Another Nordic nation will decide their entry for Rotterdam tonight, with Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu once again selecting Finland’s song for Eurovision. With seven high quality songs here, it’s going to be a bloodbath of a selection. But which song comes out on top for our team?

Let’s see what Boris, Daniel, James, Melanie, Sean and Stefan thought of the Finnish hopefuls this year!

Teflon Brothers x Pandora – I Love You

Boris – 7 – “Servicable meme filler that is somehow the second best song in its national final. This is my preferred winner because I absolutely do NOT trust Aksel or Blind Channel /  because it’s the only song that I find unconditionally enjoyable, even if its more on the lowbrow trash side of things.”

Daniel – 7.5 – “This is a retro takeover and a visual-audio truckload. In so many ways I feel like I should not like this. It is euro trashy with some elements that put almost in the joke category. But why am I really vibing with it so much. Maybe it is the 80’s arcade feels, maybe it is the really the dynamic nature of the song. I love the fact that Pandora pretty much has one set of lyrics. Oh, this is just so fun, like this by no stretch should win but it is so much fun to listen to.”

James – 5 – “A basic retro ‘80s synthpop song with “humorous” lyrics. Yes, it’s a novelty song poking fun at love songs that will be enhanced for those who find the soundtracks of 1980s video games enjoyable. The male vocalist’s Finnish jokes will mostly be lost in translation (particularly one about a Ukrainian train station toilet attendant telling him some girl’s name?), so for the other language speakers out there we’re left with a Finnish dude mumbling over cheesy synths and a very, very repetitive “I love you” female vocal.”

Melanie – 7.5 – “The Teflon Brothers and Pandora are giving us retro 8bit kinda vibes! The song sounds at first listen kinda cheesy and I’m liking it, but not loving it. The I Love You part from Pandora is very repetitive and even annoys me. However, I have to admit after a few listens I started to sing along with the “I Love You’’ part. It’s definitely a grower for me, but I’m scared that it’s not catchy enough to stand-out in a Eurovision line-up unless they are bringing a banger staging to the UMK stage. Great attempt, but doesn’t grab me at the first listen.”

Sean – 8.5 – “Very smart from the Teflon Brothers here as they’ve struck a sweet spot, with a song that will drive the local Finns crazy but also has strong appeal internationally. Finnish rap just seems to roll effortlessly off the tongue and sounds great, combined with an incredibly catchy chorus and some pure ENERGY in the music. It’s a really well thought out package overall. This could go big with a colourful and energetic performance!”

Stefan – 6 – “I don’t understand this reboot of 80s and 90s style, but again everything is better than overuse of autotune. For sure it’s dark horse of this year’s UMK, but still it misses something to give me full experience or maybe I’m just still crying over Argentina.”

Total = 41.5 (avg. 6.92)

Aksel – Hurt

Boris – 2 – “Look, it’s very simple: I dislike this song. I could write something pointed and vitriolic here, but I’m not going to. Reading all the snarky comments on the internet about himself will erode Aksel from the inside out and I refuse to contribute to it. So I’ll just say this: BE SAFE AND HAPPY, YOUNG KANKANRANTAA. Which requires, coincidentally, staying as far away from the spotlight as is humanly possible.”

Daniel – 5.5 – “It is hard to not compare this song to his entry from the year before. Lucky for him, this song in many ways overtakes “Looking Back”. There is a hefty amount of soul and power and it carries very natural. It is still a very standard ballad, so it does miss some of that wow factor, but the lyrics are delightful to hear. His voice is also being showcased incredibly well in this song and he is doing justice to this song. However, among all the songs, it is the one I am least excited for.”

James – 8 – “This works as a sequel to “Looking Back,” his entry from last year. He presented us a song of innocence last year, and this is more a mature song of experience. Lessons learned from his past, and he’s moving on. On its own merit, the track is relatively straight-forward, but it’s Aksel’s conviction and his warm vocals that sell “Hurt.” The producers know to keep it simple and allow Aksel to shine and tell his story without any theatrics. Aksel still receives a lot of undeserved hate and vitriol from so-called “ESC fans,” and as I said last year, they can still go jump in Lake Bodom. I wasn’t overly convinced by his entry last year, but in a short space of time Aksel has improved greatly, and for that he should receive a lot of credit.”

Melanie – 7.5 – “Aksel if you even read this, I really want to give you a big hug. “Hurt” is a very fragile and minimalistic song that really stays calm during the whole 3 minutes. It doesn’t need a high note or a big moment to shine, just the calmness and his warm voice makes it already a stand-out song. It’s so much better than “Looking Back” and I’m happy he’s back for a second chance. I’m almost sad that the competition this year at Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu is so much stronger than last year, that I’m not sure if he will be representing Finland again this year at the Eurovision Song Contest. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful second attempt from Aksel and I can’t wait to hear more from you.”

