Singer Ásdís Pops in Germany

Singer Ásdís María Viðarsdóttir

Ásdís María Viðarsdóttir, known professionally as Ásdís, has become a mainstay of the Germany pop charts and performed at the Brandenburg Gate to ring in the new year.

In a radio interview with Rás 2 this weekend, the singer discussed her career, with an upcoming supporting gig for pop star Zara Larsson in Reykjavík and two songwriting credits in Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic Eurovision preliminaries. “It’s mostly been an incredibly good journey, but also an incredible amount of work,” she said.

Musical influence from her family

Ásdís has been performing publicly since she was young with her first big gig coming in the upper secondary school song competition, which she won in 2013. Growing up in the Breiðholt neighbourhood of Reykjavík, she credits her older siblings as musical influences. “I know I was a real brat, because as fun as I think it is to sing, it’s even more fun to talk,” she said.

Her father was her biggest supporter in music and after he passed away in 2016, she decided to take the leap and move to Berlin to study music. “It was his biggest dream that I become Elvis,” she said, adding that moving away from her mother to another country has been difficult.

Gold record hits

After seven years in Berlin, she’s made a career for herself as a songwriter and performer in Germany’s pop music industry, earning multiple gold records for her hits. Her recent songs include “Beat of Your Heart” with Grammy award-winning DJ and producer Purple Disco Machine, while her televised New Year’s Eve performance at Brandenburg Gate was an added honour.

She said that she felt that her career was on the right track these days and that she enjoys performing. “It’s been a through line in my life and I’ve come to understand now that I have to do it, especially in light of my upbringing,” she said. “If not for me, then for my parents.”

Power Outage: Diljá Not Among Finalists at 2023 Eurovision

Diljá Pétursdóttir iceland eurovision

The second qualifying round of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Liverpool yesterday. Diljá Pétursdóttir, Iceland’s representative at this year’s song contest, did not advance to this year’s finals.

“It’s been an absolute blast”

The second semi-final night of the Eurovision Song Contest took place in Liverpool last night. Ten entries advanced to the final. Diljá’s performance received favourable reviews from Icelanders, although she did not advance to the finals, which will take place on Saturday night.

Diljá spoke to Eurovision commentator Sigurður Gunnarsson for the National Broadcaster (RÚV) following her performance. Despite failing to qualify, she was pleased with her performance: “It went amazingly well.”

Diljá characterised the past two days as memorable, adding that she had made “plenty of friends.” Diljá also noted that she was “going to sleep for eighteen hours,” after which, she planned on going to the gym – as she was looking forward to returning to her routine.

“We’ll be in the audience on Saturday to support our friends.” She concluded the interview by extending special thanks to her supporters in Iceland. “It’s been an absolute blast.”

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.

 

Song From Eurovision Film in iTunes’ Top Ten

Eurovision film Will Ferrel Rachel McAdams

Power ballad Húsavík, featured in the newly-released Will Ferrel and Rachel McAdams film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is currently the 7th most popular song on iTunes in the US. The song is charting 4th in Ireland, 5th in the UK, and 8th in Australia on the streaming platform. Critics, however, are not as enthusiastic about the movie as listeners are about its music. RÚV reported first.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga follows Icelandic musicians Lars Erickssong and Sigrit Ericksdóttir (played by Farrel and Adams) as they represent Iceland at the popular song competition. The movie was partially filmed in Húsavík, a town on on Iceland’s north coast.

The Story of Fire Saga has received mixed reviews, with one BBC critic calling it “misjudged and tedious,” and its depiction of Icelanders as “an unsophisticated bunch of beer-drinking, whale-watching, knitted jumper-wearing innocents” as “tiresome and ignorant.” Not all Icelanders agree with the judgement, however. Steinunn Björk Bragadóttir sits on the board of Iceland’s official Eurovision fan club OGAE. “I found it very funny and it showed how we Icelanders are so occupied with appearing cooler than we are,” she stated in an interview. “But we’re just a bunch of people in lopapeysur who want to hear Nína at the bar and nothing else will do.”

