Ten finalists have been revealed for Söngvakeppnin 2020. Ten different acts hope to follow Hatari’s leather-clad footsteps and represent Iceland in Rotterdam come May. They will compete in two semi-finals on February 8th and February 15th then five acts will enter the grand finals in Laugardalshöll Arena on February 29th. The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have listened to all ten songs and chosen their favourites. Will any of the 2020 acts be able to top Hatari’s unforgettable performance? Read on to find out!

Luis

1. Iva – “Oculis videre”

“Oculis videre” is hard to describe. Its blend of delicacy, strength, awe, longing and epicness is absolutely delicious, yet somehow eerie and, at times, unsettling. The three minutes fly by while Iva’s voice and the instruments entice your ears. The final part adds the extra gravitas the song needed, while elements like the harp that comes in after the first chorus pique your curiosity and make you want to know more, and keep listening.

2. DIMMA – “Almyrkvi”
3. Daði & Gagnamagnið – “Think About Things”
4. Kid Isak – “Ævintýri”
5. Elísabet – “Haunting”

Antranig

1. Ísold & Helga – “Meet Me Halfway”

While Iceland won’t reach the lofty heights of Hatari, they have plenty of quality to offer. Almost all of the songs would make credible Eurovision entries. There isn’t one song which stands out as a clear winner this year but “Meet Me Halfway” is my favourite. Lyrically beautiful, this is haunting and grows wonderfully as the three minutes progress. I love the musical diversity Iceland is offering us.

2. Daði & Gagnamagnið – “Think About Things”
3. Elísabet – “Haunting”
4. Nína -“Echo”
5. DIMMA – “Almyrkvi”

Natalie

1. Iva – “Oculis videre”

I’m a bit of a sucker for classical pop at Eurovision, but this still has something very special to me. It has a rawness, a kind of captivating charm that keeps it from being pretentious. It’s obviously an epic operatic journey, but it still maintains its innocence and down-to-earthness. Of course, Iva’s story keeps this on a level to some degree, but I find there’s something so enchanting about the ethereal beauty of the composition that takes it there itself. It sounds like a luscious song, it wouldn’t be out of place on a fantasy soundtrack, and I’m so sold. Iceland – pick this!

2. Ísold & Helga – “Meet Me Halfway”
3. Nína – “Echo”
4. Hildur Vala – “Fellibylur”
5. Matti Matt – “Dreyma”

Florian

1. Daði & Gagnamagnið – “Think About Things”

This track is driven by its defining indie-pop vibes which, combined with the vocal delivery, transition into a catchy chorus. Moreover, it works well in either of the two versions — English or Icelandic. For “Think About Things”, it’ll all come down to the stage presentation whether or not this could stand out enough to make a case at the national final.

2. Nína – “Echo”
3. Ísold & Helga – “Meet Me Halfway”
4. Iva – “Oculis videre”
5. Brynja Mary – “In Your Eyes”

Åri

1. Iva – “Oculis Videre”

Björk will never attempt to represent Iceland, no matter how much I pray. But honestly, this comes rather close, and I can only hope Iceland wises up and chooses it. I’m getting strong Vespertine vibes from this and Latin is always right up my alley. “Oculis Videre” is a wonderful piece.

2. Daði & Gagnamagnið – “Think About Things”
3. Kid Isak – “Ævintýri”
4. DIMMA – “Almyrkvi”
5. Nína – “Echo”

Robyn

1. Iva – “Oculis videre”

This song feels like it shouldn’t work, yet somehow it does. Iva has taken her visual disability and made it a core metaphor of the song, examining sight, insight and indeed the “eye that can see”. The haunting vocals evoke the mid-’90s Eurovision classics “Nocturne” and “The Voice”, creating an otherworldly atmosphere, but with a message for our modern world. The Iceland version would work just as well as the English version, but given the specific message of the lyrics, I’d rather see the version that more international audiences can understand. I’m not quite ready to declare it to be a contender for the crystal microphone in Stockholm — first, let’s see how the song comes across live at the Icelandic semi-final.

2. DIMMA – “Almyrkvi”
3. Kid Isak – “Ævintýri”
4. Elísabet – “Haunting”
5. Daði & Gagnamagnið – “Think About Things”

Pablo

1. Daði & Gagnamagnið – “Think About Things”

While my top three would make incredible entrants for Iceland, “Think About Things” rises above all others once you consider one extremely important detail: Daði’s baby, who was born last year. That alone elevates the whole of the song (its English version, specifically) into something that’s earnest and heartfelt, yet all wrapped in this ’80s retro-experimental package that’s impossible to stand still to. His lower notes are rich, the trumpets are fun, and that key change is glorious. I feel this is miles ahead of his already great entry in 2017, and we have hit peak Daði.

2. Elísabet – “Haunting”
3. Iva – “Oculis videre”
4. DIMMA – “Almyrkvi”
5. Brynja Mary – “In Your Eyes”

What do you think? What are your favourites in Söngvakeppnin 2020? Sound off below!

Read more Iceland Eurovision 2020 news here

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Kosey
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Kosey

Meet me halfway is my favorite here, it speaks to me on a personal level. I hope it is sung live as beautifully as it is on the studio cut.
I wouldn’t mind if Oculis Videre got it – it is the obvious choice and would do well in ESC.