Sean – 7 – “One thing I can say about this is you can really feel artistic growth in Aksel between this time last year and now. While “Looking Back” was one of my absolute favourites of last year’s contest, I am a little underwhelmed by this. It’s probably down to high expectations though, this is still a well-crafted acoustic ballad with a strong message and a radio-friendly sound. I suspect this may have broader appeal than his entry last year.”

Stefan – 7.5 – “First things first, this song is waaaaay better than the one he had last year. I would love to see him win to prove it to all those bodyshamers and Karens out there. Unfortunately, IMO, he doesn’t not have the best song in UMK this, although he certainly didn’t have it last year, but never say never.”

Total = 37.5 (avg. 6.25)

Laura – Play

Boris – 4 – “What has Laura Põldvere’s career come to? Soon the only thing she’ll do with a microphone is announce which trains arrive and depart at the Central Station.”

Daniel – 8.5 – “A perfect combination of pop and country. Hmmm. I typically like what Laura does so I may be a bit biased. I think that she has some visual concept to go with this song to make it a hit. I am a bit nervous cause her vocals were a bit shaky at Eesti Laul last year, but generally I am excited for this song. I think it is a very digestible pop song which actually seems to be in the minority this year at UMK. I like this song – I do not love it, but I like it very much.”

James – 4 – “I am not sure about the wisdom of a “my time to shine” song when she’s already been to Eurovision twice already, though as parts of groups from another country. However, I don’t see a return to the Contest as a solo act coming with this lackluster break-up pop song that also comes off as a “wink, wink, send me to Eurovision on my own!” plea. The track itself lacks power, doesn’t allow Laura to show off too much, and is quite forgettable. For a “I’m going to shine on my own” anthem, this is a dud.”

Melanie – 6 – “Laura, Laura, Laura, where do I even start. Secretly I was happy that she wasn’t competing this year at Eesti Laul, only to find out that she finds her way to the Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu. “Play” sadly just sounds like an album filler song. She has a unique voice that doesn’t stand out in the mediocre beat. It just lacks some kind of power that I expected in the chorus that make the song very timid. Isn’t really a bad thing, but it just doesn’t really grab me. I really have the feeling that Laura maybe just needs a year off from trying to go to Eurovision and take the time to write a killer song, because she is just serving mediocre songs the last time. Can someone please bring the good old Laura back to the National Final Season? Thank you!”

Sean – 5 – “The bare bones of a solid pop song are here, ready and waiting – the guitar sounds feel very Taylor Swift – but the insipid choruses and lacklustre delivery of the song feel disappointing. Laura has had multiple better attempts previously, so I’m not too sure of the logic behind submitting this song to another selection in a different country…”

Stefan – 8 – “Well she finally has a song that isn’t vocally demanding and (hopefully) she will be able to perform it without risk of hurting our ears. Totally radio friendly and it doesn’t feel like it’s three minutes because you can actually enjoy the song, at least I did. If someone from Laura’s team is reading this I only have one request for you: Don’t put dancers on stage. It will be distracting.”

Total = 35.5 (avg. 5.92)

Danny – Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua

Boris – 4 – “An entry so slow and meandering it stretches the space-time continuum.”

Daniel – 8 – “I am so glad that the music video provides the translation, this song is something different. Those lyrics really hit differently. Like it is likely not a winner given how particular it is and how hard it would be to have the lyrics resonate with a larger Eurovision crowd, but I do want to say the lyrics feels like a poem being song with a rather nice tune. The melody even builds in a way that brings so much life to the song. I hope people appreciate this song for what it is providing.”

James – 8 – “Ever wondered what a famous 78-year-old singer wants to be said about him or done at this funeral? Then this Leonard Cohen-esque mood piece is for you. No tramps or paparazzi, he wants his last ride in Benz, select people can wear white if they want… this song is hilarious, but I doubt a trip to Rotterdam as a send-off is on the cards. I see a lot of comments out there about the lyrics being touching and beautiful, which is true to a point. The magic of the song is contemplating end of life and his legacy (his voice carrying on after he’s gone because of his records) while also settling some old scores in a humorous and sarcastic way. Danny clearly did not intend this to be grim or sad, and it’s a shame a lot of his dark wit is being overlooked.”

Melanie – 7 – “I have such a huge appreciation for this song. Just think about the fact that you’re talking about the day you die. It’s such a taboo for so many people. Danny just has the nerves to write a very personal yet somehow ironic song about it. I remember that the song came out and I read along the subtitles with a lump in my throat. It was so touching. Sadly, if someone doesn’t read the translation of the song, It would just sound like an average Finnish song. It’s not the most competitive song in UMK but I’m so glad that they included this in their national final. So overall I’m not seeing it winning UMK, but it’s definitely a gem in it’s own way.”

