Best of the Bunch: Iceland

Iceland has now participated in Eurovision 30 times, with their debut year 1986. Since their participation, the northern nation has missed only two contests and they’ve come 2nd twice (one of which we’ll be discussing today). Today we’ll be beginning our Best of the Bunch journey in 2006 and continuing on until 2015 (to keep continuity with all Best of the Bunch posts), where we will recap the acts and then it’s up to you to vote for your Best of the Bunch!

We’re starting off with a controversial entry here, and if you’ve watched this far back, you’ll know what I mean! Silvia Night is a satirical character known in Iceland, and what better way to represent your nation by sending a comedian – because historically, that has gone down REAL well with viewers (not). Silvia caused a bit of drama after the contest after her song Congratulations failed to qualify for the final by throwing a massive tantrum, where even the journalists weren’t safe from her abusive words. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting song even without the drama!

The following year, Iceland returned to relative normality by choosing Eiríkur Hauksson with the English language song called Valentine Lost. Most likely inspired by Lordi’s win the year previous, Iceland tried the whole rock thing, but yet still missed out on the final, finishing in 13th place with 77 points – the same position of Silvia Night the year previous.

In 2008, Iceland sent a dynamic duo to tackle the task of bringing Iceland back to the final. Euroband was the name of the duo, and featured Friðrik Ómar and Regína Ósk. Their song was an upbeat dance number titled This is My Life, and it just squeezed through the final in 8th place, then finishing in the final at 14th with 64 points.

The next year, Yohanna was chosen to represent the nation with the English language ballad Is It True. It was somewhat of an unlucky year for Yohanna to be stuck in, with Norway’s Alexander Rybak running away with the Eurovision win. Despite that, Iceland managed to score their second 2nd place with an impressive 218 points.

In 2010, it was Hera Björk’s turn to represent Iceland with up-tempo pop entry Je ne sais quoi. It was one of the favourites, proved by the fact it qualified into the final in 3rd position, however during the final, it didn’t reach the same heights, leaving fans like myself a bit disappointed! In the end, it finished in 19th place with 41 points.

The following year, a tragedy struck Iceland’s national final, where one of the participants, Sjonni Brink passed away just days before getting the chance to perform his song Aftur Heim. As a gesture of solidarity, Sjonni’s real life musician friends gathered together to form a tribute band in order to perform the song in the national final, and then they went on to Eurovision. The song was translated into English and titled Coming Home, and it was a very special Eurovision performance, which earned them 20th place in the final.

In 2012, another dynamic duo took to the stage, comprising of Greta Salóme & Jónsi, the latter having performed at Eurovision back in 2004, and of course Greta participated in 2016 again, but solo. The dramatic ballad style song featuring some violining that even Rybak would be jealous of ended up in 20th position in the grand final once again.

The next year, Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson, or Thor as we’re nicknaming him, was chosen to represent Iceland, and for the first time in a long while (1997 to be exact), the Icelandic representative actually sung in Icelandic language! The song was called Ég á líf, and his brooding looks helped him score a place in the final, finishing in 17th place with 47 points.

In 2014, the band Pollapönk won the national final, and therefore the right to represent Iceland at Eurovision, held in Copenhagen that year. The band wore colourful suits, and had a colourful backdrop all in the name of equality. The song was called No Prejudice, and amongst fan certainty that it wouldn’t qualify, it went against the odds, and even finished at 15th place in the final, the best since Yohanna in 2009.

This brings us to the last song we’ll be talking about today. María Ólafsdóttir was chosen to represent the nation, and she took the English version of her song, called Unbroken to the stage with a beautiful staging concept. Unfortunately, on the night, things just didn’t go her way, and she ended up in 15th place in the semi-final.

And there you have it! 10 years of Icelandic entries, and now it’s up to you to decide which act is the Best of the Bunch!