Iceland’s Eurovision Hopes Dashed As Controversy Swirls Skip to content

Iceland’s Eurovision Hopes Dashed As Controversy Swirls

By Ragnar Tómas

Eurovision Söngvakeppnin 2020 Daði Freyr Dimma
Photo: Golli.

Iceland’s Eurovision entry did not advance from the semi-finals yesterday, amidst controversies linked to the Gaza conflict. Meanwhile, a solidarity concert in Reykjavík raised funds for Gaza through UNICEF and the Red Cross.

Slim chances

Iceland’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, Scared of Heights performed by Hera Björk Þórhallsdóttir, did not advance from the first semi-final round held last night in Malmö, Sweden. Prior to the semi-finals, it had become evident that Hera’s chances of advancing were slim, having decreased from 19% to 10% with the bookies.

Yesterday, ten countries advanced to the Eurovision finals, which will take place on Saturday night.


Protests, controversy

Iceland’s participation in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has not been without controversy. In January, RÚV announced that it would postpone its decision on Iceland’s participation in Eurovision until after the national Song Contest concluded and in consultation with its winner. The decision followed protests relating to Israel’s participation in Eurovision amid the Gaza conflict.

As noted by, many find Israel’s participation jarring due to their actions in Gaza and given that Russia was excluded from the competition two years ago following their invasion of Ukraine.

During yesterday’s semi-final, a solidarity concert for Gaza took place at Háskólabíó in Reykjavík. President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was in attendance. As noted by Vísir, all proceeds from the concert will go towards humanitarian aid for Gaza through UNICEF and the Red Cross. Performers included Ásgeir Trausti, GDRN, Emmsjé Gauti, Una Torfa, Ellen Kristjánsdóttir, Eyþór Gunnarsson, Systur, Sigríður Thorlacius, Pálmi Gunnarsson, TÁR, Svala Björgvins, and Friðrik Dór.

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