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After clean-cut Ari Olafsson's truly diabolical song last year of peace and hope, Iceland have veered in the complete opposite direction with Hatari, a group that describes themselves as 'industrial BDSM' which certainly sounds eye-catching if not eye-watering. To further the contrast, "Hatrid Mun Sigra" translates as "Hate will prevail".
Just like Hatari's latex trousers, audiences seem to be split. Some say it's just a lot of noise, whereas others can hear the song underneath. What differentiates Hatari from most other Eurovision performances is that whereas most countries focus on the song, this will focus primarily on everything around the song. It clearly has huge potential for explosive staging and if their threats of an on-stage protest are anything to go by, all eyes could be on Iceland when the time comes.
In general though, the Eurovision audience don't tend to favour aggressive songs and while we in the West may not care so much about the sexual connotations of the costumes, those perhaps in more conservative areas such as Eastern Europe may find it distasteful and inappropriate. If Russia had to make up a story about Ireland's entry last year, it'll be interesting to see how they handle two men dressed entirely in BDSM gear (let alone other dancers on stage).
It took a few listens but we did eventually begin to appreciate the song - though of course the majority of Eurovision viewers will hear the song only once. The beat and the growled lyrics vs the chorus at least make for an interesting 3 minutes. Comparisons might be made to Hungary's 2018 entry or Lordi. Hungary was just regular hard rock, the message and visual wasn't nearly as strong as Hatari. Similarly with Lordi, the visual was shocking but the song itself was more public-friendly, plus Lordi were in pre-jury times.
Speaking of the jury, I think the televote will be strong in the semis for Hatari with a mild jury vote, I believe they'll progress. However upon reaching the final they probably won't be troubling the left-hand side of the table. The message of the song is one of hopelessness in the face of overwhelming hatred and the lyrics are perhaps in direct response to Eurovision being hosted in Israel. It's quite likely that the audience may boo this group, spurring those who share Hatari's view to come out in force for them, sympathetic jurors may also get involved and assign them a few points higher than they might otherwise have. This is academic of course, but we'll have to see what happens.
Will hate prevail at Eurovision? Let us know what you think in the comments below.