When aspiring musicians Lars and Sigrit are given the opportunity to represent their country at the world’s biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.
In Iceland, Lars (Will Ferrell) dreams his whole life of winning Eurovision. He and his best friend Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) form a band called “Fire Saga”. Sigrit is in love with Lars but he is so focused on winning Eurovision that he never really sees her. They get selected to compete for their country and lose, but when everyone else in the competition is on a boat that explodes, Fire Song becomes Iceland’s entry.
It turns out the other competitors were murdered by an Icelandic official named Viktor trying to sabotage Iceland from winning Eurovision because he believes Iceland could not afford to host the competition next year. Fire Saga becomes successful in the semi-finals, but Sigrit and Lars have a falling out over Lars’s obsession with winning. Viktor tries to kill Lars but he is saved by elves, and he returns to Eurovision, performing a new song that Sigrit wrote with her, which disqualifies them but proves to Sigrit he doesn’t just care about winning. They are disqualified but become hugely succesful.
Months later, Sigrit and Lars have a baby together and perform at the wedding of Lars’s father and Sigrit’s mother.
In the small town of Húsavík, Iceland, Lars Erickssong and his best friend Sigrit make music together as the band Fire Saga, much to the dismay of Lars’s widowed father, Erick. Lars has one dream: to win the Eurovision Song Contest. They apply and are selected to take part in Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Sigrit, who believes in the old Icelandic tradition of elves, asks them to help them in the contest and that, if they win, Lars might finally return her feelings.
Their performance is a disaster, and the incredibly talented Katiana Lindsdóttir wins the pre-selection. Dejected, Lars and Sigrit look out at the boat party taking place with all the other contestants. The boat suddenly explodes, killing everyone on board. Fire Saga, as the only surviving contestants, automatically become Iceland’s entry to the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest.
Lars and Sigrit arrive in Edinburgh, Scotland, and struggle with a new remix of their song and the elaborate stage design. They meet Alexander Lemtov, a Russian singer who is the favorite to win the contest. He invites them to a party at his house, attended by a number of real former Eurovision contestants, where he introduces Lars and Sigrit to the Greek singer Mita. Alexander and Sigrit spend the night together, as do Lars and Mita. This causes tension within Fire Saga, which almost derails their plans for the semifinal. Lars overhears Sigrit working on a new song for him in their hotel room, but he wrongly assumes it is a love song for Alexander. Katiana’s ghost appears to Lars and warns him that his life is in danger; he ignores her.
Fire Saga reconcile before the semifinals. The performance of their song “Double Trouble” initially goes very well, but is derailed by an accident involving a giant hamster wheel. They recover and finish the song, but are met with deafening silence and scattered laughter. Lars storms out, leaving Sigrit behind. To her shock, Iceland is voted through to the finals.
Returning to Húsavík, Lars is unaware of Fire Saga’s advancement in the contest. He talks with his father and confesses his love for Sigrit, and Erick tells him to return and fight for her love. On his way back to Reykjavík, Victor Karlosson (governor of the Central Bank of Iceland and one of the Icelandic organisational team members) attempts to murder Lars and reveals he blew up the boat at Söngvakeppnin, as Iceland is bankrupt and cannot afford to host Eurovision the following year if Fire Saga wins. Luckily, unseen elves save Lars by killing Victor.
Lars makes it to the grand finale just in time to perform, after hitchhiking with some initially unwilling American tourists. Before going onstage, Katiana’s ghost reappears and tells him Victor blew up the boat. Lars informs her that he already knows, that Victor is dead, and she’s not very helpful. Instead of their official entry, Sigrit and Lars perform the song she wrote for him, “Húsavík”. Their friends and families are all touched, discovering that the song is an ode to their hometown, with some lyrics in Icelandic and a stunning finale. Erick watches the contest proudly with Sigrit’s mother, Helka. Alexander – who is gay and unable to live openly in Russia – discusses with Mita the possibility of moving to Greece. Because Fire Saga changed their song during the contest, they are disqualified. Lars and Sigrit finally kiss.
