Live: Songvakeppnin 2016 Grand Final

Tonight is the night that Iceland will choose their representative for Eurovision 2016 through the popular Songvakeppnin competition. Two semifinals have taken place and six acts have advanced to tonight’s final but only one can take the top prize and win the ticket to Stockholm.

2240: That’s it! Greta will now represent Iceland in Stockholm this May with the song “Hear Them Calling”. Thank you for sticking with the liveblog and don’t forget to check our other live blogs from tonight’s shows across Europe.

2335: The RESULT: Going to Stockholm for Iceland is:Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir

2329: A hilarious interview ensues with Loreen and the presenters where they use the word “fuck” a LOT. What a bunch of LADS.

2323: Someone has just mentioned Silvia Night. This will be 10 years since she went to Athens for Iceland with the song “Congratulations”. An underrated Icelandic classic if you ask me!

2320: Loreen is the second guest performer of the night, performing the iconic “Euphoria”.

2304: Alda is next to perform “Now”. This is the song you clap along to, regardless of whether it’s boring or not, she’s still selling it well. It’s a tough choice between the two.

2300: Greta is first up to perform “Hear Them Calling”. The crowd are singing along and there are loud cheers in the hall for this song. During the earlier voting she lagged slightly, perhaps this is not the runaway winner we had come to expect?

2255: The hosts are then going through the singers and performers from other countries for Eurovision 2016, mentioning Ireland, Austria, and Denmark.

2253: The two performances are then repeated for the TV audience to vote once more.

2230: Time to reveal the top 2: top 2 going through to the next round of voting are: Alda Dís Arnardóttir and Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir

2223: Sandra Kim is our first interval performer who performs her 1986 winning Eurovision song “J’aime la vie”. Then our hosts interview last year’s winner Maria Olafs before she performs the Icelandic version of last year’s winning song “Unbroken”.

2209: All acts have performed and lines are open! We’re treated to some interviews in the green room and a feature of the Songvakeppnin tag on Snapchat before it’s time for a recap of the songs  before an ad break.

2200: Alda Dís Arnardóttir is last on stage to perform “Now”. She’s like a soft angelic fairy princess. If you’re into easy listening pop music, this is the one for you. She’s dressed in a floor length white dress and a gold headpiece. The stage is lit up with a galaxy formation and she’s joined by a guitarist and a drummer. Half way through the performance, a shower of snow falls from the ceiling. A key change 3/4 of the way through the song is the only thing to enhance this otherwise uninteresting mid tempo pop tune. Lyrically it’s completely meaningless and I don’t feel the style of music is fun, interesting, or noteworthy. She remains a favourite among fans though so I feel this could do well in the televote. Will the jury like it though?

2154: Elísabet Ormslev is next on stage to perform the only song that has been left in Icelandic: “Á ný”. She’s influenced by Adele and it really shows in her vocal abilities and her style. Written by Greta Salome, the song translates as “Again” and it’s a piano ballad. Silence befalls the audience as she gets full attention standing alone centre stage in darkness. As the song progresses, the auditorium lights up and she’s joined by four backing singers. And emotional performance, the song gives plenty opportunity for the singer to show off some impressive vocal runs. The simplicity of this performance brings a real power to the song, there’s little going on on stage so the song and the music itself commands attention. Definitely the strongest vocalist of tonight’s finalists.

2148: Þórdís Birna Borgarsdóttir & Guðmundur Snorri Sigurðarson are next to perform “Ready to Break Free”. This is much better in English, the song makes much more sense to an international audience in this version and it’s much more enjoyable. The lyrics to this song are great, it’s an inspirational rap song with a female led vocal. The singers start out much the same as in their semifinal performance: atop a bench. They move to centre stage as the song goes on in front of a pianist and three backing vocalists. Confetti rains down towards the end of the performance. If Iceland wanted to push their boundaries at Eurovision this year, this would be the right choice for them.

2139: Some interviews take place in the green room before our first commercial break of the night.

2135: Karlotta Sigurðardóttir is next with “Eye of the Storm” and unfortunately she’s suffering the same problems she suffered in the semifinal. This song is too big for her. The song could be well suited to a singer with a big and powerful voice, such as Adele, or Christina Aguilera. She just doesn’t cut it as a young girl. The styling of this is it’s saving grace with some unique masked dancers and a japanese style backdrop, it’s certainly not boring.

2130: Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir & Hjörtur Traustason are second on stage with “I Promised You Then“. I was surprised that they made it to the final because their song was so forgettable in the semifinal. Translating this song into English has done it a world of good, it brings across the message of the performance much better. A theatrical ballad, they work the camera, singing to both the audience and then to each other. The two singers are dressed in black and the stage is lit up with orange lights with the audience using their phones to light up the show. The song builds to a climax at the end and the vocal performance is quite impressive.

2116: Fan favourite Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir is first up with “Hear Them Calling”. Little has changed since her semifinal performance other than the song is now in English. Her performance is dark and mysterious and takes place in front of an interactive projector screen. Translating the song into English makes very little difference to this performance, it’s still a solid song and has some haunting elements to it. The whole package comes together really well on this one and it could make for a stand out performance in Stockholm.

2100: The show begins with an outstanding opening number featuring an array of previous Icelandic Eurovision entries. So many familiar faces, songs, and performances. It’s a true celebration opening the show. Our hosts then introduce us to tonight’s artists, the green room, the voting procedure and then we move on to the performances.

Despite previous reports, broadcaster RUV have decided not to go ahead with adding one extra wildcard act to this year’s Songvakeppnin Grand Final, making just six finalists in tonight’s show. The rules of the competition also state that all entries must initially be performed in Icelandic with freedom of language being introduced should an artist advance to the final. Upon reaching the grand final, five out of six artists have decided to translate their potential Eurovision entries into English. The six artists and songs competing tonight for the chance to represent Iceland are:

1 Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir “Hear Them Calling”
2 Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir & Hjörtur Traustason “I Promised You Then”
3 Karlotta Sigurðardóttir “Eye of the Storm”
4 Þórdís Birna Borgarsdóttir & Guðmundur Snorri Sigurðarson “Ready to Break Free”
5 Elísabet Ormslev “Á ný”
6 Alda Dís Arnardóttir “Now”

So how is the voting going to work? Six professional juries from six different regions in Iceland will combine their votes 50/50 with the votes of TV viewers to give us the top two artists. These two artists will perform in a second round of voting and the votes of viewers alone will decide which one of these two artists will be tonight’s winner and will go to Stockholm for Iceland. As well as the honour of participating at Eurovision, tonight’s winner will also receive 1 million Icelandic Krona as prize money.

The show is coming live from Reykjavik and our hosts will again be Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir and Guðrún Dís Emilsdóttir. Special guest performances will feature a medley of Icelandic Eurovision entries, as well as performances by Loreen and Sandra Kim. The show is being broadcast live from 2100CET on RUV1 in Iceland, as well as online through the RUV website, and also on Eurovision.tv.  We’ll be liveblogging the event so be sure to check back at ESCDaily to catch all of the action and results from tonight’s show!