escflashmalta.com is proud to have engaged such professional individuals to analyse and assess the entries competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmö, Sweden noting that they had not had a whiff of what is seemingly in contention this time round. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we edge towards the mid-way of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Iceland whose broadcaster, RUV has been drawn in slot number #8 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled Ég Á Líf performed by Eythor Ingi is co-written between Örlygur Smári & Pétur Örn Gudmundsson.
Music was clearly a major part of Eyþór Ingi’s childhood; he used to sing Elvis Presley songs while still in kindergarten and he also loved acting. In 2004, at the age of fifteen, he won a part in the Icelandic version of the musical Oliver!, which turned out to be one of the most successful theatrical works ever staged in Akureyri, the capital of northern Iceland. This was only the beginning of his theatrical career as he was offered a part in Óvitar in 2007 as well as taking the leading role in a college staging of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
Eyþór Ingi won the College Song Contest in the spring of 2007 and was selected to compete as a contestant in TV talent show ‘Bandið hans Bubba‘. After winning the show in early 2008 he soon began working as a professional singer, musician and sound technician. Eyþór Ingi founded the progressive rock group Eldberg and in 2010 joined the renowned Icelandic band Todmobile, contributing to their seventh album, which was also entitled ‘7’. In 2011 Eyþór Ingi was nominated as best singer in the Gríman Theatrical Awards for his role as Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The following year he played hippie leader Berger in the musical Hair.
He also featured in the cast of Les Misérables as law student Marius Pontmercy, when the musical was staged in Þjóðleikhúsið, the National Theatre of Iceland, in 2011-2012. Eyþór Ingi was inspired to start singing by the music of Jeff Buckley and is also a big fan of David Bowie, Thom Yorke, Ian Gillan and Freddie Mercury. He has been a member of a Deep Purple tribute band and performed in the Freddie Mercury Tribute Show in Harpa Concert Hall in 2011-2012. The Icelandic national selection is one which people are seemingly becoming accustomed to every year and considering the recent tracks that have been submitted, it comes to no surprise. There were two former representatives competing this year, with only Birgitta from 2003 making it to the final.
Like Malta, Iceland will be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest for the twenty-sixth time and their fortunes have also been quite similar with two first runner-up finishes, the first one coming in 1999 with Selma and her entry All Out of Luck and the second time round in 2009 with Yohanna and her song Is It True? Since the introduction of the semi-final system, the nation has been successful in getting through to the final on five occasions from a possible eight, as they were direct qualifiers in 2004. After three years of disappointments, Iceland got through to the final in 2008 with This Is My Life performed by Euroband and have always been there ever since but got their worst result since doing last year as Never Forget by Great & Jonsi mustered only forty-six (46) points in the final to finish in twentieth place.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Translates as 'I have a life' - I wish. Good voice Good strong tune. Oooh, interesting dry vocal at the end. Nice Irish type piano ballad and a little in the style of Hallelujah in places. This type of song sometimes goes all the way but it’s very predicatable.
Sharon Vaughn: Very moving and compelling melody and performance, understated and sincere!
Stano Simor: "My Life" (Ég á Líf) is a beautiful emotional song. Eyþór Ingi has a pleasant voice color that when combined with a weeping melody transposed dramatic end, creates a perfect hit ballad. I believe that the audience will appreciate this enough to vote it into the final.
Following the revelation of the premier review, we move onto the second country competing for a spot in the final by competing in the first semi-final set to take place on the 22nd May 2012 within the city of Baku, Azerbaijan. There has been talk that this round in the competition is slightly easier to get through due to the mediocre number of songs but nevertheless, it seems that Iceland falls into a pile of entries which is receiving sublime criticism and praise from most fans and critics all over the continent. Since turning their results around, the nation has been very successful actually with consecutive qualifications and hoping to keep that record in tact are the lovely Greta Salóme & Jónsi who will be performing the track Never Forget which has been written by one of the singers; Greta Salóme.
Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir was born in 1986. Music runs in the family as her mother Kristin Lilliendahl made some records in her teens, and her grandfather Karl Lilliendahl was a guitarist and renowned bandleader. Greta began her violin studies in 1991 when she was only four years old and has never looked back. At thirteen she entered Reykjavik College of Music. In the autumn of 2004 she was accepted into the Iceland Academy of Arts, where she continued her studies. She graduated with a bachelor‘s degree in 2008. Currently she‘s working on her master‘s degree at the Iceland Academy of Arts and is studying advanced vocal technique called Complete Vocal.
She is a professional musician and has a position as a violinist in the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. She regularly performs with classical and pop music ensembles, has made several radio and TV appearances and is a busy studio musician. In 2011,Greta Salóme had another song ready in her mind. This was Mundu Eftir Mér which she and Jónsi finished recording early last summer. When hearing the song a colleague urged Greta Salóme to try for the Söngvakeppni Sjonvarpsins, Icelandic selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest. She took his advice and actually ended up having two songs in the final.
Jónsi, or to quote his full name, Jón Jósep Snaebjörnsson was born in 1977 in Akureyri the biggest town in northern Iceland. He started singing at an early age and took part in a national college song contest before moving to Reykjavik in 1997. Two years later he joined the soul orientated pop group ‘Í Svörtum Fötum’ who dressed in black suits and white shirts and started his singing and songwriting career. The group had already abandoned the Blues Brothers image when they released their first self financed album in 2000. They made three successful albums and after a year long break released a "Best Of" album in 2009. The band is currently active touring Iceland. Jónsi starred as Danny with Iceland‘s 2003 Eurovision entrant Birgitta Haukdal as Sandy in the musical Grease in 2003 and other musicals followed during the next years.
In 2004, Sveinn Runar Sigurdsson, the composer of Heaven asked Jónsi to perform the song in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Istanbul. Jónsi made his first self titled and critically acclaimed solo album in 2005. Over the last few years he has had some TV experience acting in shows and films along with hosting the Icelandic version of Singing Bee and presenting the youth sports programme Skolahreysti. Jónsi is married with two children and lives with his family in Reykjavík.
The Critics Voice Their Opinion
Jan Van Dijck
- Nice dramatic song with some ethnic elements. Very well performed with strong emotion. Believe that this song will make it into the big final. I believe that seven (7) points will work for this entry.
- Now we’re talking! Iceland is one of my favourite Eurovision-countries, and they certainly don’t let me down this year. Beautiful voices, enchanting melody and terrific arrangement, the string attacks add drama and emotions to the song. Personally I would love them to sing in their wonderful native language, but this is after Serbia the best ballad in this year’s contest, and for me the best song of the first semi. As you might have noticed, I am quite fond of this song, hence nine (9) points would suffice.
- A beautiful rock song with a touch from Iceland. It has a dramatic sound with nicely added strings and piano. Vocals are good, especially the chorus. The song has good potential to reach a top 10 position. Despite the positives, we will give it a resounding six (6) points.
Performers: Greta Salome & Jonsi
Composer: Greta Salome
Author: Greta Salome
Song: Never Forget
History of the Nation
Iceland has been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as much as my native Malta and will this year be commemorating twenty-five years which is quite an interesting milestone for nations who are yet to record a victory. Also, like Malta, the Scandinavian country has finished in the runner-up position twice, the first time coming in 1999 thanks to the musical stylings of Selma and her track All Out of Luck finishing behind Sweden and second time round came in 2009 when Yohanna performed the beautiful ballad Is It True, finishing behind Norway. The country has turned their wrong fortune around and have been in the final each and every year since 2008 when Euroband had represented Iceland with the song This Is My Life. They will be hoping that the betting odds and the fans are correct and that they will look forward to a top ten in the final.