Iceland: Jon Ola Sand to attend Söngvakeppnin 2019; gives an interview to RÚV

by Stratos Agadellis 1,031 views

He is the Mr. Eurovision, as called by many! Jon Ola Sand, who has been the Executive Supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest since 2011, never rests on his laurels, as he and his team always try to do their best for the organization of our beloved contest and its constant evolution.

This week Jon Ola Sand, will be flying to Iceland, in order to attend the nation’s annual competition Söngvakeppnin, which will provide the country with their next Eurovision representative. Ahead of his natural presence on Saturday, the so-called Mr. Eurovision talked to the country’s national broadcaster, commenting on their forthcoming national selection, the hard work with his team while preparing for the contest in May, as well as his optimism that the island will win Eurovision this year or the next few years and the contest will be held there.

In his telephone interview, Jon Ola Sand spoke about RÚV‘s invitation to Reykjavik in order to attend Söngvakeppnin, which was graciously accepted. He also talked about the quality of the participating songs every year, which is characterized as very high, if also compared to the country’s small population. After listening to the five competing songs of Saturday’s final, he stated that he has decided upon his favourite, without revealing it though.

Many challenges faced; what about the boycott calls?

When asked about the Eurovision preparations in Tel Aviv, as well as his cooperation with this year’s host broadcaster KAN, he said:

From mid-January until we have delivered the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, it is very busy. There are a lot of detailed plans that have to be put into place, and we are working really quite hard with the Israeli broadcaster to get everything finished in time. But it’s going well, I must say.

It’s always complicated and every year there are different challenges, but it’s a really good and professional team. It’s a mix between the best talent in Israel, and also an international team that has been working on the Eurovision Song Contest several times; so I am quite confident that in May we will see three fantastic TV shows out of Tel Aviv!

After Israel’s victory in Lisbon, there were many voices protesting and calling their countries to boycott the 2019 competition in that country. Among them, many Icelanders. Did this affect Jon Ola Sand himself too? What does he say about the contest’s priniciples?

Not for me personally, no, because I’m working purely professionally with this. There have been some calls for boycotts, there have been some discussions around whether it’s right to be in Israel, but I have to remind everyone that this is a competition that is there to unite us and not to divide us.

This is a competition where we once a year we come together to celebrate the good things that we share and I think it will be the same this year; so I am totally convinced that every artists and every delegation coming to Israel will have a really good time and they will stand behind the idea of the Eurovision Song Contest to unite us in a peaceful competition on three nights in May.

“Iceland will win the contest, it will happen one year!”

Closing his interview, Jon Ola Sand pointed out his strong belief that Iceland is going to be among the next countries which will snatch the Eurovision victory, as well as his impatience for the contest to be hosted by RÚV.

It’s noteworthy that the last time that the contest was hosted in Israel, in 1999, saw Iceland come closer than ever to the coveted victory, as they came 2nd with Selma and All out of luck. Could this be a omen for a lucky fortune this year?

The final of Söngvakeppnin 2019 will be taking place on Saturday 2 March. A total of 5 acts will battle for the trophy and Iceland’s ticket to Tel Aviv. Last year, Iceland was represented by the young singer Ari Ólafsson with his ballad Our choice. He performed at the first semi-final in Lisbon but unfortunately he didn’t progressed to the Grand Final. This was Iceland’s 4th consecutive elimination in the semi-finals.

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