1999 was the first year I seriously got into the Eurovision Song Contest because of two factors - a producer I was working with at the time was totally obsessed and would send me links to various MP3 versions of contest songs, and I got invited to this incredible Eurovision Song Contest party that still ranks as one of the best I'd been to. Sending MP3s was quite radical for 1999 because usually it was almost impossible to hear any music from the contest until the actual night. My favourite that stood out was All Out Of Luck by Selma. Selma was a popular musical theatre actress in Iceland (White Christmas must be a popular title there). I don't know how seriously Iceland was taken as a contender since they entered the contest in 1986, but I think for the first time Selma's song actually st ood a good chance in the odds. The live videos of her performance on the web are terrible but if you search enough, you can find the original video of this song. If you choose to watch it, I apologise in advance if your head explodes from the sight of the dancing polar bears and Selma's frightening black wig.
Despite singing her heart out during the Eurovision Song Contest Final, Selma came second. This was really annoying because the winner in 1999 (Sweden) had a song that wasn't quite as good as Selma's – even Charlotte Nilsson said so a few years later. So as Charlotte broke 280,000 Icelandic hearts by taking the prize home, Selma must have been plotting her return in the meantime – between her busy schedule of musicals and probably eating rotting shark meat like some Icelandics do. It wasn't all bad - Iceland has never done so well in the final and being the country the smallest population of all Eurovision Song Contest entrants, they had a lot to be proud of.
So in 2005, Selma made her triumphant return with an even better song, If I Had Your Love. With six more years of experience behind her, and a kind of very slight rip-off of Toxic by Britney Spears, she was guaranteed to do well. For the second time, the betting odds were in her favour. I was so sure she was going to win I bet £100 on her victory even before the Semi-Final that year on the back of watching her video online. She looks less like a pixie and more like she's got some balls to perform the hell out of this song – plus there are no dancing waiters or polar bears, just Selma playing cupid and eventually snagging some hot Icelandic mess on the street.
However, disaster struck. Iceland did poorly in 2004 (coming 19th out of 24 with a soppy ballad) so they were relegated to the Semi-Final in 2005. Enter Selma to save the day! But on the night of the Semi-Final, my £100 went down the drain as I watched in horror when she crashed out of the Semi-Final.
Six weeks later I was in Oslo for EuroPride and they had a three-hour concert of tons of Scandinavian Eurovision Song Contest performers singing their hearts out for the gay fans. Selma and her girls did an amazing live gig and Eurovision Song Contest balance was therefore restored in the world. That night after the concert I went to club and ended met a nice local named Edvard, who became my boyfriend for six months afterwards. Was that Selma acting as cupid again?