Lars and Sigrit return home, where they are greeted with a hero’s welcome. Some time later, Fire Saga perform with their young baby at the wedding of Erick and Helka. The band offers to play the Eurovision song, but everyone just wants to hear the local favourite folksong, “Jaja Ding Dong.”
In Husavik, Iceland, 1974, young Lars Erickssong is sad about the recent passing of his mother. His family gathers to watch the Eurovision song contest, and when Lars begins dancing to “Waterloo” along with his friend Sigrit, but his father Erick (Pierce Brosnan) shames him for being silly. He then yells at everyone that someday he will win the Eurovision song contest. In present day, Lars and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) have a band called “Fire Saga”. They sing a song called “Volcano Man”, imagining an incredible music video – but in reality, they are in the basement of Erick’s house, who comes down to yell at them to keep quiet. Later, Sigrit’s mother questions her spending time with Lars, but Sigrit says that Lars is the one who taught her how to sing. Her mother tells her she will never find the “speorg note” singing with Lars. Meanwhile, Erick tells Lars to move on from his childish dreams and that he needs to move out.
At a local performance, Lars wants to play something new and different, but the angry crowd insists he plays “Jaja Ding Dong”, frustrating Lars. Sigrit tells Lars she went to ask the elves for help, an old Icelandic superstition. Lars doesn’t believe in that, but Sigrit insists it’s what they need. Meanwhile, Neils Brongus (Olafur Darri Olafsson) plays a video of Katianna (Demi Lovato), an incredible singer with an entry for the Eurovision contest. Neils believes Katianna could be the first Icelandic winner. Another member of the council, Viktor, protests that if they win, they have to host next year, which they can’t afford. Neils believes in Katianna regardless. The council needs to pick twelve acts total for Songvakeppnin to compete for the Eurovision slot, and randomly picks Fire Saga as one of the other eleven.
Lars is so excited he rings the emergency bell, leading to his arrest – Sigrit bails him out, then goes to leave gifts for the elves. She thanks them for getting into the competition, and asks them to help get them into Eurovision, since it’s Lars’s true dream – and if it came true, she and Lars could finally be together. After saying goodbye to their drummer – a small child – and head for Songvakeppnin.
At Songvakeppnin, Lars imagines Erick telling him he’s going to look ridiculous and everyone will laugh at him. In real life, Erick is at the bar with everyone and the contest is on TV, but he doesn’t even want to watch the competition. Erick goes outside right before he’s supposed to go on, but gets locked out. Sigrit is forced to go onstage and begin singing “Double Trouble” alone as Lars runs through the auditorium, getting onstage halfway through. They put on wings and are hoisted into the air, but Lars becomes unclipped and falls, to the laughter of the crowd.
Lars sobs on a bench, saying he has ruined everything for them. He asks why she stays by his side, and she tells him it’s because he’s a dreamer. They’ve missed the big boat party for all the acts. They finally lean in to kiss, when the boat containing all the other acts explodes. They’re horrified but also excited because they realize they are now the only entry for Eurovision. The council reluctantly agrees to let Fire Saga compete, and they go to Scotland for Eurovision.
While touring Scotland, they lean in to kiss again, but Lars backs down, saying they must focus on the music. At rehearsals, they see Alexander Lemtov (Dan Stevens) the flirty Russian competitor singing “Lion of Love”. When Fire Saga goes to rehearse, Sigrit is surprised by all the effects and dancers Lars and the Iceland team have prepared. The choreographer is very harsh on Sigrit for not knowing any dancing. Meanwhile, the council is disappointed by Fire Saga’s performance, except Viktor. When they go to record the song, Sigrit finds the new version of the track too overproduced by the new producer Lars has hired. Alexander arrives and invites them to a party.
At the party, Alexander introduces them to Mita Xenakis (Melissanthi Mahut) from Greece, who spends time with Lars while Alexander takes Sigrit around his mansion. Alexander hits on Sigrit, telling her that she needs to sing from her soul, just like her mother told her. Then a “songalong” starts in the party, where lots of contestants sing a medley of songs. Afterwards, Mita hits on Lars. Alexander tells Sigrit she almost hit the SIFDSHFSD note. Lars turns Mita down and says he has more work to do on his song, but tells Sigrit to go out dancing at the club with everyone else. Later, Mita comes to Lars’s room and sleeps with him.
