Daði Freyr and Gagnamagnið qualified for the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 yesterday, despite being unable to attend due to two members of the Icelandic crew and Gagnamagnið testing positive for COVID-19. Daði Freyr and non-COVID-infected members of Gagnamagnið were hoping to make it to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena as spectators for Eurovision’s Grand Final tomorrow, but the leader of the Icelandic delegation Felix Bergsson has stated that that is highly unlikely. After one of the band members was diagnosed with COVID-19, Daði og Gagnamagnið did not perform on stage yesterday during the Semi-Finals, a recording from the performance’s on-stage rehearsal was aired instead.
A long and winding road
After it was confirmed that Jóhann Sigurður Jóhannsson had tested positive for COVID-19, Daði og gagnamagnið – Iceland’s representatives in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest – the band announced that it would not perform in the Semi-Finals and that a recording from their second rehearsal would be used as their entry. Despite being the first act in the history of the contest to participate without performing on stage, the band qualified for the Grand Final yesterday, celebrating the news from a makeshift “green room” at their hotel room in Rotterdam.
Daði og Gagnamagnið will be the 12th act on stage at the Finals tomorrow, following Switzerland and preceding Spain. According to Eurovision World, bookmakers predict that Daði Freyr og Gagnamagnið will place sixth in the competition, with Italy and France being the favourites.
When asked about the Finals Night in an interview with RÚV, Daði Freyr stated that he hoped that he and the non-infected members of Gagnamagnið can make it to the Ahoy arena: “We’ve made it to the Finals, which was our goal. I had previously decided that I would draw up a new plan in the event that we qualified. But there’s not much that we can do as we’re not allowed to stand on stage.”
The COVID-19 infection is another development in what some have come to see an almost tragic turn of events in the Daði Freyr Eurovision saga. Daði Freyr og Gagnamagnið lost to singer Svala in Iceland’s 2017 Television Song Contest (which determines Iceland’s representative at the Eurovision Song Contest). The band returned to the Television Song Contest in 2019, winning the competition with the song Think About Things, which many believed was a strong entry. After the cancellation of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest due to the COVID pandemic, Daði Freyr og Gagnamagnið were invited to represent Iceland in the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, without having to qualify by traditional means. Just as it appeared as if Daði and his band would finally be given the opportunity to perform on the big stage at Eurovision, their hopes were dashed by an unexpected COVID infection.
This article has been updated.