Daði Freyr in Eurovision 2021

Daði Freyr Pétursson and his band Gagnamagnið will perform Iceland’s entry to the Rotterdam Eurovision Song Contest next May. RÚV approached the musician who agreed to write a song for the contest.  Daði won the local song contest Söngvakeppnin this year with the song Think about Things, which was well received internationally. He was considered a frontrunner for this year’s Eurovision, cancelled due to the global pandemic.

Read more about Daði Freyr’s Think About Things win

Once this year’s contest was cancelled, participating countries were informed they could send their chosen competitor to next year’s contest but they would have to bring a new song. Alternatively, they could have a new competition, choosing a new contestant and song.

Daði told Berliner Zeitung last week that he was ready to participate in the song contest but only if he would be asked to. “Taking part in the preliminary contest is a lot of work and at this point, I don’t see a reason to go through that again. If we went straight to the main contest, we could focus on that.”

In a statement from RÚV, Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson, Director of Programming, says he’s delighted that Daði Freyr accepted the invitation. “Daði won Söngvakeppnin 2020 by a landslide and the reception to Iceland’s contribution has never been so welcoming. We’re very happy and proud to be able to enter this great musician and his people into the competition like we wanted to do last time. We think the nation wants Daði og Gagnamagnið to represent us in this competition.”

He says many things had to be considered before making the decision but they found this was the right thing to do. “Due to the unprecedented situation that there was no Eurovision Song Contest this year. We thought it right and fair.”

In addition to the song contest’s cancellation this year, Daði also had a narrow miss in 2017. His song Is This Love? Was a fan favourite but ultimately came in second to Svala’s Paper. Daði Freyr is excited to finally take the Eurovision Song Contest stage. “I’m very excited. The reason I took part in Söngvakeppnin 2020 was to try to take my friends in the band to experience Eurovision from within. We always wanted to see how far we could go in this competition and we’ll see how we do this year.” Daði hasn’t written the song yet but he’s working on a couple of ideas. “I know how the music video is going to look and I have a few key things that need to be in the stage performance so I’ll write a song around that. I’ll try to write a dong to fit my performance, not the other way around, Euro is in a league of its own. But it will be a fun song, that’s for sure.” Daði is in it for the fun, stating: “The main thing is to have fun with it, although I do think it would be most fun if we win.”

RÚV Fined for Hatari’s Palestine Banners

The European Broadcasting Union has decided to issue RÚV with a fine for Hatari’s behaviour in the green room at the Eurovision Song Contest finale in Isreal last spring when band members displayed banners in the Palestine flag colours. According to RÚV Director of Broadcasting Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson, RÚV will receive the minimum fine of 5000 Euro.

RÚV objected to proposed fine to the EBU and claimed they were unhappy with the process and intended solution. RÚV’s letter to the EBU stated that it was the wrong conclusion and unfair to fine RÚV for breaking the rules when RÚV had taken every possible measure to make sure the rules would be followed. RÚV is of the opinion that the broadcasters taking part in the competition can never completely prevent their artists from saying or doing something that might be against the rules.RÚV’s letter also states that RÚV is nevertheless proud of Iceland’s contribution to the competition this year and believe that the Hatari performance was splendid and attention-grabbing.

The EBU ruling will have no further consequences and RÚV has decided that they will participate in the competition again next year. They are now excepting songs for the 2020 contest in Rotterdam.

Hatari Pro-Palestine Protest to be Cut from Eurovision DVD

Icelandic band Hatari’s pro-Palestine protest during the 2019 Eurovision finals will be cut out of the official DVD of the event, RÚV reports. The news agency has not yet been able to confirm if the protest will also be cut from the footage that will be made available on streaming site Netflix, but it’s thought likely that it will be.

Hatari unfurled the Palestinian flag on camera during the official vote counting during the 2019 Eurovision Grand Final. The group garnered a great deal of attention prior to and during the event for openly stating that they intended to use Eurovision as a platform to engage in a critical discussion about Israeli-Palestinian relations. “We, of course, hope to see an end to the occupation as soon as possible and that peace will come,” they stated during an interview upon their arrival in Israel. Hatari was joined in its protest by Madonna, whose performance at the Grand Final featured a white-clad dancer bearing the Palestinian flag and a black-clad dancer wearing the Israeli flag. The words ‘WAKE UP’ were also displayed during her performance. Eurovision organisers stated that they were unaware of Madonna’s intentions and that the imagery had not been part of rehearsals ahead of the event.

Hatari’s flag-flying was controversial, as Eurovision maintains that it is a politically neutral event. When asked about breaking the Eurovision rules, one of the group’s singers, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson commented: “It wasn’t necessarily the plan to intentionally break the rules. There’s some undefined line there, and no one knows where it lies.” He continued, however, that the band felt that it was “a contradiction to say that this competition is apolitical” and, moreover, that they felt that it was impossible for them to ignore Israel’s actions toward Palestine during a competition that “is supposed to revolve around unity and peace among men.”