Will Ferrell Presents Iceland’s ‘Douze Points’ in At-Home Eurovision Broadcast

Had COVID-19 not intervened, Eurovision would have been held in Rotterdam this week, an event made all the more exciting because Iceland’s Daði Freyr and Gagnamagnið were strongly favoured to win. Iceland still found a way to celebrate the occasion, however, with a live Eurovision party on Thursday night featuring none other than Will Ferrell, RÚV reports.

Called ‘Okkar 12 stig’ (‘Our 12 Points’), the event gave Icelanders the opportunity to celebrate their favourite 15 songs from this year’s competition and then call in to determine which song would have gotten Iceland’s full twelve points (or, ‘douze points,’ in French, as those familiar with the song competition’s multilingual points announcement system would have it). Ferrell, who is playing an Icelandic Eurovision contestant alongside Rachel McAdams in a forthcoming Netflix movie, was given the honour of announcing Iceland’s top song for 2020: “Fai Rumore,” by Italy’s Diodato.

The event also featured a montage of all the times Iceland has been awarded 12 points by another country in Eurovision and Hatari’s Klemens Hannigan performing a subdued and distinctly un-Hatari rendition of the winning song from last year’s Eurovision: “Arcade,” by Duncan Laurence of The Netherlands

 

 

The evening closed with a rousing performance of Daði Freyr and Gagnamagnið’s “Think About Things,” which included cameo appearances by actor Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Game of Thrones, The Innocents), members of parliament, and none other than President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and First Lady Eliza Reid.

Diodato sent his thanks to Iceland via video, saying, “Hello, Iceland, thank you so much for your support. I hope to see you soon. We’ll have to stand naked under a waterfall and spread the love. Ciao.”

You can watch the full broadcast on RÚV here.

 

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.

Eurovision Act Hatari: “We Hope to See an End to the Occupation”

Hatari

Icelandic Eurovision act Hatari stated they wish to see the end of Israel’s occupation of Palestine in a Eurovision press conference yesterday. Band members Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson and Klemens Nikúlasson Hannigan answered questions from reporters during the band’s first press conference for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. “Well we, of course, hope to see an end to the occupation as soon as possible and that peace will come. We are hopeful,” said Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson.

A reporter asked Hatari if they intend to make a political statement during their stay in Israel, especially in light of the events of recent days in Israel. The events refer to the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel where 23 people have lost their lives. Qassam rockets from Palestine were fired upon Israel, and the Israel military shelled the Gaza area as well as directing airstrikes on the area.

Matthías of Hatari responded so to the question: “The comment I think you’re referring to is one we gave in Icelandic media. What we said was we would use out agenda-setting influence that comes through participation, or that really comes through any spectacle that catches the public eye. Through this agenda-setting influence, we would try to uphold a critical discussion around the context in which this contest is being held. And that is what we’ve tried to do in our conversations with various media and will continue doing. In regards to what happens on the stage itself, we are determined to take part in the contest and comply with the rules, just like everyone else.”

The moderator of the discussion attempted to shut down any further comments and questions on this subject, but Hatari member Klemens Nikúlasson Hannigan asked the reporter to finish his question. After the duo of Matthías and Klemens consulted each other, Matthías commented further: “Well we, of course, hope to see an end to the occupation as soon as possible and that peace will come. We are hopeful.”

The whole discussion and their answers can be seen in the video below. The discussion regarding Israel’s occupation of Palestine starts at around the 17:45 mark in the video.

Hatari will represent Iceland in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest which will take place in Tel Aviv on May 14. Should Hatari advance to the final, they will perform on May 18 in the Expo Tel Aviv arena.

When the Icelandic national broadcast channel RÚV asked Hatari about the press conference, they had this to say: “There was a press conference where we received a lot of good questions, but admittedly the moderator tried to censor us. But we didn’t let her control that,” said Klemens. Matthías stated that they had been warned about this, “We attempted to bring our matters forward, and spoke about the fact that it would be preferable that the occupation came to a stop. It would have been preferable to delve deeper into that subject but we might attempt to do so in conversation with reporters,” Matthías added.

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.”