I like Finland. I was lucky enough to go there in 2012 and spend a few days in Helsinki. It’s just Scandinavia innit? I like it all. One of the more sparsely populated countries in the region, but all that open space hasn’t dulled their imaginations. I mean, who saw Lordi coming back in 2006, let alone thought they would end up winning Finland’s first (and so far only) victory .
Judging by their history in the contest, it was a bit of a fluke. But they have a decent qualification record, reaching more finals than they miss (just). It seems that whatever they send, they end up either just scraping through or just missing out; their last 4 qualifiers have ended up in the bottom 5. But it could happen again, Nordic victories are coming in thick and fast. So why can’t it be Finland? (or Iceland now you mention it).
Selection show Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) had the task of choosing the Finnish entry for Copenhagen, via a rather slow elimination process. 12 acts participated in 2 heats. In each heat, only one song was eliminated, and one sent to the final. The other four were sent to a semi-final. The eight semi-finalists were again barely whittled down to six, joining the two heat-winners in the final. They’re in no rush, are they?
A jury selected their top 3, while a 50/50 jury/televote decided the winner of those songs. Clear as mud! Let’s see how they did.
MadCraft – Shining Bright
Oh nice jacket. Is his microphone working? I can barely hear him. What a hatchet-job, you can’t hear his voice at all! What a shame. Otherwise it seems like a fairly run-of-the-mill bit of college pop-rock. Good for what it is, even if it doesn’t really push my buttons. I’ve certainly seen a lot worse, and they are throwing a lot at that performance. Good work, but totally shafted on the sound quality, poor guys.
Hanna Sky – Hope
Surprisingly this won its heat but was totally sunk on the night. Wow, the sound it off on this too, enough echo? At least you can understand her. It’s quite good, like a more cheerful Florence + The Machine with hippy-dippy styling and bare feet. Very pleasant, even if it feels like the melody is lost in the freestyling a bit.
Clarissa ft Josh Standing – Top of the World
A nice bit of dance pop to get this going, with some shades of “Euphoria”, but ending more like Cascada’s “Glorious”. This sound issue is ridiculous, you can’t even hear Josh in parts. It’s a fairly slick effort that’s not winning any originality prizes, but a very energetic performance, a good team and a catchy song. That could have qualified easily I think.
Lauri Mikkola – Going Down
Nice red suit… haven’t we seen this before? Never mind. A cute guy, a decent ballad. Before it hits the powerballad chorus, it reminds me a bit of Rihanna’s “Stay”. The pieces are all there; a decent ballad with a solid chorus, a handsome singer with a good range. So why does it leave me a little cold? He does ham it up a bit, filling every spare second with falsetto whoops and shrieks. Less is more, Lauri!
Hukka ja Mama – Selja
Og goodness, what’s going on here? What’s that on her head, a birthday cake? Is somebody trying to stand out with some kooky staging? Perhaps they could have put a bit more interest into the song, which stands as a fairly leaden country-lite bit of folk song. I wonder if I’d enjoy it more in a studio version. The visuals are just a bit try-hard.
MIAU – God/Drug
What a title! This made the Jury’s top 3? How liberal! What a strange song though, a bit of hard electropop with some more OTT staging. It pulls together by the halfway mark though, there’s something catchy about it, even if it’s a bit of a mess. Random shouty guitar bits and lurid outfits. It sort of works, but a bit too raggedy to get the win.
Mikko Pohjola – Sängyn reunalla
And in second place is another handsome ballad. In black & white too, how classy, looks a bit 1980s (maybe his hair is more than a little responsible). I was sort of waiting for something to kick in, but as nice as it is, there’s nothing coming. It’s just a rather sparse ballad, that finally decides to go a bit uptempo towards the end, but not really struggling to escape beige country-folk territory.
Softengine – Something Better
Come on then, after a fairly uninspiring selection let’s see what won. At least they’ve picked some cuties, who seem like rather serious young men. But the big chorus gets things moving, and there’s a lot of energy in subsequent verses. They’re going for the big college-rock sound too, like 30 Seconds from Mars or something like that.
To give them credit I think this could easily work on a big stage, and could well give Finland one of their best finishes since Lordi. I don’t think it’s a winner, not least because the lead guy’s vocals struggle to keep up with some of those high notes. But there’s plenty of time to sort that out, right? Well done Finland, at least you picked your best shot.