Finland’s Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu returns in its original format for the first time since 2017 tonight, with six acts and their original entries taking part in the competition. But what did our team think of the six Finnish hopefuls for Rotterdam?

This time, it’s Boris, Daniel, David, James, Roy and Sean to review the entries!

Catharina Zühlke – Eternity

Boris – 4 – “The biggest practical joke YLE ever pulled was imply that *this song* could win Eurovision. The only Eurovision Song Contest this entry could possibly win is 2001.”

Daniel – 9 – “What a soothing and beautiful voice. That cello in the background is also so enchanting. I think this might be the song I am most excited to see live because it is both so soft and yet so powerful. Then the first chorus happens and then you are left shook. My one critique, that really is not a critique because I actually really like this but it might create some disenchantment, is that there is a lot of movement between sounds and genres. I feel like it is super fluid which makes this ballad even more interesting but I can see people being like this is the kitchen sink. Well, I like it a lot!”

David – 2 – “What a sweet and heartwarming song… really? I personally just getting tired of these kind of songs, there is just nothing that screams “unique” or “original”. I enjoy when the song gets some energy and Zühlke has a wonderful voice, but I’m just overall not bothered with these kind of songs. Her effort from 2017 was miles better, and right now I wish that we could bring that back instead.”

James – 8 – “This song is a tribute to Zühlke’s mother who passed away a few years ago from ALS. Though rather than being a somber ballad, this one is a recollection and a celebration of a woman’s life, what she passed on to her daughter, and what she in turn will pass on to future generations. The song is structured in quarters – a slow minimalist build-up, beat and strings coming in at the second verse, a high tempo ramp-up at the bridge with Zühlke doing some amazing vocals (if she nails those notes live, jury votes!), and finally, a whispered goodbye.”

Roy – 5 – “I guess this is my winner? Even though it is, I am still not very excited about it. Her voice is quite decent, but the song isn’t the very bad. The production sounds a bit dated and in general the song doesn’t excite me all that much. I guess they found a nice twist to a traditional ballad and that is it’s major selling point alongside her voice.”

Sean – 7 – “Hmm. This is a curious blend of genres, but I think Catharina just about gets away with it on this occasion with the subject matter clear to feel. The beat that comes in to the chorus is delightfully mid-00s (but not in an outdated way) and this could create a real special vibe on stage.”

Total = 35 (avg. 5.83)

Erika Vikman – Cicciolina

Boris – 10 – “Would have not been crying for me, Argentina, had I been living my life like Cicciolina?” This is not a song. It’s a religion.”

Daniel – 9 – “A Finnish song with an Italian title? Refreshing. But on to the song, the song is a fun EDM euro pop-inspired track. This song could easily be from the 90’s or 2030’s and no one would really blink an eye. Her look is so cool and her aesthetic makes me feel like the staging will be a full on bouquet. I think that his song, someway, somehow, fits my aesthetic. I mean it is a song about a porn star that is filled with synthesizers, it looks so wrong yet feels so right.”

David – 9 – “I have no idea what I listened to, but… damn, I liked it. Alright, so this is straight out Europop… but in Finnish!!?! We’ve heard loads of times some Finnish ballad or rock songs, but something this awesome with a banger beat, I’m really enjoying it! I dunno, something tells me that I shouldn’t like it, but I just do. Catchy, interesting and awesome, how can you not like this song?”

James – 7 – “A feminist tribute to Italian porn star Cicciolina is not something you hear everyday at Eurovision. This will have its critics from several sides of the political spectrum (from the more humorless element on the left and religious pearl clutchers on the right). Production wise, it is interesting they went with a retro ‘80s sound, like Erasure and Madonna (particularly the organs at the bridge channeling “Like a Prayer”), but it works as this was Cicciolina’s heyday. Despite its content and sound, this is not as quirky as one would hope. They will need a revamp (more bass) and some clever staging (though keep it PG-13 for the kids) to turn it into the daring triumph they want.”

Roy – 2 – “I was really excited to hear the Finnish language again. It sounds lovely and I would love to see it in Eurovision very soon. But maaannnnnn this song is cheap…. The production is old-fashioned, the way she sings is annoying and it is all just way too kitsch for me.”

Sean – 5 – “Fanwank alert. I know this has a major fanbase behind it at the moment but it’s not a song aimed at me and I’m not in the target audience. As a result, this just feels like a schlagery electropop-y track which is decent enough but unremarkable. It just feels like it is painted by numbers to push the right buttons for pop-mad Eurofans. Kudos for Finnish.”

