Living here in the U.K. last year has had a lot of references to Finland in the media thanks to a talented lady and former UMK runner up, Saara Aalto. This weekend sees that National Final return, as Finland choose who will fly their flag in Kyiv.
It is not a Finish selection without a bit of every genre being represented and this year’s selection of entries do not disappoint. Although, is that for good reasons? We must wait and see.
Below are my reviews of the 10 songs in the national final, I have tried to be as constructive in any criticisms I have given.
Anni Saikku- “Reach Out for the Stars”
Anni doesn’t hesitate at the start of the song, telling us she doesn’t like things to be easy. Yet it is easy to start feeling this song, it has a great beat and it is ‘reaching’ (no pun intended), for a big belting chorus although it just never gets there. Instead it breaks into a dubstep-lite chorus which makes me feel a bit deflated. It becomes quite an anti-climax, and when the song really doesn’t go anywhere else, it leaves me wanting more. Not a terrible song, yet could have been so much more.
My score: 6.5/10
Knucklebone Oscar & The Shangri-La Rubies- “Caveman”
If this was 2002 I would say this would have reached the Eurovision final (as there were no semi-finals) placing mid-table at best. Yet the contest has moved on considerably and with the introduction of the Juries, this song would be laughed of the stage. Now I understand that they are trying to start a new craze, the “Caveman”, but it really doesn’t go anywhere. It’s like a song out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and that was 40 years ago, not a winner!
My score: 3.5/10
Lauri Yrjola- “Helppo Elama”
A good start to the song, Lauri’s vocals are great on the studio version and the Finnish language gives this a more mystical feel. The song does go a bit ‘loungey’, yet if you see the trousers I have on now, you’ll understand that ‘loungey’ is not a negative word in my vocabulary. It does remind me somewhat of Just’s 2016 entry, but the language makes me invest more in the song than I did with Latvia last year. It has me bopping along and that can only be a good thing, right?
My score: 7.5/10
Gunther & D’Sanz- “Love Yourself”
This is just cheap 90/00’s Euro Pop, it would remind me of a watered down version of a Scooter song, yet a lot more camper with the fake moustache (I’m guessing that is fake). The lyrics are creepy and somewhat perverted, there really is nothing to redeem the song itself. The only thing Gunther & D’Sanz can take comfort in, is that Gunther is a well-known personality in Finland, so I am guessing he will pick up a few votes on that basis alone. I would like to say this is dead in the water, but we all know the Finnish public can be eccentric, so we must wait and see how they react to this.
My score: 2.5/10
Norma John- “Blackbird”
The song has a very gentle start to it, the vocal is arresting and haunting, although it is the lyrics that carry this song and they are very thought provoking. The first time I heard this, I immediately had images of being in the wide expansive countryside of Ireland. It is very Celtic in feel and I start to reminisce about one of my favourite pieces of music “Caoineadh cu Chulainn” played on the Uillean Pipes by Davy Spillane. While I don’t believe this will win, for me it is a beautiful piece of music and would love to see it recognised.
My score: 7/10
Club La Perse- “My Little World”
Spoken word from the start should make this an interest song, in my eyes at least, yet it just grates on me from the start. A novelty act that is not funny, just creepy and under-par. Their little world is going nowhere, in-fact it is stuck in reverse as this is a pastiche of 80’s club music, Good Luck all the same.
My score: 1.5/10
Zuhlke- “Perfect Villain”
“What would the X-Men do?”, run that’s exactly what they would do, if they heard this song. No denying that Zuhlke has a strong voice, if somewhat forced at times, yet these lyrics are shocking and the songs track is just R’n’B by numbers. Zuhlke’s Kryptonite is this song and it has failed her already. Not a winner for me.
My score: 5/10
This is the first song out of all the entries that I can really say is a contender. Alva’s voice and song are easily compared to those of Ellie Goulding. The lyrics are very good, if a bit repetitive in the chorus, I just hope she can pull this off live, as this has the potential to do very well in Eurovision itself. It is modern, well produced and has a great hook, and could take Finland back to the final for the first time in 3 years. Well done Alva!
My score: 8/10
Emma- “Circle of Light”
Country/ethnic pop, the song is very Greta Salome 2016 in it’s structure. Emma’s voice is great and the song is very dramatic. It lends itself to being well staged and this could go were Greta, regrettably couldn’t, by qualify and finishing in a respectable placing. It is hard to say that this is a winner for Eurovision, as we do not have all songs yet. This is the second song in a row, that I see as a real contender with some small changes.
My score: 8.5/10
My First Band- “Paradise”
What is it with bad lyrics in this selection? The backing track is decent but the production is still cheap. They are trying to be a credible boyband in the vain of The Wanted or The Vamps yet they fall well short of this, and end up sounding very amateurish. The song goes nowhere and by the last burst of “Imma leave you paralyzed”, they live up to that promise, though I would take that “kiss”.
My score: 5.5/10
After reviewing all the entries, it is a real mixed bag from Finland this year, and as I said an eclectic mix of entries from the sublime to the WTF! It will be interesting to see if they go for a class act or a novelty act, but I feel if they are to be successful in this year’s contest there are only a few options they have.
My Top 3:
- Emma- Circle of Light
- Alva- Arrows
- Lauri Yrjola- Helppo Elama
Good Luck to all participants, I hope one of my top three make it to Ukraine. Who is your top 3 or winner?