Sigrit wakes up hungover at Alexander’s, though nothing happened between the two of them. He tells her she was singing a song in her sleep. He tells her he feels romantically toward her and wants to sing with her, but she says she has feelings for Lars. He reminds her that Lars is only focused on the competition and she’s been waiting for him. Sigrit goes back to Lars’s room and finds him in bed with Mita. She storms out. Then, at rehearsal, Sigrit furiously tears up the outrageous costume Lars made for her. They fight about their relationship and the new version of the song, and Sigrit walks out.
Lars goes to a fountain and talks to his reflection, then yells at some Americans, while Sigrit practices a new song. Later, the burning ghost of Katianna appears to Lars and tells him he is in danger. Mita comes to see Sigrit, and tells her that Lars and her didn’t actually have sex, and that she and Lars have something special. At the semi-finals, Lars and Sigrit make up in the dressing room – he tells her he’s going back to the original song. Alexander sees this and is disappointed, but determined to have Sigrit. Bak in Iceland, the locals watch as Fire Saga performs. The commentators, council, and Iceland locals are all surprised as Fire Saga does a great job – until Sigrit’s extra-long scarf Lars designed gets caught in the giant hamster wheel he is performing in, which then rolls of the stage, taking them both with it. They rush back on stage to finish, but are humiliated once again. Erick leaves the bar. Fire Saga leaves the stage, but then the crowd bursts into applause.
Outside, Lars wants to leave, and Sigrit demands they go back in and do it for everyone who believes in then. She tells Lars they are more than the contest, and she says she has never asked him for anything and asks him to do this one thing for her. He says he only wanted to win, and Sigrit says Alexander was right about him. He refuses to go back inside, and she tells him they are over. He tells her to play the love song she heard him writing for Alexander, and she tells him it was for him. She goes back in, alone, to hear the result of the votes. Alexander sits with Sigrit and holds her hand as the votes come in, and everyone is shocked as Iceland wins the evening. Sigrit goes back to the hotel room and finds Lars gone.
Lars goes back to Iceland and begins working as a fisherman. He yells at Erick for always being do disappointed in him, and Erick tells him that after he saw his performance he understands him and is proud of him, and tells him to go and be with Ingrid. Lars then finds out Iceland made the finals, and rushes off to go back to Eurovision. Viktor offers to give Lars a ride to the airport, and Lars makes him stop so he can ask the elves for help in fixing things with Sigrit. Viktor then begins strangling Lars, saying that Iceland can not afford to win, and confessing to killing everyone on the boat. Suddenly, Viktor keels over, a tiny elf knife in his back. Lars looks back and sees the elf’s door shut and thanks them.
Lars gets back to Scotland and the Americans he yelled at give him a ride to the contest. Sigrit watches Alexander sing his song at Kevin, the gay show producer, and afterward Sigrit asks if him if he’s gay – he says that no one is gay in Russia (due to Russia’s homophobic laws), and Sigrit lets him be. Katianna appears one more time to Lars to warn him and he explains to her that the situation is already over, and she leaves. Lars then attacks Alexander, who explains that he is no threat to him and that he should be with Sigrit. Sigrit begins singing “Double Trouble” alone, but Lars arrives and stops the song. He tells the audience that life is more than a competition, and they don’t need to sings a winning song, but instead a song from the heart. He plays Sigrit’s song she wrote, knowing they will be disqualified, and she sings “Husavik”, a beautiful ballad about her home, which culminates in her hitting the speorg note. The audience, including Erick and Sigrit’s mother at home, love it. Lars finally kisses Sigrit as the crowd cheers. Offstage, Alexander is happy for them living their truth. Mita tells him he should be able to live his truth too and invites him to come to Greece to get away from Russia’s homophobic rule.
Sigrit and Lars return home to great fame and popularity. Months later, Erick marries Sigrit’s mother, and Lars and Sigrit have a baby together. They perform at their parents’ wedding as the credits roll.