Total = 42 (avg. 7)

Aksel Kankaanranta – Looking Back

Boris – 4 – “For someone who was described as having a Sheeran-esque/Sam Smith-like sound, I expected much worse? Then again, is there such a thing “Sheeran/Smith Sound”? Aren’t all of their songs just generic white noise? Anyway, Aksel, Aksel :snaps fingers: Whoa I just finished this song again and I’ve already forgotten all of it. I guess the comparisons were apt after all.”

Daniel – 7 – “This is a strong power ballad that is shaping up to be a total moment. It has a much more modern composition then some of the other ballads across the national selections. It has powerful and crisp-clear lyrics that are supported by a good musical base. The chorus could use just a tad bit of pizzazz but it is overall pretty strong. The song has an some bits of uniqueness that make it a far more interesting listen.”

David – 3 – “The dude has an impressive voice, not exactly what you’d expect. But… seriously, even I get tired of pointing this out all the time every year. It’s just another love ballad, with the same cliché lyrics and slow sound. I’m just not interested, cause I simply just am tired of hearing these kind of songs, straight out bored. Dude deserves better with that voice, much better!”

James – 6 – “How old is this kid? The lyrics are for a singer who’s a bit older and has had the chance to make mistakes bigger than nicking the skin during his first shave. Aksel has a lovely voice, though, giving the song a wistful quality even if it feels like he doesn’t have much maturity. Eurovision is not an occasion where you reflect on the things you’ve done – it’s the occasion where you commit the acts that a wistful song such as this reflects on. Aksel is the best singer this year at UMK, but I am not sure this simple entry with a touch of ruefulness will fit the mood in Rotterdam.”

Roy – 4 – “This is desperately looking for a much-needed energy impulse. Aksel’s voice is lovely and fine, but the song itself is just kind of bland and linear. I feel like this will go nowhere and if Finland were to go for it, it would most likely not do well at Eurovision.”

Sean – 10 – “Stunning. Aksel has an unassuming aura which adds to the feel of this track, but his voice really complements the angst and reminiscent quality of this entry. I love the way this song effortlessly flows through the gears and builds to a dense, rich finish. For a ballad to hook me and have me repeat it over and over like this one is a rare quality, and I’m praying this is the one to go to Rotterdam!”

Total = 34 (avg. 5.67)

F3M – Bananas

Boris – 8 – “WHEN ME AND MY GIRLS GO OUT WE’RE GOING BANANAS. *BANANAS* Oh my god this tripper-trappy song! “Bananas” gives ZERO f***s about how annoying it is and brings glorious trash from second one .I am here for it and for the meltdowns it will cause in Eurosnob circles!

Daniel – 8 – “A fun girl group, an underrated artist category in Eurovision which could maybe make a splash. The Finnish response to Little Mix, I think this song has a lot of spunk and cool factor to it. It is so timely given its message for women’s empowerment and advocated for progressive goals. It just is a lit song. I do find it a bit repetitive but then again , songs of this style tend to be like that. I am severely impressed with Finland this year.”

David – 1 – “This is just full out low effort, come on girls… go as “bananas” as you want, but don’t make me go bananas from this song. It just screams “trashy song”, a very “whatever, I do what I want” attitude song. It just comes out as poor overall, and it’s not hard to pay a bit attention to the lyrics, but is this supposed to be some pride song as well, just to score some few empathy points… really?”

James – 2 – “A noisy and annoying girl band song with headslappingly stupid lyrics. They come off as an irritating cross between “the crew” mentality of The Spice Girls, the self-destruction of one hit wonder Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” and the woke yet insulting titillation of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” The lyrics bring up a lot of questions. 1.) Do women still model themselves on women they see on MTV in 2020? Isn’t that network only showing the ageing Jersey Shore and Teen Moms these days? 2.) Whiskey sours are the young Finns drink of choice? 3.) They get a cab, and not an Uber or Lyft? 4.) What is Helsinki state of mind? This song’s a hot mess, the kind you keep a mop and bucket around for while listening to dodgy national selections.”

Roy – 1 – “Hands down, in the top 5 worst National finals songs of the year. This is childish, cringey, annoying, poorly written and trying too hard to appeal to people. Who even thought it was a good idea to sing these lyrics, let alone accept this song to compete in their national selection…”

Sean – 6 – “This is pure pop trash, but I don’t necessarily mean this as a negative. It has everything you want in a female empowerment girl group song – a dash of attitude, a catchy hook and enough guilty pleasure dust to make you hate yourself for appreciating it. In antithesis to Salvador Sobral’s iconic words, you don’t always need a fillet steak – sometimes a greasy hamburger does the job just as well.”

