Power Player

Diljá Pétursdóttir iceland eurovision

One of Diljá’s favourite Eurovision Song Contest performances ever is fellow-Icelander Yohanna’s song, Is It True, from 2009. Yohanna’s performance, the furthest Iceland has ever made it in Eurovision alongside Selma’s 1999 performance, is still a major moment for Diljá. “I thought it was just so catchy,” Diljá says. “She was so pretty and she was wearing this blue dress with a blue dolphin in the background. I just loved the song and she sang so beautifully.” Ever since, Diljá’s dreamt of representing Iceland in the contest. This May, that dream is coming true as Iceland will be represented in the 67th annual Eurovision Song Contest by Diljá performing her energetic ballad, aptly named Power (co-written by Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson). 

diljá pétursdóttir iceland eurovision
Mummi Lú

Since those early days of watching Yohanna perform, Diljá has already participated in several major song competitions, including Ísland Got Talent and Idol in Sweden. “It was fun and I’m really happy that I did it, but it really didn’t go anywhere,” she says about her time in Sweden. “But I think I overdosed on anxiety in Sweden because I haven’t felt any since then!” 

“I’ve got an athlete’s mindset.”

For someone who’s spent most of her life performing, Diljá has had her share of struggles with anxiety. “I always had huge anxiety problems related to school and competing in singing,” she explains. “I couldn’t handle taking tests. And it was the same with performing. I got so anxious. But I did it because I knew I have to be able to do something like this.” It may not come as a surprise, then, that Diljá’s Eurovision song concerns overcoming feelings like these. “You hold no p-p-p-power over me,” she belts in the chorus.

diljá pétursdóttir iceland eurovision
Mummi Lú

“I think before Idol I took everything a little too seriously,” Diljá says. “Like, I thought it was going to be the end of the world if I missed a single note! If I did something embarrassing, I thought it was just going to end me. But after Idol, it wouldn’t have mattered at all. It’s just supposed to be fun!” 

These days, instead of worrying about her performance, Diljá likes to have some healthy rituals before she goes on stage. A former physiotherapy student at the University of Iceland and a self-professed crossfit addict, health is the guiding light in her life. Before singing, she likes to do some push-ups and stretches to warm up. As she puts it: “I’ve got an athlete’s mindset.” Viewers of this year’s song competition even got to see Diljá do some callisthenics on-air, and her stage presence is nothing if not athletic.

“We’re going to use the opportunity to make it a lot bigger than we ever could in Iceland.”

diljá pétursdóttir iceland eurovision
Golli

Diljá also says there are big things in store for her at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held in Liverpool. According to her, the expectations have gotten a lot higher since she watched Yohanna perform many years ago. In March, fans of Eurovision in Iceland tuned in to watch Söngvakeppnin, Iceland’s competition to select its Eurovision representative. It’s a sizeable TV event but decidedly more humble than in, say, Sweden.

“There’s such a huge gap,” Diljá says. “Some countries’ selection contests are almost as big as Eurovision itself, like Melody Festival in Sweden. Söngvakeppnin is always getting better and better, but still, some countries have a big advantage.” Icelanders should, however, rest assured. The details of Diljá’s Liverpool performance are still under wraps, but as she says, “We’ll all be on the same field once we’re in Liverpool. We’re going to use the opportunity to make the performance a lot bigger than we ever could in Iceland.”

“At the end of the day, it’s the one week a year where everything is just supposed to be about music and it’s just supposed to be fun.”

diljá pétursdóttir iceland eurovision
Mummi Lú

Although Diljá’s got big plans for Liverpool, there’s a part of her that will miss experiencing Eurovision at home in Iceland. “I always watch it with my family,” Diljá tells me. “It’s a sacred holiday for me and my mom.” And Diljá is quite dedicated to this family tradition. “Two years ago, I was acting in a play, but it was going to be performed during Eurovision. And I just said, I’m sorry, I can’t do it! I have to watch Eurovision with my mom.” For Diljá, the ideal Eurovision experience includes getting cozy with her mom, some sparkling wine, and take-out pizza. “I never like going to these big Eurovision watch parties some people have,” she explains. “I’m here to listen to the songs! The show is on, we can always hang out after.”

Diljá isn’t going to jinx herself with any predictions, but she’s confident she’ll go far. “I know I’m not ranked super high internationally right now,” she admits. “But it’s all going to change when they see me in Liverpool. I think my chances are good. I know I’m headed to the finals, and that I’m going to shine there.” 

diljá pétursdóttir iceland eurovision
Mummi Lú

And if Diljá does become the first-ever Icelander to win Eurovision?

“I would go for a very long walk,” she laughs. “I’d probably need to be alone and ground myself because it would just be too much. I think there’s a good chance I’d just lose my mind if that would happen!”

Icelanders are famous – perhaps infamous – for taking Eurovision rather seriously. What, ultimately, does Diljá think that Eurovision is really about? “At the end of the day, it’s the one week a year where everything is just supposed to be about music and it’s just supposed to be fun,” Diljá says. “It’s so excessive. And I love it!”

Diljá Chosen to Represent Iceland in Eurovision

diljá iceland eurovision

Diljá will be the next representative of Iceland in Eurovision 2023.

She was selected in the song contest Söngvakeppnin on Saturday. A total some 250,000 votes were cast on the final night of the contest.

Read more: Eurovision Finalists Selected

Diljá, and her winning song “Power,” finished in a strong first place, with nearly 70,000 votes separating her and second place, Langi Seli og Skuggarnir performing their song “OK.”

In total, ten artists competed in the selection process. Semi-finals were held on February 18 and 25, where the Icelandic public could vote by phone, text, or online. During the semi-finals, the artists are required to perform in Icelandic.

However, in the finals, the artists have the choice to perform the song in its intended form for Eurovision, either Icelandic or English. A panel of judges also has a say during finals, with the popular vote being split 50/50.

Her award-winning song was co-authored by Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson. Pálmi has written Eurovision hits before, including the 2015 Icelandic Eurovision entry, “Unbroken.”

Hosting the song contest this year were popular media figures Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson, Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir, and Sigurður Þorri Gunnarsson.

Diljá will represent Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which takes place this year in Liverpool, England.

 

Eurovision Finalists Selected for Next Round

Söngvakeppnin eurovision iceland

Iceland is one step closer to selecting its contestant for this year’s Eurovision song contest, with five Icelandic artists selected over the weekend to continue competing.

The process for selecting Iceland’s Eurovision contests begins with two semi-finals, held February 18 and 25. Now, with both semi-final rounds over, the contestants will compete in the final contest, to be aired this March 4.

 

The newly selected finalists include Sigga Ózk, BRAGI, Diljá, Langi seli og skuggarnir, and Celebs.

Notably, despite the popularity enjoyed by the song contest in Iceland, Iceland has yet to win a Eurovision since it first participated in 1986. Iceland’s best performances so far have included Selma (1999) and Yohanna (2009), in which Iceland placed second.

The 67th Eurovision Song Contest will take place this May at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, England.