Iceland is a country that takes Eurovision serious, but isn't a country that fans usally put the spotlight on. After Hatari's big success in this years edition, the spotlight has changed a lot for the little island in northern Europe. Hatari's popularity has made Söngvakeppnin even more popular and that is shown by how many songs were sent in to the Icelandic broadcaster RÚV.
Earlier this fall they confirmed their participation, on September 12th. At the same time they decided to use their regular national selection as a method to choose the artist to represent Iceland in Rotterdam, Netherlands next year.
Samúel J. Samúelsson will also this year be the music director of Söngvakeppnin. Lee Proud from United Kingdom will be the artistic director for the contest.
On September 13th, RÚV started the application to send in songs for next year's Söngvakeppnin and the application closed on October 17th. They also said where the semifinals and final are going to be held. The semifinals will be held in Háskólabíói (University Cinema) and the final in Laugardalshöll (sport/concert arena).
Dates for the semifinal and final:
Semi-final 1: 8 February 2020
Semi-final 2: 15 February 2020
Final: 29 February 2020
10 songs will be picked to compete in the semifinals - five entries for each semifinal. A selection committee with representatives of the Icelandic FTT, FÍH and RÚV, will select the 10 songs according to RÚV. One entry from each semifinal will qualify to the final. All the songs have to be performed in Icelandic in the semifinals. If the two winners from the semifinals want to perform in English, its optional for them to choose.
Good news is that 25 more songs have been submitted than last year. A total of 157 songs have been received and a musical committee with seven people that's going to decide which 10 is going to compete in Söngvakeppnin 2020. Top 10 will be revealed publicly in January.
This is what presenter Björg Magnúsdóttir, who sits on Iceland’s Eurovision board says about this big change:
“This is a roughly 20 percent increase in received songs since last year. It is easy to surmise that the participation of Hatari and how well they did has encouraged the songwriters in the country”
Everybody could send in songs, and RÚV thought is was important to invite various musicians to take part in the contest. Björg also said that everybody is sending in songs under false names, so the selection will be as fair as possible to the contestants.
Björg also assures us that Hatari's publicity stunt with the Palestinian flag will not effect the competition. This lead RÚV to pay 5,000 euros to EBU.
"But we don’t expect that to have an effect on the competition or how spectacular it will be. So no, we don’t expect it to have an effect on the next competition"
It's going to be really interesting to follow the process in Söngvakeppnin and how they are going to choose their entry to next years edition of Eurovision.
What are your thoughts of Söngvakeppnin? What songs do you expect to see next year to compete in Söngvakeppnin? Tell us in the comments below and on out social media!