Editorials & OpinionStockholm 2016

Xtra Review: Finland’s UMK 2016 – Heat 3

The national final season is picking up pace, and earlier this week the 18 competitors in Finland’s Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu were unveiled. They will compete in three heats throughout February, with three acts qualifying from each to make the grand final on Saturday 27 February.
Over the next few days we’ll be taking a look at each song and seeing whether Finland could have a winner amongst the selection, or even just something to get them back into the final again. On Thursday, Peter listened to the songs on offer in semi-final 1. Yesterday, Nick reviewed the second semi-final. Today, we move onto semi-final 3, the semi Nathan listened to.

Lieminen – Pehmeiden arvojen vaalijat

With a throwback to the disco era with more than a hint of Daft Punk, Lieminen is a graduate in sound engineering who thinks its fun to try different things including teaching music and now entering UMK. This is actually one of my favourite songs I’ve heard so far in the national final season, it would definitely offer something different on the stage to many others but I’m interested to see how this is presented live!

Tuuli Okkonen – Don’t Wake Me Up

A contemporary power ballad with flowing drum beats laced with synth chords, Don’t Wake Me Up could have been perfect for someone like Ariana Grande. What I mean by that is that it could come across extremely strongly with a powerful vocal. If Tuuli Okkonen can give us that on the UMK stage, this is a contender to qualify and possibly head towards the top of the board during the Final.

Gušani Brothers – Poom Poom

I hope you’re ready to hit the dance floor at the club, as this is the strongest club/dance track we’ve had in a Eurovision national final since Danny’s runner-up of “In the Club” at Melodifestivalen 2011. The lyrics are definitely hinting at going “poom poom every night and day” but this will certainly need some strong visuals as well as live vocals to stand out as much as it does in the studio version. ALSO watch out for the Pitbull-esque rap verse. I wouldn’t even call this a guilty pleasure, this would fit in many of my Spotify playlists.

Barbe-Q-Barbies – Let Me Out

I wasn’t sure what to expect from an artist titled Barbe-Q-Barbies, but it wasn’t rock, that’s for sure. A strong melody and the instrumentation really kicks in halfway through each verse. The chorus is pretty decent too. A guitar solo in the instrumental break will be the focal point of the presentation, I’m sure. Will Finland favour these ballsy female rockers in this semifinal though? Only time will tell.

Pietarin Spektaakkeli – Liian kuuma

I have no words for this except “dead last”. I can’t describe it and I can’t give it a genre. In fact, the only thing that will make this even more odd will be how it looks live.

Sandhja – Sing It Away

The opening bars do not give away the style of track to expect here, that’s for sure. The verse is so so strong that I am so disappointed with the chorus, it cheapens the whole song entirely. It goes into a schlager inspired disco infused instrumentation and melody and actually, the song doesn’t need to go that far into mayhem for it to stand out. Everything except the chorus is brilliant here.

So who is qualifying?
This is a tough field to choose between but I would suggest the front-runner here is Tuuli Okkonen, closely followed by Barbe-Q-Barbies. These two stand out the most and taking Finnish voters into account, it’s hard to discount the rock song!
The third qualifier is the one which is hardest to put my finger on. Whilst I like the Gušani Brothers, I can’t see it coming across well live and the same can be said for Lieminen. I have a small feeling that Sandhja will actually be the third qualifier, despite my criticism, as long as the live performance is vocally strong.
What do you think?
Let us know if you agree and have a go at predicting the outcome by dropping us a tweet @escXtra. What do you make of our choices in each semifinal? Comment below!

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