Celebrating Icelandic National Day with some of their most memorable moments
Today is Þjóðhátíðardagurinn – the Icelandic National Day, celebrating 76 years of Icelandic independence and the birthday of independence campaigner Jón Sigurðsson.
Despite never winning in almost 35 years of competition, they’ve brought us a particularly diverse suite of performers and performances, from Hera Björk to Hatari – it’s no wonder that Will Ferrell saw them as the perfect subject for a film about our beloved Contest.
To celebrate the nation a few of us here at Aussievision have shared some classic Icelandic moments in the contest.
Laura: Páll Óskar – ‘Minn hinsti dans’ (1997)
“I would argue that one of the greatest moments in Icelandic Eurovision history has to be ‘Minn hinsti dans’ by Páll Óskar, who was one of the first openly gay (at the time of performing) artists to perform at Eurovision.
With latex costumes, dancers that looked like they came straight out of Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour, suggestive choreography, drum-n-bass beats, and lyrics about living a hedonistic lifestyle but having no regrets about it, this performance was certainly eyebrow-raising to say the least!”
Dale: Hera Björk – ‘Je ne sais quoi’ (2010)
“In 2010 there were two Icelandic forces that rocked Europe. The first was the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano that grounded flights and caused travel chaos for weeks, the second was Hera Björk and her Eurodance banger ‘Je ne sais quoi’.
The two of them combined in one magical moment in the green room when Hera presented a replica smoking volcano to the millions of viewers watching. It of course reminded them of the chaos Iceland had caused (is that why she didn’t do better?) but also showed the irreverent humour Iceland have brought to the competition over the years.”
Liv – Yohanna – ‘Is It True?’ (2009)
“Probably Yohanna's 2nd place in 2009 - this is a nation that loves their Eurovision but after than near win I think it really made them hungry for that victory. I can see a lot of love put into every entry since.”
Ruby – Sjonni’s Friends – ‘Coming Home’ (2011)
“Perhaps Iceland's most formative moment comes from a band that formed from heartbreak: 'Coming Home'. This song, performed by the group following the tragic passing of the original song's singer, is brimming with emotion, with this feature, of an abundance of sincere passion, being the defining feature that Icelandic entries have carried through in subsequent entries.”
Jayde: Hatari – ‘Hatrið mun sigra’ (2019)
“I witnessed the moment they pulled the Palestine flags out - the arena was WILD.”
Miles: Pollapönk - 'No Prejudice' (2014)
And as for me? I have a long-standing love affair with Pollapönk, and their 2014 entry ‘No Prejudice’.
2014 was the first year I watched Eurovision in full, and Pollapönk summed up everything that truly enchanted me about the Contest – an ever so slightly happy-go-lucky, fun yet heartfelt group who just wanted everyone to get along.
Iceland is one of a select group of countries that could send a sprightly Wigglish kids’ band one year and a ghoulish, award-winning, anti-capitalist, techno-BDSM performance art collective a few years after that.
Not to mention, the rhyming of “thinner” and “one who loves his dinner” remains one of the all-time great lyrical antonyms.
So, here’s to Iceland – the home of kooky, progressive, diverse, yet earnest, heartfelt music. Long may their technicolour dreams bless us at Eurovision.