It was 1986 when Iceland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest. Eurovision fans were anxious to know what this new country would bring. And they brought three of their stars, singing the song “Gleðibankinn”. They became 16th, which seemed to be their destiny in the beginning. Also the previous two years, Iceland became 16th. In 1989, they even got no points at all.
Things all changed in 1990. Sigriður Beinteinsdóttir and Grétar Örvarsson, also known as Stjórnin, sang “Eitt lag enn” and reached the 4th place. It was celebrated at the island as if it was a victory.
Another time Iceland came very close to a victory was with Selma in 1999. She was the first one to sing in English for Iceland. “All out of luck” was in the lead for some time, but in the end Sweden was the winner.
Iceland’s songs are often chosen via a national final called “Söngvakeppnin”. Although in some years, Icelandic broadcaster RÚV decided not to have one. One time, back in 1994, the winner of Söngvakeppnin dit not enter Eurovision. RÚV decided that the original singer, Sissa, was not the right person to perform the song, so she was replaced by her colleague Sigga.
Iceland is not ashamed to send controversial songs. In 2019 the BDSM act of Hatari, “Hatrið mun sigra”, appeared on stage. RÚV received a fine because Hatari waved a Palestine flag in the greenroom.
Also the 2020 contestant Daði & Gagnamagnið caught a lot of attention with their green shirts and their anti-hero performance. It was not the number 1 at the bookmakers, but nobody would have been surprised if their entry “Think about things” would have been the first Icelandic entry to win the contest. Unfortunately, we all know why that didn’t happen. But who knows what Iceland will do next year. We are looking forward to it!