The Netflix comedy film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga has taken the world by storm. It may or may not have something to do with that fact that that world itself is a bit topsy turvy right now, and that Eurovision is pure unfiltered joy encapsulated in 120 minutes, but the fact remains: people love Eurovision. Of course the chemistry between Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as Iceland-born Eurovision hopefuls is a big part of why the film is so joyful, but its secret ingredient is the songs. Those joyful, ridiculous songs. And not just “Jaja Ding Dong.”
For a movie about a fictionalized version of the real Eurovision Song Contest, the songs in the Netflix film are actually kind of great. They’re silly for sure, but by the time you reach Fire Saga’s big finale number, things get genuinely emotional. But you may be wondering, does Rachel McAdams sing in Eurovision? Is the Game Night actress really belting out those wildly impressive musical numbers? Well, the answer is a little complicated.
We know for sure that Will Ferrell provides the singing voice for his character Lars because, well, Will Ferrell’s singing voice is unmistakable. But what about McAdams? The character of Sigrit is supposed to have this jaw-droopingly beautiful voice—of Fire Saga, she’s the insanely talented one. So how did they pull it off? With a little help.
McAdams is credited as a performer on all of the songs in which Sigrit performs, but the production blended her vocals with Swedish singer Molly Sandén, so the end result is a combination of the two. McAdams explained the process in an interview with The A.V. Club:
“So I was singing all the songs and then [director] David [Dobkin] would kind of lift bits of my performance. The bulk of the music was done by a Swedish singer, Molly Sandén; our voices were quite similar. So it was kind of like they did some fancy stuff in the studio and pulled it together that way. And then I sing the song that my character’s composing. But yeah I was very hoarse. I’m like, ‘I’m not even really, like, gonna be singing on this’ and I was losing my voice by the end of the big finale song. But a great tip from the director so you don’t look like you’re lip syncing was, ‘Don’t lip sync.’”
In many of the songs, McAdams sings the beginning part and then when the notes get more ambitious, Sandén takes over. Sandén is an accomplished recording artist and pop star in her own right, having performed on the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2006.
But there is one song that Rachel McAdams sings in full—as she states above, the scene in which Sigrit is composing the finale song “Husavik” is all her. And it’s impressive! But you can’t blame her for need a bit of help to convincingly hit those extremely high notes in the grand finale.
For more on Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga, check out our deep-dive interview with director David Dobkin about the making of the film.