Review of the first semi in Iceland: No outstanding act yet

Ari Olafsson Iceland Eurovision 2018

On Saturday night the thirteenth episode of Icelandic Söngvakeppnin kicked off with the first semi final. Three out of six acts – Fókus, Ari Ólafsson and Heimilistónar advanced to the final who have been decided solely by televoting. In this review, editor Ani Shahoyan will look back at the show.

Among the qualifiers, Ari Ólafsson (pictured above) seemed to have the best entry for Eurovision. From the non-qualifying acts Guðmundur Þórarinsson had a good entry to qualify at least for the Icelandic final. However, we did not see any outstanding or specific hit that could make a success in Eurovision. Below each song is reviewed separately.

01. Þórunn Antonía- Ég mun skína (eliminated)

Þórunn Antonía opens the first semifinal show in Iceland. She starts her song standing alone on the stage and it leaves an impression that she is going to keep on that way. However, a few seconds after it exceeds expectations with Þórunn demonstrating a lot of effort on her stage performance. Þórunn brings along two strong women who demonstrate acrobatic actions on the stage. The women hold Þórunn on her big sparkly armchair, and later on perform acrobatic actions with a help of ordinary ladder. Þórunn has a silver outfit and so does the women accompanying her through the show. Despite Þórunn’s effort the overview of her act seems poor. Besides, concentrating on her show, Þórunn demonstrates very poor vocals, and eventually fails to qualify for the final.

02. Tómas Helgi Wehmeier & Sólborg Guðbrandsdóttir- Ég og þú (eliminated)

The duet starts their low tempo music well, however at times it feels like Tómas is being shaky with his vocals. The staging is simple with two of them singing to each other bringing emotional vibes on stage. Later on, four more backing vocalists accompany them from the middle of the song: two men and two women. The duet fails to qualify, but it is worthy to mention that their act has been better than the previous one.

03. Ari Ólafsson – Heim (qualified)

Ari Ólafsson comes with a low tempo ballad reminding of Celine Dion songs. This song is right choice for him and his vocals. While participating in talent shows like the Voice of Iceland, Ari has demonstrated the capacity of his vocals to the local audience. In Söngvakeppnin as well he keeps his vocals stable. In the background he is accompanied by a band of musicians with piano, guitar and some percussion. His show is simple however his modest smile, right song and good vocals qualify him to the final. Fun fact: He is the nephew of Paul Oscar, who represented Iceland in 1997. So he knows where to turn to for some tips and advice for Lisbon!

04. Heimilistónar – Kúst og fæjó (qualified)

The women’s band takes over the Söngvakeppnin stage with their up tempo song with positive and cheerful vibes in it. Each of women is dressed in different bright color which goes perfectly with the colorful backdrops. They are very confident on stage and demonstrate strong vocals. Women come up with keyboard, percussion and guitar. Beside, at some point one of the two backing vocalists play harmonica. The overview is good and they make it to the final, however this act won’t do well in Eurovision.

05. Fókus – Aldrei gefast upp (qualified)

Aldrei gefast upp is an up tempo song. At times percussion and electro guitar can be heard. The band comprises two men and three women. Each of them is different from one another but at the same time they look in harmony by bringing their own self and unique vocals to the band. No special staging nor special outfits for this performance although the overview is good. Their effort is good enough to qualify for the final, however this is not going to be the right choice for Eurovision.

06. Guðmundur Þórarinsson – Litir (eliminated)

Guðmundur Þórarinsson is to close the first semifinal. Apart from singing Guðmundur is a professional football player and currently plays in a Swedish club IFK Norrköping. However, being close to music too, he tries to get on the Eurovision stage with a love song Litir. Guðmundur sings it in a role of a simple boy in love with a simple but memorable staging. An interpretive dancer plays a role of a girl in love who doesn’t go easy at all. Thus, she brings a theatrical play to Guðmundur’s performance. The vocals are not bad but are shaky at times. All in all the act deserves to qualify but fails to do so.

Overall conclusion of semi final 1 in Iceland

The first semi final in Iceland did not showcase any act which is already suitable for the Eurovision Song Contest. To turn the tide, we hope that there will be a better line of quality in the second semi final. Perhaps this year, the Icelandic ticket for Eurovision will be there to grab for Aron Hannes, who took part last year as well. To be continued in the upcoming weeks…

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