Iceland’s Hatari made huge waves around Europe before, during and even after Eurovision 2019. And it seems all that hype has encouraged Icelanders to write songs and dream big. Today Icelandic broadcaster RÚV has revealed it received a total of 157 song submissions for Söngvakeppnin 2020 — its Eurovision selection. That’s 25 more entries than last year, reflecting a bump of about twenty per cent.
A seven-person committee will now deliberate and choose just ten songs for the competition. Songwriters can’t rely on their reputations or their good names. Björk Magnúsdóttir, who sits on the executive committee of the competition, explained why to RÚV.
“Everyone submits songs under pseudonyms. Now a selection committee is working, and there are just a lot of mickeys, mice and traps — so they don’t know who is behind what,” says Björk. (Those mickeys, mice and traps are, of course, fake names).
The results of that process will be officially announced in January. As we previously reported, the lucky ten will compete in two semi-finals on February 8 and 15, while the final will be held on February 29 at Laugardalshöll.
Will that €5,000 fine the broadcaster received for Hatari’s green room behaviour impact this year’s competition in any way?
Björk says no: “We don’t expect this to affect the race and how great it will be.”
RÚV has decided to keep the format of song selection that was introduced for the 2019 edition. Along with the usual submission portal, Iceland’s national broadcaster called on a few experienced and popular Icelandic songwriters to compose some of the songs.
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 as RÚV plans to treat the audience with at least one non-Icelandic Eurovision artist as an interval act. Among the past guests are the newlywed Måns Zelmerlöw, Loreen and 2018’s second place act Eleni Foureira.
Are you excited that interest is up slightly in Iceland? Which artists from recent editions do you hope to see make a return? Let us know in the comments box below.