What’s happening tonight? After having two heats, Icelandic broadcaster RUV tonight host the final of Söngvakeppnin 2020 – and Iceland gets its 33rd Eurovision entry to date.
How has the contest coped with that black, doomsday shadow that Hatari had cast over the whole thing? Tough act to follow, right? Actually, pretty well, as it’s turned out, with one of the songs going stratospherically viral – much in the same way as those beloved hell-raisers from last year managed. We’ve had everyone from Russell Crowe, Rylan Clark-Neal, The Hoosiers and *checks notes* Lady Di’s wedding dress designer, David Emanuel, throwing their weight behind one song in particular. And in the final line-up, much like last year’s national final, we have the viral fave looking like it’ll be going head to head with the purist fan fave.
And will Hatari be making an appearance? They will. They’ve been invited to perform as the interval act, as have last year’s Eurovision televote winners from Norway, KEiiNO. What a thoroughly cracking evening of entertainment, right there!
How do I watch? Wherever you are in the world, you can watch the whole thing unfold right here at 20:45 CET.
Oh, and like, who’s actually competing and with what? Let’s meet the five finalists, in the order they’ll be performing;
(note: all of the performances below are from the semi-finals, and have been performed in Icelandic, as is obligatory. But songs one to four will be performed in English tonight)
Meet Me Halfway – Ísold & Helga
A sweet piano tinkler that builds and builds into, well, not much, truth be told. It’s like it set out to be anthemic, but then chose to meet the brief only halfway, and landed on that as a name, too.
Think About Things – Daði & Gagnamagnið
The aforementioned viral hit. There was excitement enough from some quarters once Daði’s name appeared in the mix, thanks to the show-stealing (though not contest-winning) performance he turned in when he competed back in 2017. But once the music video to ‘Think About Things’ got released, that’s when things really took off. The charming, tongue-in-cheek presentation of his song led to all manner of A-list Hollywood stars and D-list British reality TV personalities to publicly share their love for the song. And this in turn led to cries from parts of the ESC fandom of the whole thing being sponsored by Netflix, as part of some effort to promote the film it’s making about the Eurovision Song Contest (in which Will Ferrell will be playing a lank-haired Icelandic musician hoping to win for his country). But we don’t even know where to begin unpicking the absurdities of the idea of the streaming giant paying India Willoughby ten grand for a supportive tweet about Daði’s song, so we’ll leave that to you to mull over. Anyway, the whole thing has been summed up quite nicely right here, by The Independent, no less. There are currently a whole lot of folks outside of the usual Eurovision bubble who are dying to see this go to Rotterdam for Iceland. And as such, if it does, it will most definitely build upon the foundations laid by Hatari last year in seeing to it that Iceland, while not yet having scored a win at the contest, ends up getting the reputation of being the absolute baller of Eurovision.
Echo – Nína
This is a song that is also competing.
Oculis Videre – Iva
The fan favourite of the Eurovision purists. We say ‘purists’ because this song harks back to a time 25 years ago when the Eurovision Song Contest was won by songs like the iconic ‘Nocturne’. ‘Oculis Videre’ is much in the same vein. It has a haunting vocal, a classical melody, and it builds into an exciting crescendo. And its performance, while stripped back and unassuming, could well be powerful enough to stand up against the might of the hype surrounding Daði.
Almyrkvi – Dimma
The metal band are already well established in their native Iceland, with a rich history behind them, as well as a hell of a lot of fans. There is always the possibility that the Icelandic people will choose this to go to Rotterdam, as some perceived successor to last year’s entry. But to us, that would be a mistake. Not because of the genre, or even the idea – but just because the song’s not right, really. Nordic metal can be done well AND tailored perfectly towards Eurovision, as we’ve heard in plenty of Nordic national finals over the years. But this ain’t it.