Over the weekend, Icelandic broadcaster RUV unveiled the twelve songs in contention to represent Iceland at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in May. The songs will battle it out in Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin contest, which this year takes the form of three shows.
The first semi-final takes place on February 10th, and the second on February 17th. From each semi, six songs become three. And then those six songs compete in the big final on March 3rd.
It’s fair to say that it’s not the best Söngvakeppnin line-up we’ve had in recent years. And if Iceland couldn’t make the Eurovision final with the strong entries they delivered over the last couple of years, it’s difficult to hear how any of the below songs will change their fortunes for the better.
Still, the selection of songs makes for a pleasant enough listen for the most part – even if there’s nothing that stands out as earth-shattering, or at the very least, hugely competitive in an ESC context.
Here we’ve ranked the twelve from best to worst. Because Christ knows, the presentation of this lot needed an interesting spin put on it.
Fókus hópurinn – Aldrei gefast upp/Battleline
We’ve put this on top because it’s a super cheesy, rousing, mid-tempo ballad that’s been produced and performed well. It’s so dated that Iceland might well be laughed off the ESC stage were they to send this. But we’ve never been afraid of being mocked for our music tastes, and we ain’t ashamed to say that we love this.
Guðmundur Þórarinsson – Litir/Colours
The most contemporary song here, and perhaps Iceland’s best shot at qualifying to the final. Definitely the most sensible option to choose as the winner.
Rakel Pálsdóttir – Óskin mín/My Wish
A pretty engaging and rather lovely track. But Maria Olafs did the whole Disney ballad thing a lot better for Iceland a few years back. And, well let’s not revisit what happened there…
Ari Ólafsson – Heim/Our Choice
Ari delivers a ballad that has designs on the epic. Westlife would be quite impressed with this. Almost enough to cover it. As an album track.
Aron Hannes – Golddigger/Gold Digger
Comparisons to Bruno Mars will be inevitable. And quite generous. This song was particularly disappointing as Aron contributed such a great track last year.
Tómas Helgi Wehmeier & Sólborg Guðbrandsdóttir – Ég og þú/Think It Through
We might’ve ranked this one a bit higher had things not totally fallen apart and derailed for the most important part – the chorus. If you can call that a chorus.
Heimilistónar – Kúst og fæjó
This faux-town track has its charms. Though with the group seemingly having neglected to submit the song in English as well as Icelandic, one has to question even their own confidence that they’ll go anywhere in this competition.
Þórunn Antonía – Ég mun skína/Shine
We had high hopes for Thorunn Antonia, based on the stellar tunes she was delivering five years ago. But she’s let us down, she’s let herself down, and most devastatingly of all, she’s let Iceland down.
Þórir Geir Guðmundsson & Gyða Margrét Kristjánsdóttir – Brosa/With You
The year’s token folk-pop effort. We use the word ‘effort’ kindly here.
Áttan – Hér með þér/Here For You
A totally inoffensive track that draws upon 90s r&b stylings for its influences. Badly.
Dagur Sigurðarson – Í stormi/Saviour
This chap’s got an admirable vocal on him. Totally wasted on this dross. But if he can fly under the radar as incognito as he deserves to with this song, then his career as a singer may well be salvageable.
Stefanía Svavarsdóttir, Agnes Marinósdóttir & Regína Lilja Magnúsdóttir – Svaka stuð/Heart Attack
It’s ludicrous that not one, but THREE artists have put their names to this song. In fairness, the chorus and middle eight vaguely come off as a valiant attempt at producing a disco track. But the verses are unforgivably amateur.