Poul Rissen
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Poul Rissen

Oculis videre. Powerful song, stunning vocals, a message. If she performs good on stage, she gets the ticket. The only entry from Iceland 2020 to stand out and be different. The other 9 are all meh…

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

Oculis Videre for me 🙂
Sounds fantastic! So dramatic with beautiful vocals

brightandearly
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brightandearly

I honestly think Elisabet is being severely underrated, her song is a bonafide pop bop, catchy with a great rhythm, if she can just get a killer dance routine and aesthetic it could be amazing – and very different for Iceland. I personally think its between her and Iva, and as much as I like Iva, I think Elisabet’s song is a better version of a song in the genre its going for. And this is coming from someone who loves Iva’s traditional, chanting etheral type music, but its something I’ve heard so often that it doesn’t provide something radically… Read more »

Pablo Nava
Editor

I’ve been hooked too, and interestingly enough, it gains a lot in English for me 🙂

Fatima
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Fatima

I’m getting a Det vackraste vibe from Ísold & Helga. That’s a very good thing.

Sabrina
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Sabrina

The competition is stronger this year and live performances can always change the game, but it seems for the second season in a row Iceland has the only national final where I don’t want any other song to win. “Oculis Videre” would be a great follow-up to Hatari.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Iceland could win the ESC with “Oculis Videre” and I don’t know if their people are yet aware of that. It has to win its National Selection first, but these reviews show that there is divided opinion over it, and that the result might actually be a close one. This will be a nailbiting one.

Mr Vanilla Bean
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Mr Vanilla Bean

As nailbaiting and close as Hatari’s victory was. Not.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Actually I didn’t watch last year’s National Final for Iceland, so I wouldn’t know either way what happened. 😀

Héctor
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Héctor

It’s pretty obvious that in a field of average songs, “Oculis Videre” is the standout and the fav for the win. It is also average but the characteristics of the song and the artist make it stand out. As Robyn says, the metaphore of the song title “Eye that see” taking into account her vision disability gives the song a whole new dimension. I have to say though, that I don’t think by any means that Iva can win the whole Eurovision, not even reach the top 10, at least judging the song for its musical merits. The correlation between… Read more »

Azaad
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Azaad

It’s not a winner but this is a song that has to be heard live (like most operatic songs) for its full appeal to be realised. Moreover it lends itself to compelling staging.

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

Wiwi Jury’s ranking (1-5 points)
1. Iva 25p.
2. Dadi & Gagnamagnid 22p.
3. DIMMA 13p.
4. Isold & Helga 12p.
5. Elisabet 10p.
5.Nina 10p.
7. Kid Isak 8p.
8. Brynja Mary 2p.
8. Hildur Vala 2p.
10. Matti Matt 1p.

Colin
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Colin

For me, Oculis videre must be one of the best songs in this whole NF season. Mystical, strong, memorable and very well orchestrated. If Iva is as good in live as she is in the studio version, this is a Songvakeppnin winner and a top 5 material! I hope she goes for the Icelandic version. It’s a 10/10 from me. 🙂
Hildur Vala is my strong runner-up. The song is lovely and creates a special atmosphere.
Dreyma, Ekko and Think About Things are also really good. My semi 1 winners would be Isold & Helga, Kid Isak. 🙂
Go, Iceland! 🙂

Anita
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Anita

Iva’s song works like a spell with me – I can’t but listen and want this to go to Rotterdam. The explanation I have is, that our brains, soals and hearts are longing for a moment of peace and rest and contemplation – and she is giving it to us. Love eternal…

RoboESC
Guest
RoboESC

Iva is half Dutch and she is studying at Conservatory Rotterdam! In an interview with Dutch media she said she’s still in doubt about the language.

Angelika
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Angelika

Iva with “Oculis videre” 100%. It’s so special, atmospheric. And spiritual…

daphnefleur
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daphnefleur

why does it say stockholm at in one of the reviews for oculis videre?

Mr Vanilla Bean
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Mr Vanilla Bean

Robyn and I are already thinking of next year when the contest could very well be back in Sweden. But why not give Gothenburg a chance? Or maybe that microphone thingy is produced in Stockholm?

Pierre
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Pierre

Dream on.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

I’m basically with everything that Pablo has to say. I think Daði’s will be the best entry once the staging is taken into consideration. Iva is the only other alternative. It really should be one of those two.
It’s a big step down to Nina and Elísabet, who I think are the next tier of entry.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

Iva’s gonna have to win otherwise Iceland’s making a mistake. There’s a pretty clear and wide margin. Last year prove to us that Iceland will benefit most from being the most different. They just rose in the odds and I bet it’s because of her song specifically that they are all the way up at 8th to begin with.

I guess I like Dimma as well. Dadi’s okay. The rest I could take or leave.

Joe
Guest
Joe

It may also be residual hype from Hatari.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr Vanilla Bean

I wish OV would be kept in Icelandic. I’m not too thrilled about some trite lines in the lyrics that try to drag the overall experience down for me because lyrics are so important to me. But I realize nobody who is voting will care. Iva has to be chosen. Another top ten placing is likely. The staging opportunities for this one are ample.

poe-tay-toe-chips
Guest
poe-tay-toe-chips

I know my opinion is not the majority but I actually like the english a bit more. Which is odd for me because most of the time I prefer non-english.

But in this case I think it’s harder to distinguish the icelandic from the latin which is why I prefer the english. Also the song’s lyrics try to put a clear visual in the listener’s head (a little ironic given the singer is blind, but i think that is part of the point), which I think would be more effective in English since that’s the language more viewers will understand.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr Vanilla Bean

I totally see all of your points. For me, the English version takes away the mystery a bit while the Icelandic one leaves me the illusion that the lyrics are awesome but your points make sense regarding the competition.

BadWoolfGirl
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BadWoolfGirl

But even when I listen to the English language version of the song, I don’t always fully understand what’s being sung because of iva’s operatic vocals.