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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Aussievision’s Icelandic National Final 'Söngvakeppnin 2020' rankings 1st to 5th

Over the last few weeks the Icelandic National Final ‘Söngvakeppnin 2020’ has taken place where 10 artists have competed in two Semi Finals. The five successful acts from the semi finals have now progressed to the Final which will take place on 29 February in Europe and 01 March in Australia.

In the final the top two entries will advance to the Superfinal. Then the winner will be decided.

To offer our own opinion on the performances, the Aussievision team ranked all the songs that will be in the Final. As there are only five songs the points were allocated from favourite to least favourite 12-10-8-6-4. Below is our full ranking list with comments from our team from 1st place to 5th.

1st place - Daði og Gagnamagnið 'Think About Things’ (104 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Emma, Mike, Steven, Dale and Kyriakos. 10 points from Liv and Ruby

  • Lows: 8 points from Fleur, Laura and Guy

Steven - Three-word summary: I LOVE THIS. I could really wax lyrical here, but I’ll try to contain myself. It’s a boptastic, keytar-featuring, awkward dance-inspiring masterpiece of an ear-worm. It’s my song of the national final season so far. And it makes me want to rush out and get a green jumper with a personalised avatar on it. Have I said I love it?!

Emma - I’ve loved Daði since he first graced the Söngvakeppnin stage in 2017.  I don’t like this song quite as much as his last offering but this has all the makings of a song that I want to see at Eurovision.  With The Roop representing Lithuania, this seems to be the year of the Eurovision mid-song dance routine and I’m all for it.  I found the meaning behind the lyrics fascinating – who’d have thought you could come up with a dance number about wondering what your baby daughter thinks about!

Dale - Daði was unlucky not to represent Iceland back in 2017 and he's back with another infectious dorky track. This has a great little melodic hook to hang on to and being accompanied by his unique dance troop really adds to the performance. They can probably tone down some of the overtop parts (the sax thing) keep the dead pan unexpected choreography. Would win over Eurofans and once-a-year watchers alike.

Mike - As much as I haven’t really been won over with the ‘loveable dork’ aesthetic of this, I can see what this has to offer. It’s catchy as hell & it’s quirkiness will charm many. I can’t see anything stopping this from heading to Rotterdam.

Kyriakos - I bloody love this!! It is my style of music that I love to listen to. Daði’s performance has been a hit and the music video is clever and infectious and that dancing…, it reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite meets Belgium’s 1980 Eurovision entry ‘Euro-Vision’ by Telex meets disco. I was all behind Iva winning Söngvakeppnin 2020 until I saw Daði’s music video. Mike was right disco is here in Eurovision. I want to get myself a green jumper.

Liv - This is one fun mesh of quirky-funk. It feels like it shouldn’t work at all on paper but similar to Hatari they’re committed to their art and are just selling it. It’s hard to describe but what this and Hatari have in common is a touch of tongue and cheek but not overtly – they respect that the viewer can follow along without spelling things out for them. Fabulous.

Ruby - This is simply unadulterated fun, with a great beat and vocal quirkiness. The live performance is incredible, the song has a wonderful sweet meaning, and in any other selection ‘Think About Things’ would be my number one pick to win.

Laura - Daði Freyr has his own unique style and energy, which certainly stands out from the crowd. The song is incredibly catchy and the choreography is so quirky it’s cool - I can see why it’s going viral at the moment! The story behind the song of Daði wanting to know what his baby daughter thinks about things is adorable, and it’s refreshing to hear about a subject not often explored in music. The only drawback is that his style isn’t one I’m as familiar or comfortable with as other songs in this selection, I don’t find it as accessible as others and as such, the song isn’t one I’m scrambling to listen to as regularly as others. Even though this song is in my third place, I would be happy to see it go to Rotterdam.

Fleur - I must admit that I did not think much of the studio version when I first heard it but I quickly changed my mind when I saw it performed live. This is my big improver. You can see that Daði is an experienced performer. This is a fun entry, possibly a challenger to The ROOP for whackiness- in a good way.

2nd - Iva ‘Oculis videre’ (98 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Ruby, Liv, Fleur and Laura. 10 points from Dale, Mike, Kyriakos and Guy

  • Lows: 4 points from Steven

Ruby - Chilling, sincere and alluring - ‘Oculis videre’ has a beautiful instrumental and striking operatic quality, and I’m beyond glad that Iva has decided to perform the Icelandic version of her song. That said it does lack a bit of vocal support that is present in the studio cut, and some more theatrics in the staging would be ideal: be it additional lighting elements or further movement by the backing singers.