The reaction to Hatari’s protest was mixed, both among Israelis and Palestinians, some of whom dismissed the band’s “fig-leaf gestures of solidarity” and said that its decision to perform at all in Israel represented the “crossing our peaceful picket line.” Eurovision authorities and attendees were similarly unamused: the band was immediately forced to forfeit their Palestinian flags and were booed by some crowd members. Hatari also alleged that they were intentionally split up and given the worst seats on their El Al flight home from Israel in retaliation for their demonstration.

As yet, Eurovision has not definitively stated if Iceland will face repercussions for Hatari’s demonstration, which event organisers have stated were in violation of its rules.

Bookies Give Iceland 4% Chance of Winning Eurovision

Hatari Eurovision

Online bookies are predicting that Iceland will come in 8th place at the Eurovision Song Contest Final on Saturday. Per the current odds on EurovisionWorld.com, The Netherlands are well-placed to triumph, with a 47% of winning tonight. Iceland, on the other hand, has a 4% chance of winning, odds it shares with Italy, Russia, and Azerbaijan.

Predictions have Australia coming in second place, although if the country wins (current odds, 12%), the competition would be hosted in an as yet to be determined European country. Switzerland is predicted to come in third place.

Iceland has earned second place twice in the competition: in 1999, for Selma‘s “All Out of Luck” and 2009, for Yohanna’s “Is It True?”. The country has never won Eurovision. By making it through the semi-final, however, Hatari has already exceeded Iceland’s showings in recent years; the country has not qualified for the final since 2014.

Hatari to Represent Iceland at Eurovision

The song “Hatrið mun sigra” (“Hate Will Prevail”) by the band Hatari (‘Hater’) will be Iceland’s entry in this year’s Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv in May, RÚV reports.

The song won against four other potential competitors at Iceland’s Eurovision selection finals, which took place at Laugardalshöll Sports Centre on Saturday night. It triumphed against “Hvað ef ég get ekki elskað?” (‘What If I Can’t Be Loved?’) by Friðrik Ómar, “Fighting for Love,” by Tara Mobee, “Moving On,” by Hera Björk, and “Mama Said,” by Kristina Skoubo.

Hatari said that they accepted the honor of being Iceland’s Eurovision champions with “apprehensive respect,” and remarked that their win brought them “one step closer to taking down capitalism.”

“Thank you for the faith you’ve shown in us,” the band continued. “We’ll see to this task with conscientiousness and courage and forefront issues that matter.”

 

Eurovision Hopefuls Hatari Ruffle Feathers

Iceland has begun its preliminary competition for this year’s Eurovision contest, scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv, Israel in May. One of this year’s entries, Hatrið mun sigra (Hatred will prevail), a song by performance art-pop band Hatari (Hater) has already caused minor controversy, Vísir reports. Other contestants have reportedly complained about the bands performance, pointing out that it might not be in compliance with preliminary regulations.

Hatari have already secured a spot in Iceland’s Eurovision preliminary finals, hoping to grace the stage at the big event in Tel Aviv in May. The performance, however, is heavy on fascist symbolism, with members dressed in BDSM attire, screaming lyrics about the impending doom of Europe, the triumph of hatred and the void, which the band claims will eventually devour us all.

As some have pointed out, Hatari’s shenanigans might be in violation of regulation, most notably section 10.2 that states that entries should not cause emotional distress to viewers or other contestants, and should not bring dishonour to the preliminaries, The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service or the Eurovision Song Contest.

The rules also state that political lyrics, speeches and gestures on stage are not allowed in the preliminaries or in the Eurovision Song Contest. What this means for Hatari, a band that is known for its theatrics and fantasy role playing, remains to be seen.

Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson, RÚV’s director of programming, says that he has received complaints concerning Hatari’s performance, and reiterates that the Iceland’s Eurovision preliminaries should never be a “political platform, even though current and former contestants have in various ways, directly or indirectly, tried to impart a message that could be construed as political. When that happens contestants have been reminded of our regulation,” Skarphéðinn says, adding that “all of this year’s performers and songwriters have promised to follow the rules.”

 

Iceland Takes Part in Eurovision in Israel

RÚV, the Icelandic National Broadcast Service, has decided to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv next year, RÚV reports. Israel will be hosting the competition after Netta Barzilai’s victory this year. It had previously been speculated that Israeli authorities would host the show in Jerusalem, but they ultimately decided to host the event in Tel Aviv. According to RÚV, the fact that Eurovision will be in Tel Aviv played a large part in the decision to take part.

All of the other Nordic national broadcast services will take part, but RÚV had been pressured to boycott this year’s song contest due to the situation in Gaza and Israeli treatment of Palestinians. RÚV program manager Skarphéðinn Guðmundsson states that the challenge was taken seriously. “The decision is grounded in the fact that it’s not a political event, but rather a gathering of different nations who have made it their main mission and guiding light to spread the message of unification and the power of peace found in pop music, and culture altogether. To this point, we’ve not heard of nations who intend to boycott the competition in Israel due to political reasons. The Nordic national broadcast services have been hand-in-hand as they’ve all confirmed their attendance.”, part of his statement reads.

A group of artists recently published an open letter in the Guardian where they challenged European nations to boycott Eurovision 2019. Two Icelandic artists signed the letter, musicians Daði Freyr and Hildur (Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir).