Iceland: Söngvakeppnin 2020 – Review

ICELAND

In this post, I will review the 10 competing songs of the Icelandic selection for Eurovision 2020: Söngvakeppnin 2020.

Söngvakeppnin 2020 will include two semi-finals and final.
5 acts will compete in each semi-final. Two acts will qualify for the final from each semi-final.
The jury will have the right to give a wildcard to one of the 6 candidates that didn’t qualify for the final.
Therefore, the final will include 4-5 songs.
Following Söngvakeppnin 2020 rules, every artist must perform in Icelandic in the semi-finals. In the final, every artist has the ability to sing in English or Icelandic.
The semi-finals will be held on the 8th and 15th of February 2020. The final will be held on the 29th of February 2020.

(Semi-Final 1 (8th of February 2020

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#1. Kid Isak Ævintýri (Eng: Adventure)

It’s a Funky Pop Rap song with the 1980s elements.  The opening is interesting, but the verses are pretty weak. The majority of Kid‘s singing is actually talking. The song should have included a massive beat. At the moment, the song seems to me very periodic.
In my opinion, an English version could have been more suitable. It remains a light and cute song. Unfortunately, nothing beyond.

#2. Brynja Mary – Augun þín / In Your Eyes

It’s a fresh Pop song. Brynja who is barely 16 years old shows self-confidence. Her voice is deep and versatile. The song is totally radio-friendly. The entry has 2 versions: Icelandic and English. They both sound good. The English version is a little bit kitschy but has more potential in conquering the listeners. The song is decent. but lacks the “X-Factor”.

 

#3. DIMMA – Almyrkvi

The song starts as an old-fashioned ballad with the smokey voice of the lead singer. Afterward, it transforms into a Metal Rock song. the drums and electric guitars are dominant in the melody. It becomes a battle between the singer and the musical instruments. The structure of the song is just wrong. Eurovision needs more Rock songs, but this one is just amateurish and isn’t interesting. I suppose that the band is trying to follow the footsteps of Hatari.

 

#4. Elísabet Ormslev– Elta þig / Haunting

It’s a Soul Pop Gospel song. Elísabet returns to the national selection after her wonderful “Aw N’y” in 2016.
Elísabet has a wide vocal range. From the first second of the songs, it’s crystal clear that we have a gold mine here. I love both the Icelandic and the English version. The way she pronounces the English lyrics is nothing less than perfect. The song really stands out. I would like to mention the beautiful instrumental break at 1:48-2:06.
The entry has a staging potential which will require from Elísabet to dance.
Her vocal performance is convincing. In fact, the song has great potential in being worldwide hit. Well done!

#5. Ísold & Helga – Klukkan tifar / Meet Me Halfway

It’s a Disney/Fairytale ballad. The song has 2 versions: Icelandic and English.
It starts very quietly and it gains power as the song continues. The two ladies complete each other with their different voices. When they show off her vocal abilities, it becomes more interesting. In my opinion, the Icelandic version is more magical. Nevertheless, I don’t think that we meet here the right song for Eurovision. It may disappear between other songs.
In addition, we have heard a lot of songs that belong to this style before.

My Ranking –  Semi-Final 1

#1. Elísabet Ormslev
#2. Brynja Mary
#3. Ísold & Helga
#4. Kid Isak
#5. DIMMA

 

Semi-Final 2 (8th of February 2020)

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#1. Daði and Gagnamagnið – Gagnamagnið / Think About Things

Daði returns to the national selection after he has finished as a runner-up in 2017.
It’s a Disco Pop with influences of the 1980s music. It is opened with a low and deep voice with an almost “naked melody”. Afterward, the electronic musical keyboards enter the melody. There is a use of female backing vocalists. The problem is the song isn’t interesting enough. In my opinion, all the electronic processing is more than a genre or an attitude: it’s a trial to cover the lack of the song. Daði’s singing becomes boring from a specific point

#2. Hildur Vala – Fellibylur (Eng: Hurricane)

It’s a mystical dark ballad with Blues and Jazz elements. Hildur embraces the listeners with her voice. The verses may be a little bit boring. However, the chorus is excellent.
The song is an old fashioned ballad, but it could be revamped in an effective way.
I would be glad to hear an English version of the song which doesn’t exist.
The style of the song fits to the Albanian national selection.
For the ones who attracted to “James Bond theme songs”, it could be a sweet home.

#3. Iva – Oculis Videre  (From Latin: The Eye Sees)

 

The song is opened with dramatic drums sound. Then, it transforms into a ballad from the 1990s. The song reminds me a little of “Secret Garden”, the winning song of Eurovision 1995.
She uses an angelic operatic voice with high notes. The song is spiritual and dramatic.
Iva is blind, in contrast to the title of the song “The Eye Sees”. The song fits to be a theme song of a historical movie. It can be effective on the Eurovision stage, especially with the right staging. The entry is risky: It can make people bored or extremely excited.

#4. Matti Matt – Dreyma

Matti was a member of the band Sjonni’s Friends that represented Iceland in Eurovision 2011 and ended in the 20th place.
The song is a typical and old-fashioned male ballad that used to be sung at least once in every edition of Söngvakeppnin. The melody is based on piano playing. For me, the song is pretty flat, having no curves or edges. The style may be described as a lullaby.
The evolution in the song is a result of the use of different voice tone, while the song lacks any process.

#5. Nína – Ekkó / Echo

The song is a mid-tempo soft Pop. The song exists in 2 versions: Icelandic and English. Personally, I prefer the Icelandic version. It sounds like a song that was released in the years 2000-2005. The electro-dance production of the song lifts it up and it’s very typical to the Icelandic music industry. It’s sweet, but predictable in a specific way.
One of the advantages of the song is the violin which tends to appear shortly (I wish it would be more common).

My Ranking –  Semi-Final 2

#1. Iva
#2. Hildur Vala
#3. Nína
#4. Daði
#5. Matti Matt

My Overall ranking 

#1.Elísabet Ormslev
#2.Brynja Mary
#3. Iva
#4. Hildur Vala
#5. Nína
#6. Isold & Helga
#7. Daði
#8. Kid Isak
#9. Matti Matt
#10. DIMMA

I live in Israel and watch Eurovision since the early 2000s. I work as a mathematician but have a big interest in singing, music, and writing

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