Iceland knows what’s up when it comes to Eurovision, with pretty consistent qualifications over the years. It wasn’t until 2015 where things started to get a bit rocky for the nation, with two years in a row failing to make the final, much to the surprise of Eurovision fans. This year, the usual national final was used to select their act, and Svala triumphed pretty convincingly with her song Paper. Is this Iceland’s ticket back to the final?
This was one of my early favourites during the Icelandic national final, and was pretty happy to see it triumph. It’s quite a modern, electronic, but yet simple tune that has an extremely strong voice behind it. As with all the Icelandic national final songs, Icelandic and English versions were recorded, where the Icelandic versions were performed in the semi-finals, and then it’s the artists choice in the final. Naturally, Svala switched over to English, but the song still held a lot of strength in Icelandic. I suppose what is lost in the Icelandic version is that simplicity of Svala singing the lyric of ‘Paper’ at the start of the choruses, which I think is something that is memorable to viewers and listeners. One criticism that I do have is that I find it to be quite repetitive as the song goes along, and it would have been nice to see something really unique as the bridge, as this song is experimental enough to be able to pull off something quite out there. By the last chorus, it does drag on a bit, because you’re just listening to what you’ve already heard numerous times throughout the song. Minor criticism, but it could make the difference between a qualifier and a non-qualifier.
One really great thing about this song however is the opportunity to really get groovy with the staging. The electronic elements to the song really meld well with laser lights and flashing lights. It’s such a simple thing, but it really is effective. I enjoyed her national final performance staging, although I would worry about her looking quite small on stage unless good camera angles are used. I will be quite interested to see how they do this on stage, it has big potential.
Overall, this is a song that at first I really enjoyed, but as time goes by, I’m starting to lose interest. I still think it’s a nice song, but I genuinely don’t know if it will be enough to send Iceland back to the final. Svala is definitely a very capable performer, and she has the potential to absolutely slay on stage, but time will tell if this is what Iceland needed to redeem themselves! For me, this is a 6/10. Some great features, but just not enough for me.