Söngvakeppnin 2013 is the competition which will determine Iceland's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, and tonight's first semi-final saw six songs competing for the all important three tickets to the final which takes place on 2nd February.
Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir (Yohanna) needs no introduction to fans of Europe's Favourite TV Show, for she took Iceland to 2nd place in the Grand Final of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest with the haunting ballad Is It True. She also returned to the national selection in 2011 with Nótt. She has now relocated to Norway with her fiancé, Davíð Sigurgeirsson in order to further her career.
Magni Ásgeirsson is making his fifth attempt to win the Icelandic national selection, his major successes have been in recent years. In 2011 his Ég Trúi á Betra Líf finished in 2nd place and last year he returned with Hugarró and finished 3rd. He is regarded as one of Iceland's top rock singers.
Svavar Knútur Kristinsson and Hreindís Ylva Garðarsdóttir Hólm are teaming up together this year. Hreindis did participate in the 2009 national final where she made the final with Vornótt. She has also starred in musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Annie. Svavar is making his first appearance in the national selection, he has developed a reputation as a singer/songwriter and towards the preservation of Icelandic vocal tradition.
Edda Viðarsdóttir is making her debut this year with a song written by her husband. She has performed with choirs and bands in the past and has played roles in musical productions which have taken her as far as Broadway.
Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson is also a debutant in the national final, and is currently working on his first solo album. He has played many roles in musical productions and also has been in tribute shows to Deep Purple and Freddie Mercury.
Birgitta Haukdal returns to the competition after an absence of five years. Her big success was winning in 2003 and representing Iceland in Europe's Favourite TV Show in Riga, taking Open Your Heart to 8th place in the Final. She did return in 2006 and 2008 and is hoping that 2013, the tenth anniversary of her previous victory will prove lucky for her once again.
The semi final got under way in the Reykjavik studios in front of an enthusiastic audience. Inbetween the songs pre recorded interviews with the composers and artists were shown. The acts were also interviewed in the green room to give feedback after their performances.
2012 runners up Blár Opal performed in the interval act before the results of the televoting were announced, and the three qualifiers given the good news.
Tonight's line up was as follows (Qualifiers in bold) :-
The second semi final of Söngvakeppnin 2013 will take place tomorrow evening, where a further six acts will compete for three slots in the final on February 2nd.