So: in our possible artists series last week, when Rory looked at Italy and I covered Russia, our suggestions seemed to be met with general agreement, alongside further tips for singers the fans would like to see in 2014. Today, I’m going to be doing the same for Finland: who would I recommend to follow in Krista Siegfrids’ diamond-encrusted footsteps?
If it was up to me, the top choice for Finland in 2014 would be Kristiina Wheeler. Now, if you’re looking at the above photo and thinking “hold on, haven’t I seen her somewhere before?”… that’s because you have! This lady is the same one who announced the Finnish votes – complete with regional accent – in 2013. Yes, her of “the land of ding-dong” fame. Whilst her penchant for accidental innuendo may not be the first characteristic you’d look for in an ESC singer, her eccentric musical style most certainly is! Take a look at this; her single from the beginning of the year “Muukalainen” (“Stranger”)
It’s a song that’s difficult to classify – on the one hand, yeah, it’s middle-of-the-road pop. But digging deeper, it’s a multi-faceted piece of music which is expertly structured to maintain interest and build exhilaration. The quiet acoustic-led intro hints at a more subdued song, but once the energetic beat kicks in, a more up-tempo mood is established. For me though, alongside the ethereal piano and string motifs, it’s Kristiina’s vocals that really drive this song, and her delivery of the melody that lift it out of the realms of the ordinary.
Of course, were this exact song to be considered as a Eurovision entry, its major stumbling block would be the language. No song sung in Finnish has ever placed higher than 6th (Marion Rung in 1973) and in recent years, the Finns have mostly opted for other languages in their quest for success. However – as she made perfectly clear during her stint as a votes announcer – Kristiina is more than capable of communicating in fluent English, owing to the fact that her father is from Hertfordshire and she was brought up there until the age of six! There’s the language sorted then.
It’s not just her more alternative side I’m drawn to though. Here’s her 2011 single “Ihanaa” (Love)
Now, to my untrained ear, this sounds like she’s incorporated the more radio-friendly elements of Finnish rock, increased the tempo, added some synths and come up with another pop gem, albeit very different from “Muukalainen”. It could be argued that this is from the “Marry Me” school of Eurovision songwriting, but at the same time, I believe the Finnish language and Kristiina’s vocal interpretation allow the catchiness of this song to shine through.
And yes, I know I’ve now probably got a crowd of die-hard Finnish rock fans lined up to tell me how that is not even the slightest bit rocky, but I have just one word for you: Terasbetoni. It won’t work. 🙂
So, if you gave me the power to select Finland’s entrant for 2014, that’s who it would be. However, she’s not the only one…
Most ESC fans will recall Diandra’s bronze-medal performance in UMK 2013, with the -lesbihonest – downright dreary “Colliding Into You”. I can’t quite express my disappointment when I first heard that song, as I was already aware of the above stonker of a tune “Outta My Head”. I mean, that is camp schlager dance-pop heaven right there. Pretty much tailor-made for the Eurovision stage. And whilst the rational side of me accepts that the time has come and gone where songs like this would be in with a realistic shout at a victory, the contest needs at least five or six every year, just to maintain the fabulousness we all know and love about the show! And if Diandra would consider another attempt at UMK, with a song anywhere near as good as “Outta My Head”, then I’ll be a happy fanboy. 😀
If you have the time, have a listen to some of these other Finnish artists who we would both recommend for Eurovision:
Lisa Kussler from Germany: It’s a great song, of course I think Kristiina would be good for Eurovision
Gianni Romanus from Iceland: She would be a great choice 🙂
Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: She reminds me of Getter Jaani, as its that kind of pop. I’d prefer her singing in English though. Finnish doesn’t work for me
Haris Karas from Greece: NIGHTWISH for Finland. Then everyone else.
Finland obviously has a lot to offer in terms of ESC, and the two artists I mentioned, though a tiny representation of the Finnish music scene, seem to have been met with general agreement. I genuinely think that – especially with their previous connections to the contest – we should keep an eye on both Kristiina and Diandra in terms of the potential competitors in UMK 2014. If not… well there’s always Nightwish? *quickly googles*…