Liv - Oh YES – this has a nice touch of folk mixed with that eerie enchanting operatic harmony is absolutely stunning. I get all sorts of goose bumps – there is such a wonderful build throughout this. It’s timed perfectly so that the melody doesn’t feel too repetitive or boring. As much as I HATE myself for saying this though I really could imagine this in the soundtrack of a Harry Potter movie…I guess I just worry *a little* if this went to Eurovision people might view it as a novelty rather than appreciate it for the artistic elements instead.

Fleur - This song is stunning and I thoroughly enjoy listening to it. I love the medieval, ethereal vibe that this gives. It is very unique, and I cannot recall hearing anything like this at Eurovision before. That said, the staging will have to vastly improve from the semi because I see a couple of strong challengers in the mix that could overshadow this.

Laura - I tend to love songs in the classical genre and ‘Oculis Videre’ is no exception. The story behind this song is incredibly moving and powerful. Iva was born with a genetic eye disorder and is blind, and ‘Oculis Videre’ is about her own perspective of sight and insight. Although the song is in Icelandic, it’s easy to connect to the emotional heart of the song through the power of the music without being able to understand the lyrics. My only concern is that because of its staging, it hasn’t translated in the live performance as well as I would have liked it to. Personally, I think the song speaks for itself, and there is a lot to love about it. The buildup of the classical instrumentation going into the final refrain is epic and the structure is musically engaging and unique, straying from the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus structure of traditional pop songs. Instead, it divides itself into two neat halves with appropriate repetition and crescendos throughout. ‘Oculis Videre’ is otherworldly and ethereal, reminding me of the mid-1990s Eurovision winners ‘Nocturne’ (Norway 1995) and ‘The Voice’ (Ireland 1996). I would be very excited if it won Söngvakeppnin!

Emma - 6 Staging looks like something from The Da Vinci Code – perhaps to distract from the sleepy Enya style performance.  Gorgeous vocals but this is just not something I’m inspired to listen to again.

Mike - Immediately striking and haunting. The mix of Íva’s vocal and the almost Gregorian chanting transports you to another place. The staging will be critical for this song. It needs to be as distinctive and atmospheric as the song. It will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but who love it will stick with it.

Kyriakos - This song is so beautiful. Iva’s voice is angelic. The song has a very personal story behind it which makes this song so touching. I was glad that she decided to stick to Icelandic language for the final. I am hoping for something more bigger for the staging in the final. I picture an explosion of florals or spring when the song has its uplifting moment, or even something like what Jamala did for her Eurovision winning performance in 2016. I am really looking forward to her performance.

Dale - This was my original favourite on studio. It's haunting, stops you in your tracks and you can let your imagination run wild with what's happening and the potential for staging. Live it was still good, but needed a lot more to bring that atmosphere. If they can bring it on the night, could easily be my favourite again.

Steven - An eerie, religious-sounding chant performed by a high priestess with a Latin title. This could certainly have dramatic staging potential, but as a song? No, this isn’t for me.

3rd - Nína ‘Echo’ (70 points)

  • Highs: 12 points from Guy. 10 points from Emma

  • Lows: 4 points from Ruby and Mike

Emma - Probably the most radio friendly track of the Icelandic offering.  Nina has great stage presence and there’s a lot to like about this.  Could get lost in the pack though if it is selected for Rotterdam.

Liv - A pretty little number and I think it sounds very nice in Icelandic – probably doesn’t really do anything we haven’t seen before, it is a nice package nonetheless.

Steven - A more contemporary sounding track with a decent vocal, but I’m disappointed by the chorus (assuming there actually is one), thus making the overall impression somewhat unsatisfying for me.

Kyriakos - Another enjoyable song in the final with a more contemporary sound. Nína sounds great. The song has a nice build up and movement into the chorus. She had a great presence on the stage during the semi. Not as risky as some other songs in the final show line up.

Laura - ‘Echo’ is a nice, chill yet upbeat pop song, but it didn’t stand out a lot in this particular lineup and I think Nína had a few vocal hiccups in her semi final performance. Nonetheless, I like listening to the studio recording of this song - I hope she can elevate her performance in the final!

Dale - A really like Nina, I'd love to see her back at Söngvakeppnin again. This song is cute, pleasant but just falls from the pack with lack of impact.

