The Finland UMK 2013 recap, from our trustworthy Eurovision fan Melissa!
Krista Siegfrids to walk the aisle stage in Malmo with “Marry Me!”
Fending off a challenge by Mikael Saari and Diandra, Finland fell in love with the bride wannabe, so pack your frocks and suits, Krista’s inviting everyone to Malmo!
The opening sequence is a parody of Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler featuring the contestants and tonight’s hosts. Honestly I had forgotten how good this track was, and got a little excited when it cut from the footage to a live performance. Only problem is the performers look nothing like 14-year-aged MCs at all. As it turns out, they are jury members Aija Puurtinen, Redrama, Tomi Saarinen and Toni Wirtanen.
So a quick introduction to our hosts Ille Uusivuori and Annie Lainto before, just as swiftly, we get on with the show.
First up is the all male band Arion with “Lost”, and the first thing that comes to mind is that the lead singer looks far too young to be caught up with this sort of crowd! The staging is pretty dark and dramatic – there’s lots of dry ice, strobe lighting and smoke machines, and the LED’s keep it simple with lightning effects. Honestly, everything is pretty good except Kyosti’s vocals – very nervous, shaky, and never really gains confidence unfortunately. I really don’t see this entry overcoming a very poor performance & position to win UMK to be honest.
The second artist to perform is Elina Orkoneva with “He’s Not My Man”, who’s dressed in a red sleeveless floor length sequin gown and styling very much in tuned to 1950’s American swing pop. The vocals are very solid throughout, however the shots of the audience are not exactly showing them getting into the performance perhaps as much as Elina would have liked. A somewhat modest performance overall, unlikely to challenge the big contenders this evening.
Next is Lucy Was Driving with “Dancing All Around The Universe”, and the vocals for the most part are somewhat decent, except at some point in the latter stages where the lead singer Osto flubbed a noticeable and sustained note. The LED backdrop shows, er, chalk-outlines men marching in time to the song, very effectively too. Much like Elina though, I really don’t see this Finnish ‘Fall Out Boy’ threatening to make an appearance in the Top 3 tonight. The reaction of the band members after receiving feedback from the Jury also seems to reinforce this.
Now onto the first real contender of the night, and it’s Krista Siegfrids with “Marry Me”. I can already imagine this in Malmo, groups of Krista’s ‘bridesmaids’ in the audience with different coloured veils, wedding invites left in the press pigeon holes etc. It’s a very enjoyable track, and the lyrics do manage to stick in your head after first listen. Her vocals are a tiny bit shaky but this is mainly down to the choreography – there are many dancers on stage, they bring a great energy to the performance, and during the bridge a massive silk veil is fitted onto Krista and runs almost all the way to the backdrop, covering many other performers on stage, using the wind machine to full advantage, as well as some pyrotechnic action during the end of the performance.
After a minor Green Room chat with some of the performers, it’s onto our fifth performer – Last Panda, with “Saturday Night Forever”. The sound is very Green Day-esq, and the lead vocals aren’t too bad, but the harmonies don’t seem to work for some reason. The most interesting part of the performance is the spark of pyro from the top hat from one of the performers, and the LED’s in the latter part of the song are very fast-moving black & white lines, very distracting and I’m sure epileptic-inducing to a degree. Not exactly a performance I’d rate highly.
Next up is the bookies favourite – Mikael Saari with “We Should Be Through”, an entry that makes you yearn for the orchestral days of ESC somewhat. His vocal stylings are very similar to that of Michael Stipe of REM, but for tonight he really belts out the high notes with great intensity. I can see though how he can lose the audience a bit as there is a piano solo about 2 min in that seemingly drags on, but that aside it’s a solid performance, there’s no other bold ballad in UMK this year, and as the song ends he receives the biggest cheer and standing ovation from the audience of the night.
The penultimate performance is that by Great Wide North who sing my favourite entry of the competition, “Flags”. I love this track to bits, the chorus is anthemic, proper foot-stamping stuff, and it just gives the impression that it was written with Eurovision in mind. “C’mon raise your flags now!” – an instant cue that would make great TV. The band have nice chemistry on stage, the vocals are issue free. The LED backdrop shows a mountainous range bathed in sunlight, the boys are dressed in too much plaid for my liking, but this looks and sounds amazing – I would be more than happy to see this in Malmo.
Finally it’s another favourite – the powerful vocal onslaught of Diandra with “Colliding Into You”, winner of Finnish Idols. The LED background is a bit confusing – I really don’t get why the Egyptian hieroglyphic motifs are there or what they have to do with the performance. The vocals are amazingly tight though, and whilst I know this is an R&B song the dancing is a very distracting element to an otherwise great performance. A huge improvement over the song showcase from a few weeks ago.
The voting commences, and the first Interval Act is a large collaboration featuring the Teflon Brothers, Meiju Suvas, Stig and ‘Scandinavian Hunks’. A little confusing to be honest – there’s suits, cowboy hats, Egyptian slaves. And yet it’s the first song we’ve heard all night in Finnish.
So onto the Jury results, and after the first jury member, it’s Mikael Saari and Great Wide North who are tied with 10 points each. Same with jury member number 2. Krista gets the top points from the third jury member, but it’s still between Mikael Saari and Great Wide North. There is some significant lag with the graphics as the fourth jury member reads out the votes, but Krista gets the 10 and is leading the jury points with Mikael Saari and Great Wide North, all of whom are on 38 points
Now we’re onto the second musical interval of the night – a rendition of ABBA’s ‘Super Trooper’, then The CatCat’s Bye Bye Baby. It transitions into a slow paced version of Euphoria, then back in proper time again for Waterloo The performance is by “Mikaeli’s (Euroviisut 2008 performer Mikael Konttinen) Women”, who include Suvi Terasniska, Hanna Pakarinen (the Finnish representative in Helsinki 2007), Johanna Iivanainen, Emma Salokoski, Kaisa Vala and last year’s winner Pernilla.
So, far too quickly after the performance, we’re off to the green room to find out the winner. First, after collating the 50% Jury and 50% Televotes, it’s whittled down to a Top 3 – Diandra, Mikael Saari and Krista Siegfrids. We then find out that Diandra is out (3rd place overall), leaving a dual screen shot of Krista and Mikael.
The big announcement – Krista Siegfrids is off to Malmo!
So Suomi have said “I do” to Krista, will you?