Finland always seems to like something a bit different. This year, they pulled out all the stops in their bid for Eurovision glory… opera, teen-pop, bhangra, reggae… you name it, it probably featured during tonight’s hotly-anticipated UMK national final from Helsinki, hosted by Rakel Liekki and Roope Salminen.
‘Ostarilla’ brought a bit of Indian flair to Finland to get things started, performed by Shava. A colourful, disorienting backdrop, energetic dancing, rapid lyrics, and a random van all added to the bizarre but joyous nature of this entry. Certainly, I like it far more than when I first heard it. Perhaps too different to do any good in Vienna, fair play to Shava for bringing something different to the Finnish table.
Satin Circus were the favourites – a successful band aiming straight at the heart of teenage girls everywhere. Their pop ditty ‘Crossroads’ went down a treat in the arena, but questions have been rasied about the band’s live abilities. Nevertheless, it was a catchy number with a toe-tapping beat (even if there were far too many ‘yuh-yuh-youngs’ for my liking), and it clearly stood a chance at winning.
Third up was Solju – a mother/daughter combo from the Lapland region of the country. The tune ‘Hold Your Colours’ was full of green lights, dreamlike and sadly, just too unmemorable. There was nothing else similar to it in the national final this year, so surely it would strike a chord with the juries and public? Alas, not at all to be honest.
Järjestyshäiriö (try saying that after a couple of gin and tonics) were up next with a moody, synth-y track that had all of a sudden come up on the rails over the past seven days (it even topped one ot two online polls). The band has been performing since 1997, and their experience shone through with an accomplished, simplistic performance. Again though, it slipped from people’s memories all too soon, and came last.
Norlan ‘El Misionario’, a Latin musician originally from Cuba was next to perform. His song ‘No Voy A Lllorar Por Ti’ was two-thirds stereotypical, one-third serious, and the lyrics and theme in general regard his father’s passing. Seen as a bit of a jokey entry, with an array of dancers moving about the stage in whichever fashion they liked, fan support was relatively high for this weak attempt at reggae, but it wasn’t to be.
‘Heart of Light’ was a popular choice with many across Europe. Opera Skaala (Essi Luttinen) was the act – a mix of opera and dance-pop made for an interesting combination, and as she sang wearing…well… not very much, you could have said there and then that it would be a sure-fire hit with viewers. The chorus is so-so and repetitive (a bit like Satin Circus then), but the vocals were right on the money.
Jouni Aslak was an outside bet. ‘Lions and Lambs’ is not a bad song at all. Performing in a crisp-blue suit, there’s no denying it was a solid showing, but a lack of real support was its downfall alongside the oomph-factor, and the bespectacled Jouni went home with a somewhat disappointing outcome.
Song eight was one of the talking points of the evening. ‘Aina Mun Pitää’ is a punk-rock style tune, performed by PKN (Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät), a four-piece who formed at a workshop for the disabled. Loathed by some Euro-fans, but appreciated a great deal by others, the performance was remarkably dull considering the energy of the melody. The monochrome effect did not leave a lasting impression, and yet…
Angelo De Nile is a confident rock musician, and ‘All For Victory’ was his chance to propel himself onto the European stage. To me, he sounded wobbly and out of tune throughout most of the song, similar to how he was in the semis, but otherwise there was nothing wrong at all. Dressed as a warrior as flames licked up through the air, Angelo had a good song, but it simply wasn’t memorable enough.
The jury votes came in first, with Satin Circus topping the list, and Opera Skaala in second. Norlan and Solju meanwhile had nul points, but still it was all to play for. The public appeared to like every song the jury didn’t, and then as things became tense, Opera Skaala ended in third, with favourites Satin Circus in second. The winners were PKN. My reaction – what? They will be flying the flag for Finland in Vienna. History is made regarding the circumstances of the group, but what will people think of this one? Here are a few reactions.
Lisa from United Kingdom: It happened… how patronising. The whole song is a mess! I’ve never had Finland last in my rankings before. Not happy!
Sini from Finland: That’s it then. Eurovision song I don’t like chosen as Finland’s song this year I guess it’s good for tolerance though…
Mandy from Norway: One of the best years in Finland, and you end up with THAT?! Seriously upset!!
Cathan from Ireland: FINLAND.. what the F**K were you thinking!!!
Olaf from The Netherlands: Please EBU please. Disqualify this to preserve the quality of the contest. This is just the most afwul thing I’ve ever heard.
Well there we go, a selection of reactions from immediately after the national final – believe me, it was a struggle to see truly positive remarks. Do you disagree though? Or did the public play the sympathy card? Let us know in the comments!