Haters Gonna Hate?

Feb 7, 2019 by

Haters Gonna Hate?

Söngvakeppnin 2019 features 10 artists competing for the ticket for Tel Aviv. There will be 2 semi-finals, the first of which takes place on Saturday; semi 2 a week later on February 16.

Five songs will compete in each semi-final, with two progressing to the final from each semi via a combination of televoting and the expert judging panel’s ranking, which is a change from the previous 100% televoting format.

The grand final will take place on March 2 at the Laugardalsholl venue in Reykjavik. There could be a 5th song selection in the grand final with organisers reserving the right to introduce a wildcard entry. Here is how they will line-up in the 2 semi-finals:


Semi 1 – February 9

Hatari – Hatrið mun sigra
Hera Björk – Eitt andartak/Moving On
Kristina Skoubo Bærendsen – Ég á mig sjálf/Mama Said
Þórdís Imsland – Nú og hér/What Are You Waiting For?
Daníel Óliver – Samt ekki/Licky Licky

Semi 2 – February 16

Elli Grill, Skaði & Glymur – Jeijó, keyrum alla leið
Friðrik Ómar – Hvað ef ég get ekki elskað?/What If I Cannot Have Love?
Ívar Daníels – Þú bætir mig/Make Me Whole
Tara Mobee – Betri án þín/Fighting For Love
Heiðrún Anna Björnsdóttir – Helgi/Sunday Boy

In the semi-finals, the songs will be heard in Icelandic. In the final or Superfinal the artists have the option to sing the English versions. Among the 4 (or 5) finalists, two will progress to the head-to-head Superfinal based on a combination of televote and jury vote. This will be an expanded jury vote consisting of a 10-person international panel of expert judges.

Unlike previous years these top 2 songs will bring with them jury and televotes into the Superfinal during which further televotes will be added and the overall highest scoring song will win. This has probably been done as a result of last year when Dagur Sigurðsson – Í stormi – comfortably beat Ari Olafsson on the jury vote and televote in the final, only to be beaten by Ari in the televote-only, head-to-head Superfinal.

This year’s line-up features 3 previous Eurovision participants – 2 as singers, 1 as a songwriter. Hera Björk took part in ESC 2010 with ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ which was 3rd in semi-final 1 before finishing 19th in the grand final. Her song this year, Eitt andartak (Moving On), is a generic ballad but she is capable of elevating it live.

Friðrik Ómar participated in ESC 2008 as part of the dance duo Euroband who performed the song ‘This Is My Life’, qualifying from semi-final 2 in 8th place, and going on to finish 14th in the grand final.

Icelandic ESC fans have endured 4 consecutive non-qualifications crowned by the ultimate humiliation last year in Lisbon of Ari Ólafsson finishing last in semi-final 1

His song is Hvað ef ég get ekki elskað? (What If I Cannot Have Love?) and, like Hera’s track, this doesn’t leap out as an amazing song, but neither can be ruled out because they are both established names in Iceland and while Hera brings excellent vocal capability, Friðrik will bring showmanship.

Svala, who competed in ESC 2017 with ‘Paper’, a non-qualifier in semi-final 1, participates this time as a songwriter with the song Nú og hér (What Are You Waiting For?) which will be performed by Þórdís Imsland.

This is a pleasant electro tune and its fate will rest in Þórdís’ hands and whether she can manage to elevate it on stage live. My prediction is an interesting staging concept for this one.

Icelandic ESC fans have endured 4 consecutive non-qualifications crowned by the ultimate humiliation last year in Lisbon of Ari Ólafsson finishing last in semi-final 1.

Hatari’s song, Hatrið mun sigra, could be the perfect protest choice, as it is a protest anthem, and people that normally wouldn’t vote for a Eurovision song might be motivated to do so, although their visual look on stage might prove alienating.

It could find an audience because Icelandic people have begun to dislike Eurovision and there is a vociferous crowd who are against the idea of Eurovision in Israel and demanding Iceland shouldn’t participate to make a political statement – with over 27,000 people signing a petition requesting the Icelandic State Broadcasting Corporation pull out of ESC 2019.

The tune certainly grabs your attention, though the screeching elements possibly detract from an otherwise interesting and modern composition. Jurors may well reward it for its originality and the group are also likely to put on a good show.

Other songs worthy of mention include Heiðrún Anna Björnsdóttir with her cool slice of electro pop, ‘Helgi’ (Sunday Boy), and the Faroese singer Kristina Skoubo Bærendsen with the retro-flavoured song ‘Ég á mig sjálf’ (Mama Said).

Jurors may well reward Hatrið mun sigra for its originality and Hatari are also likely to put on a good show

‘Jeijó, keyrum alla leið’ performed by Elli Grill, Skaði & Glymur is written by one of the nation’s most interesting songwriters, Bardi Johannsson (a.k.a. Bang Gang), with an updated and more chaotic version of his previous ESC effort, ’Hey hey hey ho ho’, which was runner-up in the 2008 national final behind Friðrik Ómar. So there is a possibility of a rematch in the final 2 if all that hate can be defeated.

In a poll run by visir.is – Iceland’s biggest online media site – Hatari is comfortably clear.

Youtube views is also a useful metric to see the current popularity of the songs, and if they are anything to go by Hatari is a very strong contender with 45k views vs 15k views for Elli Grill, Skaði & Glymur on the national broadcaster, RUV’s, YouTube channel.

Outside of Iceland, Hatari’s song has been catching the attention of a lot of ESC fans which will have had an impact on the YouTube views.

Hatari’s song title is translated as ‘Hate Will Conquer’ but it is not entirely clear cut whether the Icelandic people will follow the script and get behind it.

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