Iceland participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with the song « Unbroken« , written by Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson, Ásgeir Orri Ásgeirsson, Sæþór Kristjánsson and María Ólafsdóttir. The song was performed by María Ólafs. The Icelandic broadcaster Ríkisútvarpið (RÚV) organised the national final Söngvakeppnin 2015 in order to select the Icelandic entry for the 2015 contest in Vienna, Austria. After 12 songs competed through two semi-finals and a final, « Unbroken » performed by María Ólafs emerged as the winner, ultimately being selected through a public televote. In the second of the Eurovision semi-finals, Iceland failed to qualify to the final, placing fifteenth out of the 17 participating countries with 14 points. This was the first time since 2007 that Iceland had missed qualifying for the final.
Prior to the 2015 Contest, Iceland had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twenty-seven times since its first entry in 1986. Iceland’s best placing in the contest to this point was second, which it achieved on two occasions: in 1999 with the song « All Out of Luck » performed by Selma and in 2009 with the song « Is It True? » performed by Yohanna. Since the introduction of a semi-final to the format of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004, Iceland has, to this point, only failed to qualify to the final three times. The nation has thus far managed to qualify to the final every year since 2008. In 2014, the band Pollapönk, performing the song « No Prejudice« , placed the nation fifteenth in the final.
The Icelandic national broadcaster, Ríkisútvarpið (RÚV), broadcasts the event within Iceland and organises the selection process for the nation’s entry. Since 2006, Iceland has used a national final to select their entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, a method that continued for their 2015 participation.
RÚV confirmed their intentions to participate at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest on 21 May 2014. On 26 September 2014, the broadcaster revealed details regarding their selection procedure and announced the organization of Söngvakeppnin 2015.
Twelve songs in total competed in Söngvakeppnin 2015 where the winner was determined after two semi-finals and a final. Six songs competed in each semi-final on 31 January 2015 and 7 February 2015. The top three songs from each semi-final, as determined by public televoting, and one jury wildcard selected from the remaining entries qualified to the final which took place on 14 February 2015. The winning entry in the final was determined over two rounds of voting: the first to select the top two via 50/50 public televoting and jury voting and the second to determine the winner with 100% televoting. Both the semi-finals and the final were held at the Háskólabíó venue in Reykjavík, hosted by Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir, Guðrún Dís Emilsdóttir and Salka Sól Eyfeld.
On 26 September 2014, RÚV opened the submission period for interested songwriters to submit their entries until the deadline on 27 October 2014. Songwriters were required to be Icelandic or possess Icelandic citizenship, though exceptions would be made for minor collaborations with foreign songwriters. Composers had the right to submit up to two entries, while lyricists could contribute to an unlimited amount of entries. Initially, RÚV included a new rule that would require 50% of the selected competing songs to be composed by females. Following public criticism from Friðrik Ómar, who represented Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 as part of the duo Euroband, and 1997 Icelandic entrant Paul Oscar, the broadcaster decided to revoke the rule. At the close of the submission deadline, 258 entries were received. The twelve competing artists and songs were revealed by the broadcaster during a press conference on 8 January 2015.
