 2014, when Pollapönk’s colourful punk-pop track “No Prejudice” placed 15th in the grand final.
Since then, Iceland’s entries have not been able to make the grand final. In 2016, Greta Salóme’s “Hear Them Calling” was a huge fan favourite and seemed a sure qualifier, but it only placed 14th in its semi-final.
In Lisbon, Ari Ólafsson placed last in his semi-final with “Our Choice”, Iceland’s worst result since Two Tricky came last at the grand final in 2001 with “Angel”.
With the changes to Söngvakeppnin 2019, RÚV will be hoping that Iceland can find a way back into the Eurovision grand final.
What do you think? What kind of songs would you like to see in Söngvakeppnin 2019? Who should represent Iceland in Tel Aviv? Share your thoughts below!