Söngvakeppnin: First semi-final reviewed

The first semi-final of Söngvakeppni 2016 went down last Saturday, and after a 100 percent televoting, the nation brought Greta Salóme’s “Raddirnar”, Erna & Hjörtur with “Hugur minn er” and Karlotta Sigurðardóttir with “Óstöðvandi”, one step closer to Stockholm. Ingó’s “Fátækur námsmaður”, EVA’s “Ég sé þig” and Sigga Eyrún’s “Kreisí” were left in the semis. We went back to our panel of experts to find out what their thoughts on Saturday’s results are, and whether or not they think that the public voted for the “right” songs.

“Kreisí” is even better in English than in Icelandic.”
“Kreisí” is even better in English than in Icelandic.”

Reynir: “Yes I do. Personally I thought that “Kreisí” would go through without trouble, but I’m perfectly satisfied with the three songs that made it to the grand final.”

Laufey: “Yes! The first heat for Söngvakeppni was particularly tough. “Hugur minn er”, “Raddirnar” and “Óstöðvandi” are all prominent songs with good artists that deserved to qualify.”

Flosi: “I believe that a lot of the songs were a potential top three, including the three that made it all the way.”

“The right songs went through…in Icelandic.”

Sigrún: “I’m not sure. These are the three songs that the Icelandic public preferred, so my answer would have to be yes. The right songs went through…in Icelandic. But most of these songs have already been released in English too, as intended for Eurovision, so I’m convinced that the results would have been different had the public heard them sung in English on Saturday. But my personal favorite “Óstöðvandi” with Karlotta went through though!”

Would you have voted differently?

Reynir: “No, not particularly. There were four good songs there, in my opinion, and one of them had to stay behind.”

Laufey: “I have to say, that I expected “Kreisí” with Sigga Eyrún to qualify. The song is different from the other songs, and Sigga put on a great show on stage. Also “Ég sé þig”, because of its important messages and because Vala and Sigga are so funny and nice!”

Flosi: “I’m always happy when there’s variety in the grand final. That’s why I was hoping that the songs with the faster beat would go through.”

Sigrún: “Yes! I was very disappointed that The band EVA didn’t qualify. However, I don’t like to dwell on feelings. My favorites never go through anyway (besides “Óstöðvandi”) so I ought to be used to it by now. The public has voted and now we move on.”

Do any songs sound better live, and in English?

Reynir: “I always find it better to judge the songs, based on the live performances. For example, last year, “Lítil skref” did NOTHING for me what so ever, until I heard María perform live in Háskólabíó.

“Ingó's act was so lively and entertaining.”
“Ingó’s act was so lively and entertaining.”

I think “Kreisí” is even better in English than in Icelandic. Same with “Óstöðvandi”. I also think that “Augnablik” is good in English, but painfully boring in Icelandic. “Ótöluð orð” comes to life in English, but “Spring yfir heiminn” is much better in Icelandic.”

Laufey: “Yes definitely. RÚV has clearly stepped up their game and they put on a great show with the artists.”

“RÚV has clearly stepped up their game and they put on a great show…”

Flosi: “As a matter of fact, I did. Songs like “Fátækur námsmaður”, “Óstöðvandi” and “Ég sé þig” were songs that I thought were even better when performed live.”

Sigrún: “Nope! I thought all the songs sounded worse in fact. They lacked energy and the performers were off-key, some more than others. Something must have been wrong with the monitors. And to me, the mic mixing was dubious. Some of the singers didn’t seem to harmonize.”

Change your mind about a song after seeing it live?

Reynir: “Not yet, not yet…”

Laufey: “Yes I did. Ingó’s act was so lively and entertaining. Such a nice surprise.”

Flosi: “I had my three favorites before the show, and they are still my favorites after the live performance.”

Sigrún: “Yes, I fell in love with EVA. I think the song sounds better in the studio version, but their live performance was so heartwarming and I love the lyrics and the message that they brought. They just charmed me to bits with their sincerity. I would have been proud to have them represent us in Stockholm.”

Should the contest’s set up be changed?

Reynir: “I think there should be more songs in each semi final and a bigger grand final.”

“Ég sé þig” is a potential wild card, based on Sigga's and Vala's sincerity and the beautiful messages of their song.”
“Ég sé þig” is a potential wild card, based on Sigga’s and Vala’s sincerity and the beautiful messages of their song.”

Laufey: “Absolutely. First of all, the songwriters should be able to choose in what language their songs are performed in Söngvakeppnin. Many of the songs from this year’s contest have also been released in English and some of them are totally different from the Icelandic version. But I’m rather sceptical that RÚV will change the rules.”

Flosi: “I think that RÚV has done a great job for the 30th birthday show! But I would like a bigger grand final where maybe 10-12 songs compete, and have more songs in the semi finals, so people would have more to choose from.”

“I think there should be more songs in each semi finals and a bigger grand final.”

Sigrún: “Yeah, I find it very old-fashioned and odd that the songs have to be performed in Icelandic in the semi finals. I think that all the songs should be released and performed in the language intended for Eurovision. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Icelandic in Eurovision. I love it when the nations send songs in their native tongue. I just think that the songwriters should be able to choose in what language their song are performed, so the public can vote based on an enlightened decision. And RÚV should seriously change the selection committee. 260 songs were submitted and I do not for one second believe that THESE were the best of the best. There must have been more variety!”

Any potential wild card from last Saturday?

Reynir: “Kreisí”, no doubt about it.”

Laufey: “Before the show, I was convinced that “Kreisí” would go straight to the finals and “Óstöðvandi” would be the potential wildcard. Now I’m BEGGING RÚV to choose “Kreisí” as the wildcard!”

Flosi: “RÚV should choose one more song that is vastly different from the others that made it to the finals. And in my opinion that song is “Kreisí.”

Sigrún: “I think “Ég sé þig” is a potential wild card, based on Sigga’s and Vala’s sincerity and the beautiful messages of their song. However, I think that the wild card will be in the second semi final 2. It’s just a feeling I have.”

The Experts

Reynir Þór Eggertsson is Iceland’s best known Eurovision fanatic. He is a walking Encyclopedia when it comes to Eurovision and has been seen in practically every Eurovision related program there is in Iceland. He’s a steady on the show “Alla Leið” which is hosted by Iceland’s present commentator, Felix Bergsson, where they along with group of selected individuals, judge the songs that compete in the Eurovision Song Contest each year.

Laufey Helga Guðmundsdóttir is a lawyer by day, but a true Eurocraze by night (and pretty much always). She handles the event and promotions category for FÁSES, the Icelandic Eurovision fanclub, and knows a thing or two about the contest.

Flosi Jón Ófeigsson is also a member of FÁSES and has attended more than one and more than two Eurovision contests in his lifetime. He has also raised his voice on numerous occasions and along with his friend Eiríkur Þór Hafdal, is the reigning king of OGAE International Cover Contest, which was held in Vienna last spring alongside the big contest itself. Who said Iceland never wins Eurovision?

Sigrún Huld might be a name that is not familiar to a lot of people, but in the Icelandic Eurovision-world, she is well-known.
Sigrún is the ultimate Euro-nerd, and is relentless during Eurovision season. She watches practically every single national finals there is, and is the administrator for the ever so popular Facebook page: Júróvisjón 2016. She has stuff to say and is not afraid to say it!

You can listen to the Icelandic songs here.

See also: Söngvakeppnin – What do the experts think?

Photos of contestants/Courtesy of RÚV.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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