Glossy wave icon. Free flag icons from IcelandICELAND 
BROADCASTER
SONG   "Never Forget"
SINGERS   Gréta Salome & Jónsi
MUSIC & LYRICS  Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir
DRAW   #2 in the first semi-final

THIS YEAR'S ENTRY

After qualifying for the last four finals, Icelandic broadcaster RUV were one of the first to confirm their participation in 2012 and then announced that they would only make minor changes to the national selection. Three semi-finals, each with five songs were held at the RUV TV Studios in Reykjavik, with the top two songs qualifying for the final. At the end of the third semi-final, a wildcard was added to the final line-up.

The Icelandic Final was held on February 11th at the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik and hosted by Brynja Thorgeirsdóttir and Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson. The winner was chosen by televoting and a jury, each with a 50% weighting. In a split vote, the song that came second with the public, but won the jury vote came first overall and Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir and Jón Jósep Snæbjörnsson won the ticket to Baku with a song written by Greta Salóme called "Mundu Eftir Mér" (Remember Me). 

Over the following weeks, a decision was made to translate the song to English for the Eurovision Song Contest and on March 19th it was confirmed that the song would be performed as "Never Forget" in Baku.

BIOGRAPHY

Iceland are represented in Baku by Greta Salóme, a multi talented singer/songwriter and Jónsi, who himself returns to the Eurovision Song Contest stage eight years after representing his country in 2004 in Istanbul.

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. 

REACTION

The potential return of a popular former Eurovision entrant meant that there was considerable attention on this song ever before it won the Icelandic selection. As one of the first entries to be selected, it did well in early online polls and was one of the bookmakers favourites, from the day that the odds were first announced. Despite the fact  that there has been a very small amount of international promotion, mainly through recorded interviews, the song remains in the Top 10 favourites for victory in Baku.

The translation to English seems to have met with almost universal approval, given that they new lyrics have kept the spirit of the original version. The one major hiccup for Iceland is the draw which sees them perform at #2 in the first semi-final. Songs performed in this position only have a 42% qualification record.

INTERVIEW WITH ESC-DAILY

REHEARSAL SCHEDULE (BAKU TIME)*
Date Rehearsal Press Conference
Sunday May 13th 11:45 - 12:45 13:10 - 13:50
Thursday May 17th 12:00 - 12:30 13:15 - 13:45
*Baku is four hours ahead of Ireland and the schedule has still to be confirmed officially

 

FORM GUIDE

 

OVERALL RATING

  Bookmakers
  History
  Running Order
  Fan Polls
  Webmaster

PREVIEW VIDEO

LIVE PERFORMANCE (in Icelandic)

LAUNCH PAD

ICELAND AT EUROVISION

  • First entry: 1986
  • Number of previous entries: 24
  • Best result: 2nd (1999 & 2009) 
  • Worst result: Last (1999, 2001) Failed to qualify (3 times).
  • Qualification record: 4/7 (57% success)

TEN YEAR FORM GUIDE

 

WEBMASTER REVIEW

"It was very hard to choose a winner in this year's Icelandic final, which was the strongest selection of the year. Nevertheless it was not a surprise when Gréta Salome & Jónsi and their powerful ballad were chosen to go to Baku. For me, their song combines elements of two recent Eurovision winners, the ethnic violin music of Norway in 2009 and the highly choreographed duet that brought victory to Azerbaijan in 2011. However, I'm not sure the song is as strong as some people feel, and for me it's trying to fit a little too much into three minutes, but it should have no problem qualifying for the final, despite the bad draw and I wouldn't be surprised to see Iceland back on the left side of the scoreboard on Saturday night. However with so many ballads in the final, I would not see it as a contender for the overall competition." - Keith Mills

 

YOUR REVIEWS

"I really wish they didn't change it into English - the Icelandic version had more impact. Still, regardless of language it's a great Nightwish-esque folk-rock ballad and if this doesn't reach the top 5 I will be very disappointed." - Olivia Gavazansky (U.K.)

"Well it gets somewhere in the end but it takes its good time about it and by then I had lost all interest. Deeply dull and deathly dreary this is very very dated and run-of-the-mill and sounds as though it came sixth in a national final of twenty years ago. Wrongly translated into English for Baku but without an injection of monkey glands or something to bring it up to date I can’t see this setting the land of fire alight." - Allan River (U.K.)

"The best big ballad this year. Impressive instrumentation, great singers, likely to make a big impact on stage.". - Leendert Jan (Netherlands)

"Reykjavik 2013, enough said.." - Sean P. Casey (U.S.A.)

"All the elements to win but somehow not combining as well as they should. I preferred it in Icelandic, but I understand why they needed to change it for Eurovision, however, for me, it lost some magic along the way." - Sean O'Brien (Ireland)