Söngvakeppnin 2023 Semi-Final 1 qualifiers announced

The first semi-final of the Söngvakeppnin has just ended with the first two winners: BRAGI with “Stundum Snýst Heimurinn Gegn Þér” and Diljá with “Lifandi inni í mér”. The public has been exclusively responsible for choosing their two favourites from among the five candidates to go through to the final on 4 March, which will take place in the Song Competition Hall in Gufunesi.

Next Saturday, 25th February, the second semi-final will be held, where the remaining 5 artists will face each other and from which the other 2 candidates who will make up the final are expected to emerge. Even so, as we have already mentioned, the executive committee of the Icelandic pre-selection is keeping the possibility of selecting one of the six eliminated entries and taking it directly to the final, so the final could have a maximum of four or five songs in competition.

Enjoy the performances from the first semi-final

  • BRAGI – Stundum Snýst Heimurinn Gegn Þér
  • MÓA – Glötuð ást
  • Benedikt – Þora / Brave Face
  • Celebs – Dómsdags Dans
  • Diljá – Lifandi inni í mér

Meet the Söngvakeppnin 2023 team

The team consists of: Lee Proud is the director and choreographer of the scenes, Kristjana Stefánsdóttir is the music director and is in charge of vocal coaching and music coaching, Anna Clausen will be the competition stylist and Harpa Kára make-up studio will be in charge of hair and make-up. Björn Helgason will be the director of photography, Gísli Kjaran will be in charge of sound and the Luxor company will be in charge of visual, lighting and set design. Filming will be in the hands of Salóme Þorkelsdóttir and Þórs Freysson.

The competition’s executive committee consists of Rúnar Freyr Gíslason, Björg Magnúsdóttir, Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir, Salóme Þorkelsdóttir and Gísli Berg.

Photo: RÚV

The history of Söngvakeppnin

The Söngvakeppnin (literally: “singing competition”) is the format developed since 1986 by the Icelandic national broadcaster Ríkisútvarpið (RÚV) to select its representative for the Eurovision Song Contest. The contest had two editions before it was established as a Eurovision pre-selection, in 1981 and 1983.

Söngvakeppnin has been paused on several occasions, mainly in the years when Iceland either withdrew from Eurovision or opted for an internal election, such as between 1995 and 1999 and in 2004, 2005 and 2021. The format has also gone through several names before reaching its current name: Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsstöðva (“TV singing competition”) between 1981 and 1989 and Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins (“TV singing competition”) between 1990 and 2012.

The contest has always had more than one performer competing and the number of songs has varied between 5 and 10. Traditionally, the festival always took place on a single night, but since 2006 it has always had a varying number of semi-finals. In addition, since 2008, performers do not have to sing their song in Icelandic in the final, but can sing it in their preferred language.

Interestingly, RÚV has changed the performers of the winning song on two occasions. In 1986, it added Eiríkur Hauksson and Helga Möller to perform “Gleðibankinn” alongside Pálmi Gunnarsson, who had won solo, forming the ICY band for Eurovision in Bergen. In 1994, he commissioned Irishman Frank McNamara to arrange it and assign a new performer, Sigga Beinteinsdóttir, instead of Sigrún Eva Ármannsdóttir, who had won with “Nætur”.

Gunnarsson, who had won solo, formed the band ICY for Eurovision in Bergen. In 1994, he commissioned Irishman Frank McNamara to arrange and assign a new performer, Sigga Beinteinsdóttir, instead of Sigrún Eva Ármannsdóttir, who had won with “Nætur”.

The Söngvakeppnin has produced Iceland’s two best ever results , two second-place finishes by Selma Björnsdóttir in 1999 with “All Out of Luck” and Yohanna in 2009 with “Is It True?


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