Fleur - I think Nina has great stage presence. She connects with the audience really well unfortunately her song is not memorable enough for me. Her vocals need a little improving but she has potential.

Ruby - A very sweet entry with a lovely build and staging – there isn’t anything major I could point out in ‘Echo’ to improve, apart from it just falling to the background in the field of strong competition.

Mike - This is a very Scandi-style pop number. Nína has a good vibe but the song is just a little forgettable and uninspiring. I’d like to see Nína back another year with a cracking song.

=4th - DIMMA ‘Almyrkvi’ (64 points)

  • Highs: 10 points from Fleur. 8 points from Ruby, Dale, Mike and Kyriakos

  • Lows: 4 points from Liv, Emma, Laura, Guy

Fleur - This is music to my teenage, hair rock ears. I love this sort of music. The lead singer has a great stage presence. The whole package looks great on stage. Fantastic.

Ruby - For a rock entry I find this song super easy to listen to, yet it does sound a little dated. A good jam, with solid vocals, but I wish the guitars had been turned up a touch.

Mike - A good old fashioned rock song! This feels authentic to the band and the vocal is pretty solid throughout. Not a fan of the drop in tempo in the chorus, but if the semi final is anything to go by the band should do another good performance

Kyriakos - DIMMA sound awesome live! Great to hear an Icelandic rock song in the final. I believe they could be the dark horse to cause the biggest upset and take out the whole national final. Eurovision 2020 is in desperate need for some rock band presence.

Dale - Oh there was SO much opportunity here. The verses are great melodic rock, it's high energy and gets you right into it. Then the chorus..... just no! Why slow down the tempo and lose everything you've built? Saying that the chorus is good, the rest of the song is good, just not together! Such a wasted opportunity. Repeat after me: Chorus tempo slow downs do not work.

Steven - This is a competent entry but it leaves me a little cold. Having said that, I’m pleased to see rock featuring in a national final and I don’t mind listening to this. To be honest, I was a little distracted by the drummer 😍

Laura - While I do like hard rock and metal as genres, I don’t think this is one of the better examples of this genre of music. Although Dimma comes across as energetic on stage and performed this song well, the song for me unfortunately sounds a tad dated.

Liv - I don’t mind this but I just feel like I’ve heard it before – not bad but just doesn’t stand out for me.

Emma - Great to see Icelandic rock making the national final but I found it difficult to connect with this one.  Staging needed to convey stronger message or perhaps would have been better sung in English so people could get more of a sense of what the song is about.

=4th - Ísold & Helga ‘Meet Me Halfway’ (64 points)

  • Highs: 10 points from Steven and Laura. 8 points from Emma

  • Lows: 4 points from Fleur, Dale and Kyriakos

Steven - A strong opening, two good vocals, a catchy chord progression for the title, and it kicks up a gear partway through. This tale of love lost (and potentially regained) would be perfect for a romcom sound track... and I would listen to it.

Laura - This song sounds like it came straight off the Frozen soundtrack. Am I the only one who imagines this as a duet between two women in a relationship with each other? ‘Meet Me Halfway’ flows nicely from beginning to end - it’s simple enough to be accessible and the lyrics are vague enough that listeners can project their own meaning onto it, and that is its strength as well as its weakness. Ísold and Helga deliver a vocally solid performance and their voices complement each other nicely.

Emma - Half decent ballad here with a slight country style.  Iceland seems to have its most successful years at Eurovision when it selects something quite ‘out there’.  This could be too middle of the road.

Mike - This has a charming vibe. Both ladies are good vocalists and they blend well. It builds nicely, but unfortunately it does really reach much of a crescendo. It’s pleasant nonetheless.

Ruby - A catchy hook and a lovely progression, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ comes alive on stage with Ísold & Helga showcasing stellar vocals. However, this song is a bit too reminiscent of Germany’s 2019 act ‘Sister’ and I wish it was to be kept in Icelandic.

Liv - Some schlager goodness in here – it really does pick up in that last minute to finish strong! Not really my cup of tea overall – but still enjoyable.

Kyriakos - It’s a very pleasant easy listening song, which I have to admit I enjoy to listen to. Both Ísold and Helga have a nice chemistry on stage though the song doesn’t come across as strong or unique as the others in the Final.

Dale - Love their energy and their voices, but everything is just a little dated and feels a distant fifth in this line up.

Fleur - This is giving me ‘Sisters’ vibes although I prefer this as a song. I think I would prefer it in Icelandic rather than English though. But overall, it does not do much for me.


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