07 April 2018

Our Choice / Ari Ólafsson / Iceland | Review

Ari Ólafsson / Iceland / Eurovision 2018
Ari Ólafsson: the right choice for Iceland?

Good old Iceland tend to create an appealing approach to Eurovision, but usually end up way down the list once the scores have been finally revealed. Ever since Yohanna’s runners-up position in 2009, each and every Icelandic effort has wound up no higher than fifteenth place. In fact, over the past three years the island nation has failed to graduate from the semi-finals.

Flag Iceland
Our Choice by Ari Ólafsson is likely to maintain this miserable tide of bad fortune and it's fair to assume that it could rank quite badly. It’s possibly the most bland Icelandic entry in some time; while youthful himself (he's nineteen), Ari doesn't possess much of a ‘pop music’ tone, although no-one can deny that his vocals are powerful and smooth. The track resembles something that could well have been sung by the likes of a more mature Aled Jones, possibly featuring during an emotional segment on Songs of Praise. It sounds rather old-fashioned and - while the lyrics may be intended to be heartfelt - it all feels a little smug and affected.

Unfortunately, this is not the type of thing I normally listen to, so it wouldn't be the type of entry that I would champion anyway. I'm sure it will be well staged and well performed, but is it likely to stand out among the more up-to-date songs in the first semi-final? Unlikely. Aside from anything else, the Icelandic team will now have an uphill battle following the announcement of the semi-final running orders: they have been drawn to perform in second place - the 'death' spot.

On the other hand, am I being too harsh about Our Choice? Is it really the kind of middle of the road track that everybody will forget by the end of the evening? It's sung well, it's meant to be inspirational and Ari's boyish good looks will definitely appeal to certain sections of the audience.

Having heard much of the hardcore fan feedback, this one should be easy to call. Obviously, it would be an outright shock if Our Choice were to provide Iceland with their first triumph. What may be easier to predict is the song's chances at the semi-final stage: 14th or worse perhaps?

What do you think?

Artist: Ari Ólafsson
Song: Our Choice 
Semi-Final 1 | First Half

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