Song Title: “Unbroken”
Artist: María Ólafsdóttir
Semi-Final: Second, Position 12
Last year’s entry: “No Prejudice” – Pollapönk (15th Place)
Perhaps it’s unfair, but I tend to judge Iceland’s Eurovision entries by the extent to which they encapsulate the joy, talent, and/or quirkiness of Björk (not that anyone, from anywhere, can legitimately compare.) Last year, Pollapönk did a great job of bringing a fun OK Go-inspired dance number, with a great message to boot, and I felt their finish was lower than deserved. As the only Northern European country to have never won Eurovision, could 2015 be Iceland’s year?
Since we last looked at “Unbroken” a couple of things have changed; the lyric heading into the chorus is now “one step at a time” instead of “a step at a time,” and the rhythm to that same lyric is much more natural and appealing. Unfortunately the costuming hasn’t changed, and I agree that the flowing gown / barefoot combination harkens back to 2013 a little too obviously, a little too late.1 I’m also realizing … does this song even have any verses, or is it entirely made up of bridges and choruses? The fact that I’ve listened to this song several times now and still have to ask that question isn’t a good sign.
Don’t get me wrong, I dig this song. It’s catchy, it has a good message, and the staging is well done — at least on video.2 I have even caught myself singing it at my desk while working on completely non-Eurovision tasks. I’m just not sure this song has enough of the right ingredients to make it to the Grand Final, given how strong the second semifinal is shaping up to be, especially since they perform right before the odds-on favorite, Sweden.3 It pains me to say it, and I know the odds are against me on this, but I think the best María Ólafsdóttir can hope for is that Iceland’s seven-year streak of qualifying out of the semifinals will remain unbroken.