|Artist||Song (English Translation)||Composer(s)|
|Bjarni Lárus Hall||« Brotið gler » (Shattered glass)||Axel Árnason, Bjarni Lárus Hall|
|Björn og félagar||« Piltur og stúlka » (Boys and girls)||Björn Þór Sigbjörnsson, Tómas Hermannsson, Björn Jörundur Friðbjörnsson|
|Cadem||« Fyrir alla » (For everyone)||Daníel Óliver Sveinsson, Jimmy Åkerfors, Einar Ágúst Víðisson|
|Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir||« Í kvöld » (Tonight)||Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir|
|Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir||« Myrkrið hljótt » (Silent darkness)||Arnar Ástráðsson, Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir|
|Friðrik Dór||« Í síðasta skipti » (The last time)||Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson, Ásgeir Orri Ásgeirsson, Sæþór Kristjánsson, Friðrik Dór Jónsson|
|Haukur Heiðar Hauksson||« Milljón augnablik » (A million moments)||Karl Olgeir Olgeirsson, Haukur Heiðar Hauksson|
|Hinemoa||« Þú leitar líka að mér » (You’re also searching for me)||Ásta Björg Björgvinsdóttir, Bergrún Íris Sævarsdóttir|
|María Ólafsdóttir||« Lítil skref » (Small steps)||Ásgeir Orri Ásgeirsson, Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson, Sæþór Kristjánsson|
|Regína Ósk||« Aldrei of seint » (Never too late)||María Björk Sverrisdóttir, Marcus Frenell, Sarah Reede, Regína Ósk Óskarsdóttir|
|Stefanía Svavarsdóttir||« Augnablik » (Moment)||Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson|
|Sunday||« Fjaðrir » (Feathers)||Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir, Guðfinnur Sveinsson|
|Semi-final 1 – 31 January 2015|
|1||Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir||« Myrkrið hljótt »||2,958||4||Eliminated|
|2||Hinemoa||« Þú leitar líka að mér »||2,738||5||Eliminated|
|3||Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir||« Í kvöld »||6,857||2||Advanced|
|4||Friðrik Dór||« Í síðasta skipti »||6,970||1||Advanced|
|5||Stefanía Svavarsdóttir||« Augnablik »||2,427||6||Eliminated|
|6||Björn og félagar||« Piltur og stúlka »||6,616||3||Advanced|
The second semi-final took place on 7 February 2015 where six competing artists presented their entries. The top three entries voted upon solely by public televoting proceeded to the final. The jury wildcard was awarded to an entry from the second semi-final: « Milljón augnablik » performed by Haukur Heiðar Hauksson.
|Semi-final 2 – 7 February 2015|
|1||Haukur Heiðar Hauksson||« Milljón augnablik »||2,899||4||Wildcard|
|2||María Ólafsdóttir||« Lítil skref »||6,428||1||Advanced|
|3||Sunday||« Fjaðrir »||3,185||3||Advanced|
|4||Regína Ósk||« Aldrei of seint »||2,190||6||Eliminated|
|5||Bjarni Lárus Hall||« Brotið gler »||2,351||5||Eliminated|
|6||Cadem||« Fyrir alla »||4,953||2||Advanced|
The final took place on 14 February 2015 where the six entries that qualified from the preceding two semi-finals and a jury wildcard selected from the remaining unqualified entries competed. In the semi-finals, all competing entries were required to be performed in Icelandic; however, entries competing in the final were required to be presented in the language they would compete with in the Eurovision Song Contest. The entries performed by Cadem, Sunday, María Ólafsdóttir, Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir, and Friðrik Dór were performed in English while the entries performed by Björn og félagar and Haukur Heiðar Hauksson remained in Icelandic. In the first round of voting, votes from a jury panel (50%) and public televoting (50%) determined the top two entries, « Once Again » performed by Friðrik Dór and « Unbroken » performed by María Ólafsdóttir. The top two entries advanced to a second round of voting, the superfinal, where the winner, « Unbroken » performed by María Ólafsdóttir, was determined solely by televoting.
The jury panel that voted in the first round consisted of:
- Einar Bárðarson – radio host, music manager
- Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir – singer-songwriter, represented Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009
- Sigríður Thorlacius – singer, composer, member of the band Hjaltalín
- Stefán Hilmarsson – singer, composer, member of the band Sálin; represented Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1988 and 1991
- Valdimar Guðmundsson – singer and member of the band Valdimar
|Final – 14 February 2015|
|1||Cadem||« Fly »||6,491||5||4||9||6||Eliminated|
|2||Sunday||« Feathers »||8,539||7||6||13||5||Eliminated|
|3||Björn og félagar||« Piltur og stúlka »||8,444||6||10||16||4||Eliminated|
|4||María Ólafsdóttir||« Unbroken«||21,437||10||7||17||2||Superfinal|
|5||Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir||« Dance Slow »||14,409||8||8||16||3||Eliminated|
|6||Friðrik Dór||« Once Again »||21,834||12||12||24||1||Superfinal|
|7||Haukur Heiðar Hauksson||« Milljón augnablik »||4,239||4||5||9||7||Eliminated|
|Superfinal – 14 February 2015|
|1||María Ólafsdóttir||« Unbroken«||70,774 (55.9%)||1|
|2||Friðrik Dór||« Once Again »||55,850 (44.1%)||2|
According to Eurovision rules, all nations with the exceptions of the host country and the « Big 5 » (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are required to qualify from one of two semi-finals in order to compete for the final; the top ten countries from each semi-final progress to the final. In the 2015 contest, Australia also competed directly in the final as an invited guest nation. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) split up the competing countries into five different pots based on voting patterns from previous contests, with countries with favourable voting histories put into the same pot. On 26 January 2015, a special allocation draw was held which placed each country into one of the two semi-finals, as well as which half of the show they would perform in. Iceland was placed into the second semi-final, to be held on 21 May 2015, and was scheduled to perform in the second half of the show.
Once all the competing songs for the 2015 contest had been released, the running order for the semi-finals was decided by the shows’ producers rather than through another draw, so that similar songs were not placed next to each other. Iceland was set to perform in position 12, following the entry from Azerbaijan and before the entry from Sweden.
All three shows were broadcast in Iceland on RÚV and Rás 2 with commentary by Felix Bergsson. The Icelandic spokesperson, who announced the Icelandic votes during the final, was Sigríður Halldórsdóttir.
María Ólafs took part in technical rehearsals on 14 and 16 May, followed by dress rehearsals on 20 and 21 May. This included the jury final where professional juries of each country, responsible for 50 percent of each country’s vote, watched and voted on the competing entries.
The stage show featured María Ólafs in a champagne-rose tutu dress with golden particles on its upper part designed by Sunna Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir. To the side of María were five backing vocalists dressed in dark blue and black outfits. Selma Björnsdóttir, who represented Iceland in the contest in 1999 and 2005, choreographed María Ólafs’ movement routine on stage. The background LED screens displayed scenic images of the Northern lights and shooting stars. Jonatan Gardarsson, the head of the Icelandic delegation, commented in regards to the performance: « The stage performance is based on what Maria is singing about followed by Nordic lights in the background. As you have already seen she has golden feet and the floor will turn gold at some point. It will look like a sun rising after those dark moments. »  On stage, María Ólafs was joined by five backing vocalists: Friðrik Dór, Ásgeir Orri Ásgeirsson, Alma Rut Kristinsdóttir, Íris Hólm Jónsdóttir and previous 2010 Icelandic Eurovision entrant Hera Björk Þórhallsdóttir.
At the end of the show, Iceland failed to qualify to the final and was not announced among the top ten nations. This was the fourth time Iceland had failed to qualify to the final since 2004; the last time Iceland did not qualify was in 2007. It was later revealed that Iceland placed fifteenth in the semi-final, receiving a total of 14 points.
Voting during the three shows consisted of 50 percent public televoting and 50 percent from a jury deliberation. The jury consisted of five music industry professionals who were citizens of the country they represent, with their names published before the contest to ensure transparency. This jury was asked to judge each contestant based on: vocal capacity; the stage performance; the song’s composition and originality; and the overall impression by the act. In addition, no member of a national jury could be related in any way to any of the competing acts in such a way that they cannot vote impartially and independently. The individual rankings of each jury member were released shortly after the grand final.
Following the release of the full split voting by the EBU after the conclusion of the competition, it was revealed that Iceland had placed fourteenth with the public televote and fifteenth with the jury vote in the second semi-final. In the public vote, Iceland scored 21 points, while with the jury vote, Iceland scored 15 points.
Below is a breakdown of points awarded to Iceland and awarded by Iceland in the second semi-final and grand final of the contest, and the breakdown of the jury voting and televoting conducted during the two shows:
Points awarded to Iceland
|12 points||10 points||8 points||7 points||6 points|
|5 points||4 points||3 points||2 points||1 point|
Points awarded by Iceland
Split voting results
The following five members comprised the Icelandic jury:
- Védís Hervör – Chairperson – singer, songwriter
- Einar Bárðarson – Managing director at Reykjavik City
- Unnur Sara – singer
- Birgitta Haukdal – singer, vocal coach, represented Iceland in the 2003 contest
- Heiðar Örn – musician, teacher, represented Iceland in the 2014 contest as a part of Pollapönk
|Split voting results from Iceland (Semi-final 2)|
|Draw||Country||V. Hervör||E. Bárðarson||U. Sara||B. Haukdal||H. Örn||Average Jury Rank||Televote Rank||Combined Rank||Scoreboard (Points)|
|Split voting results from Iceland (Final)|
|Draw||Country||V. Hervör||E. Bárðarson||U. Sara||B. Haukdal||H. Örn||Average Jury Rank||Televote Rank||Combined Rank||Scoreboard (Points)|
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(Note : Entries scored out are when Iceland did not compete)