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  • Writer's pictureEmma Garrie

Would Iceland have won the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest?

We’ll never know how the results would have played out had the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest not been cancelled, but it's always fun to speculate as to what might have been.

We're going to take a look back at Iceland in 2020 and argue (hypothetically of course) that they most probably would have won the contest last year based on their results this year.

Let’s take a more detailed look at Iceland’s 2021 results...

Daði og Gagnamagnið went in to the Grand Final as 6th favourites with their entry '10 Years'.

Whilst many of the Eurofandom liked the studio version, there was a general consensus that the entry was not as strong as last year’s ‘Think About Things’.

This was backed up by many of the fan polls that take place in the weeks leading up to the competition. Our own Aussievision jury ranked the song in 17th place and users of the My Eurovision Scoreboard app had the song in 12th.

Better results came from the OGAE Australia poll which placed it 8th. The highest result came from the Eurojury (made up of artists, songwriters & musicians who have previously been involved with Eurovision or Junior Eurovision) who ranked it 5th.

Whilst Daði og Gagnamagnið were always expected to make the Grand Final, no-one was sure how well they would do, particularly given Eurofans had already seen them in 2020 and also in 2017 when they attempted to represent Iceland for the first time.

Throw COVID in to the mix and some felt they were out of the running. Their fate appeared sealed when the group were forced to skip the live performances and use their second rehearsal footage when dancer Jóhann Jóhannsson tested positive for COVID just before the second semi-final.

But there was no need to worry...both juries and the public loved the performance!

’10 Years’ finished in fourth place behind only Italy, France & Switzerland. It also came second in Semi Final 2, finishing a mere three points behind Switzerland.

The song was universally liked, finishing fifth with both juries and televoters. In fact, the song received jury votes from 28 countries and televote points from 29.

The Australian jury had it ranked third (8 points) but the Australian public loved it even fact we gave them our 12 points, ranking them in first place!

Of course they may have received a few extra votes from die-hard ‘Fire Saga’ fans but the fact that the song was hugely popular across so many countries suggests this would not have been a major factor in the results.

So if Iceland could come 4th in 2021 with a song that wasn't as popular before the contest, could they have won in 2020 with a song that was much more popular beforehand? The signs suggest that it was very probable.

In 2020, Iceland went in to the competition as 4th favourites. In the lead up to the competition, the studio version had wide appeal, particularly in Australia where it was the winner of SBS’s 'Big Night In' held in lieu of the song contest itself. 'Think About Things’ also won the poll at the online OGAE Australia Eurovision Fan Club Preview Party and our own Aussievision jury ranked it 4th.

Australians weren’t alone in their love for the song. Globally, it took out the 2020 Eurojury which correctly predicted previous winners Netta in 2018 and Duncan Laurence in 2019. It also won Eurostream which was made up of votes from contributors to various Eurovision related websites.

So who were Iceland's main competition last year? Based on last year’s odds Lithuania, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Russia & Italy were also the countries to watch. With Lithuania, Switzerland and Bulgaria all sending the same artists this year, we can make a few comparisons.

Lithuania’s 2021 entry ‘Discoteque’ was considered to be more jury friendly than 2020’s ‘On Fire’ yet could only manage 14th place from the juries this year. Given the similarity in style of the two songs, it is likely both would have received similar televote results. This year’s televoters had The Roop in sixth place and the song finished eighth overall. This suggests that last year they may have finished even lower down the score board and would not have won the competition.

Switzerland had two very similar entries in 2020 and 2021. Users of the My Eurovision Scoreboard app had ‘Tout L’Univers’ (2021) ranked first and 'Répondez-moi' (2020) ranked second. Gjon's Tears won the jury vote this year but ‘Tout L’Univers’ could only manage seventh with televoters, dropping the song to third overall. Given the similarity between the two songs, it is fair to say Switzerland would probably have achieved a similar result last year and is unlikely to have scored higher than Iceland.

The main competition may have come from Bulgaria. 2020's ‘Tears Getting Sober’ was the favourite going in to the competition. Victoria's 2021 entry ‘Growing Up Is Getting Old’ finished sixth with the juries but only 18th with televoters, finishing 11th overall. The two songs were similar in style but fans seemed to prefer the 2020 entry. Users of the My Eurovision Scoreboard app had it ranked 4th whereas this year’s entry could only manage 15th. Therefore it’s fair to say Bulgaria would have scored significantly better in the televote last year and could well have challenged for the title if the jury had scored it as well as this year's entry.

And just to make things more interesting we have Italy and Russia’s entries from 2020, both featuring different artists with songs from different genres to 2021.

You can't really compare Diodato's Italian ballad 'Fai rumore' to the glam rock of Måneskin's 'Zitti e buoni' but France’s Barbara Pravi may give us a better indication of where Italy may have finished last year. Whilst vastly different, both 'Fai rumore' and 'Voilà' were not only jury friendly but also admired by fans for their emotive performances in native language. With Barbara finishing second overall (2nd with juries, 3rd with televote) it’s highly likely that Diodato would also have been challenging for top spot last year.

And last but not least is Russia who went in to last year’s competition as fifth favourite. Little Big’s ‘Uno’ was an instant favourite with fans and the song became the most watched video ever on the contest's official YouTube channel. Last week it reached the milestone of 100,000,000 views so it’s fair to say it would have received a massive televote last year. But how it would have scored with the juries is anyone’s guess...and would some have written it off as a joke entry?

Of course we’ll never know what may or may not have happened but one interesting fact came from the Australian i-Tunes chart a day after this year's Grand Final. 2020’s ‘Think About Things’ was four places higher (57) than 2021’s ’10 Years’ (61) suggesting there was still more interest from Australians in last year’s entry than this year’s. All pointing to the fact that Iceland could well have won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020. Who knows, the contest may well have been coming to you from Reykjavik rather than Rotterdam this year!

What do you think? Given the better than expected result of Iceland in 2021, could 'Think About Things' have taken the crown in 2020?


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