Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of around 5-6 weeks where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with Iceland who have never won the contest but have come 2nd twice and finished top 10 on 3 other occasions in 28 appearances. They have also come last on two occasions. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE and Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE
So this year Iceland are represented by Greta Salóme with the song ‘Hear Them Calling’. We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for Iceland but the overall reaction is fairly positive so far. You can look back at our article telling you some things you might not know about Greta HERE
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Iceland are this year celebrating thirty years at Eurovision since their first entry competed in 1986.
First off I am going to choose one of the worst entries for Iceland. Back in 2006 in Athens we were subjected to Sylvia Night with ‘Congratulations’.
Now Sylvia Night is a fictional satirical character devised and played by Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir. The song and character caused nothing but controversy from start to finish. The song had been distributed online before the cut off date but this was allowed. Then in Athens Sylvia upset fans, journalists and more importantly the Greeks too. When she arrived on stage in the Semi Final there was a noticeable amount of booing from the audience. The performance of the song itself was outlandish and also controversial because of a certain swear word that she insisted on keeping in. On the night she sang the word freaking instead of the original word. Iceland came 13th with 62 points therefore failing to make the Final.
Moving along now to look at one of the best entries we have seen from Iceland. We go back to 1999 and we are in Jerusalem where we see Selma with the song ‘All Out Of Luck’.
Now Selma was in the rather unaccustomed position for Iceland of being one of the pre-contest favourites. We saw a vibrant vocal and visual dance display from the two ‘eejits’ as Terry Wogan said. When it came to the voting Selma shot into an early lead but was gradually pegged back by Sweden. She was narrowly behind when the penultimate set of votes from Bosnia awarded Sweden 12 and Iceland 0. So ended in 2nd place with Iceland’s best result to date with 146 points.
The next entry that was one of Iceland’s worst entries was from Halle Margret with the song ‘Hægt og hljótt‘ which graced the stage in Brussels in 1987.
Now this was only Iceland’s 2nd entry and remarkably it finished in the same position as the first one, 16th, but with a few more points, 28. The song was a rather aimless ballad with a very laid back style that did not catch many imaginations. It was about the end of an evening at a restaurant or a nightclub, at which point “We all disappear slowly and quietly into the night”. Sounds like my kind of night out these days.
Back to another entry from Iceland that brought them their best result up to that point. The year was 1990 and we were in Zagrab to see the group Stjórnin perform the song ‘Eitt lag enn‘.
Now I really loved this song which was a love duet about each others desire to dance to one more song with each other. Boy did they take that lyric to heart with a lively and memorable dance routine. The consequence being it came in 4th position with 124 points.
So moving on and my final song from Iceland that I think is one of the worst entries is from 1989 in Lausanne. The performer was Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson with the song ‘Það sem enginn sér‘(What No one Sees).
Now I always felt this was doomed from the start. In the National Final for Iceland that year Daniel won a cactus for getting the golden ticket to Eurovision. I think he was still miffed come the contest itself as his style of presenting his ballad was very lacklustre indeed. It went on to receive null points in the voting finishing 22nd and last. The song become known in Iceland as “Það sem enginn heyrði” ( What No one Heard) due to it’s abysmal result.
So I have reached my last song for Iceland and it’s a case of saving the best bestie till last. The year was 2009 and we got to see Yohanna perform in Moscow with the classy ‘Is It True?’
Now this song is a power ballad with a fantastic vocal and as is traditional in Iceland included backing singers who went on to represent Iceland in future years( Fredrik Omar and Hera Bjork). It finished in 2nd place with 218 points.It went on to chart success in 14 European countries including the UK.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into Icelandic Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland