Will This Be Iceland’s Year? Ten Songs Chosen as 2023’s Eurovision Contenders

Daði Freyr og gagnamagnið Eurovision 2021

Ten songs have been selected to take part in this year’s Söngvakeppnin, the three-part competition that will decide the act that will represent Iceland in the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in May, RÚV reports. The ten songs, along with their songwriters and the musicians who will perform them, will be announced during a TV special on RÚV on Saturday, January 28.

Of the 137 songs were submitted for consideration, six were chosen by a selection committee comprised of representatives from the Association of Icelandic Musicians (FÍH), the Icelandic Society of Composers and Lyricists (FTT), and RÚV. The remaining four slots were filled by performers who the selection committee specifically invited to take part.

Will 2023 finally be Iceland’s year?

Since its debut in 1986, Iceland has achieved seven Top 10 placements in Eurovision, including, most recently, Hatari’s 10th place in 2019 with their art-industro anthem “Hatrið mun sigra,” (“Hate Will Prevail“) and Daði og Gagnamagnið’s much-beloved “10 Years,” which placed fourth. Iceland has come this close to winning twice, placing second in 1999 and 2009.

1999:

https://youtu.be/iEkppX_R6tA

2009:

National song contest to begin in February; winning song selected in March

The first semi-final will take place on February 18; the second will take place on February 25. Five songs compete for two spots in the final. The selection committee also has the ability to advance a fifth song. So the national final will include either or four or five songs, depending on whether the committee sees fit to nominate a wild card. Either way, the final will be held on March 4. The festivities will be hosted by actress, presenter, and assistant director of RÚV, Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir, alongside musician Unnstein Manuel Stefánsson, and radio station Rás 2’s Director of Music, Sigurður Þorri Gunnarsson.

Following the TV special on January 28th, the songs will be available to listen to alongside their lyrics on the website songvakeppnin.is. They will also be published on Spotify the same night.

Iceland Performing in Eurovision Semi-final Tonight

systur Eurovision

Icelandic sisters Sigga, Beta, and Elín will perform in the first 2022 Eurovision Semi-final tonight. Iceland is performing 14th out of 17 acts this evening. Only 10 will qualify for the grand final on Saturday.

Iceland’s competing song Með hækkandi sól (e. With the Rising Sun) is a folk-tinged anthem of hope composed by Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, known as Lay Low. Lovísa has said the lyrics are influenced by 19th-century Icelandic poetry, including that of the poet Undína (Helga Steinvör Baldvinsdóttir). An English translation of the lyrics is available on lyricstranslate.com.

Tonight’s participants in order of performance are: Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, Switzerland, Slovenia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Moldova, Portugal, Croatia, Denmark, Austria, Iceland, Greece, Norway, and Armenia. A second semi-final with 18 performances will take place on Thursday, followed by the grand final on Saturday night.

Iceland’s representatives in 2021, Daði & gagnamagnið, landed in fourth place in the competition, despite a COVID-19 infection that prevented the band from performing live. Iceland’s performance tonight is confirmed: the band and crew have tested negative for COVID-19.