Total = 26 (avg. 4.33)

Sansa – Lover View

Boris – 10 – “Ethereal. Dreamy. Stunner. God this is pure old-school Eesti Laul indie HOOKED STRAIGHT INTO MY VEINS. LOVE it to bits. I expected nothing less from the best GoT character (fight me!) I would totally support this if it weren’t for one certain glorious, flawless life anthem already in this selection.”

Daniel – 10 – “This is a super modern and trendy song that manages to do the retro thing that all these other songs have been trying to achieve. This song is beyond a mood, this is post-mood vibes. This song is so cool and so timely. I really have nothing negative to say about it, like this is a song I would have on my phone just for the musicality. It is so unique and atmospheric but in a way that people can get really behind. This is super cool and phenomenal.”

David – 2 – “You’d think I’d appreciate the fact that we have a song here, with some more energy and up-tempo to it, but no. Lyrics are horrendous, it’s very limited and a lot of copy/paste all around the song. I’m just left thinking, why would anyone put something like this out, rather than actually perfecting something, the song feels straight out rushed.”

James – 7 – “A fairly chill house track. I take it the Apollo is a nightclub in Helsinki and she’s not referring to the world-famous Apollo Theater (which gave the world incredible artists such as Patti LaBelle) in Philadelphia? Anyway, this is cool, sensual, and retro (‘90s house). This might work as it’s a party track a lot of the Eurovision fandom want, it’s got the sensuality the ballad fans want in the lyrics, and it’s got the chill vibe the indie lot want. This could build a coalition of fans to do some business in Rotterdam, or it could be seen as too cool for school and tank in the Semi-Final.”

Roy – 3 – “Her voice is probably the major selling point about this piece. The entire production is just a little too low-fi. Her voice however nearly sounds like an extra instrument with a calming and soothing touch to it. Absolutely lovely to listen too, I wish I could say the same about the song though. It is just 1 big demo.”

Sean – 8 – “I’m a sucker for anything that even slightly reminds me of French house, and this mixes wonderful distorted synths with an electronica sound. I think it’s going to be a little lightweight on stage, but if we’re purely judging this as a song I love it! It has that early 00s vibe that artists like Moony excelled at. It’s not as good an overall package as Aksel but I’m fully behind this one all the same.”

Total = 40 (avg. 6.67)

Tika – I Let My Heart Break

Boris – 6 – “Oh, it’s TAYANNA’s “I love you”. Cool.”

Daniel – 6 – “I think that this song is a perfectly great song, I just think among the other entries this year, it is one of the less interesting ones. It is sad because she has a phenomenal voice, those strings in the pre-chorus and the attitude, those are highlights of this song. Nevertheless, the song is missing that extra oomph factor which I think is what would make a country like Finland do better at Eurovision. I do wish her all the best.”

David – 2 – “You know what… I’ve said this to many times throughout the national final season this year… boring, unoriginal, not interested. Just search any of my reviews of any ballad and you have your explanation.”

James – 6 – “A break-up ballad. Great. At least the protagonist moves on. Why at Eurovision national selections do the guys stew in bitter loneliness and the women move on in their break-up songs? The key change at the end sells the moving on fairly well. My only issue is that as a ballad, there are some mighty competitors in the mix in Rotterdam already, and though Tika’s vocals are great, this composition and the break-up sentiment may make it get lost among some of the more original and bombastic ballads out there.”

Roy – 5 – “This is a fine ballad, but is just a bit too simple. She has a good song, but melodically the song does nothing to enhance this. There was potential here, but right now she is literally just shouting to a standard-ballad-melody.exe. This could pose a threat for the win if she can deliver her vocals incredibly well.”

Sean – 3 – “Competently sung and has all the right emotional trigger points, but I’ve been so oversaturated by these kinds of ballads that I can’t rate this any higher. Tika is the star of this show, which is a shame as her song is bland as hell. Sorry Tika, nothing personal, just unfortunate timing…”

Total = 28 (avg. 4.67)

What does this mean for the Finnish rankings from our team? Let’s take a look…

  1. Erika Vikman – Cicciolina – 42
  2. Sansa – Lover View – 40
  3. Catharina Zühlke – Eternity – 35
  4. Aksel Kankaanranta – Looking Back – 34
  5. Tika – I Let My Heart Break – 28
  6. F3M – Bananas – 26

It’s close, but our team are hoping it will be Erika Vikman and “Cicciolina” that will be representing Finland in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest! Will this in fact be the case? We will find out tonight!

What do #YOU think of Finland’s national selection this year? Who should represent Finland in Rotterdam? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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