Sean – 7 – “So my understanding of this song is Danny is singing about his funeral and his own mortality? Great choice for this year of all years Danny… but let’s hold the thought. There does feels like a degree of hopefulness and optimism about this entry, and it certainly is unique across all selections this year. Spoken word is hard to pull off, but Danny does it with aplomb. A very sweet, enjoyable entry!”

Stefan – 1 – “I understand that he is (or was) a big star in Finland, but do you remember Swiss grandpa from 2013? I am all about inclusion as far as it’s we’re all up for it, but using someone just because of his/her reputation is a no no. To make things clear this is not for Eurovision.”

Total = 35 (avg. 5.83)

Oskr – Lie

Boris – 1 – “2021 has barely started and I’m *already* so over the Salvaduncan-esque ‘Sad Boi’ trope. You know the type: strips down music to its most baseborn unevolved form, a mere ‘vessel of pure emotion’, acts like they’ve reinvented the wheel, behaves like a ‘humble’, unassuming bourgeois-bohémien when in reality upper-middle class smugness permeates each of their words and gestures, held by with a financial net strong enough to support the pseudo-artistic lifestyle they desperately cling to because they never bothered to learn a trade. I just don’t have the patience for this trope anymore, and any act that shows even traces of it has to be destroyed. Get out. ^_^”

Daniel – 6 – “I think that this song also just hits differently, like the way he just exhales “lies” is pretty powerful. Do not get me wrong, this is a ballad led by a piano where strings are then added and build up. This is a traditional song and has a lot of similarities to Aksel’s song from last year. It is a slightly fuller sound, probably due to the chorus. It does have those powerful lyrics to push it slightly over.”

James – 2 – “Warning: Hipster white guy sharing his feels! All while defiling words like “love” so they can sort of rhyme with trust. The premise of this overly basic song is that Oskr and his former lover talk about anything except how they really feel, and that when she asks him how he feels, he lies. Yeah, this joyless dirge doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near Eurovision, and I don’t feel Oskr sells us his torment very well. Compare him to Aksel: now that lad could be talking 100% cobblers, but there’s a warmth and an earnestness and I can buy what he’s singing and empathize accordingly. With Oskr’s “Lie,” I frankly care what he feels about as much as his antagonist ex-lover does. Yep, I’d only talk about the weather with him, too.”

Melanie – 8.5 – “What a start of UMK 2021! “Lie” by Oskr sounds like an honest story of a guy who try to express his feelings. It sounds sincere and I believe every word he sings. It doesn’t need a lot of decorations in the base to really stand-out. The way he transfers his emotions in his singing just really hits me as a listener. Like he’s not even trying to impress you guys at home or write a song that he thinks would be a hit. It just sounds so pure and right from his heart. I can write like another 38278378 words praising how much I like this song, but this would by my pick for Finland at Eurovision this year.”

Sean – 5.5 – “There are some great lyrics in this entry, and Oskr delivers the song emotively. It doesn’t really stand a cut above some other songs in this selection but it’s a perfectly reasonable listen and I’m sure there will be some big fans of this song.”

Stefan – 5 – “I’m getting some Ed Sheeran vibes. Kids who grew up watching MTV would understand me. It is nice, soothing, but also forgettable, perfect for an alarm sound. Since I’m torn in between.”

Total = 28 (avg. 4.67)

Blind Channel – Dark Side

Boris – 7 – “I should like this more than I do – Nice throwback to Linkin Park-esque soft metal, decent rap verse, juvenile energy galore… and yet it’s lacking in power. Still my favourite, but that speaks for more the lack of quality in UMK 2021, than the quality found in “Dark Side” itself. Pray this one is good live because it’s Finland’s only chance of reaching the Grand Final.”

Daniel – 6.5 – “It is not the type of song I would listen to on my own time. Nevertheless, as a song to represent Finland, I think song brings so many interesting facets. It is that hard rock sound that fills a specific niche. It has peaks and valleys to make it much more palatable to non-rockers. The lyrics are also pretty deep with the dark imagery and metaphor use. I think musically, this song brings a lot of merits and could be an interesting proposal.”

James – 10 – “We’ve been waiting years for Finland to capitalize on their musical strength again – being one of the world’s biggest metal talent pools – and they’ve delivered a humorous and modern take on nu-metal with Blind Channel’s “Dark Side.” And as with Lordi, there is a lot to appeal to non-genre fans. The primal call and response “hoo hoo hoo!” and the catchy, easy to sing along with chorus along with its invitation to cross over to the dark side are clear indicators that Blind Channel are reaching out to the masses. Them calling it “anger pop” is a bit much (as with Static-X’s self-proclaimed “death disco” label), but a quality yet raucous party anthem is we what we need for Rotterdam, and there’s no doubt Blind Channel deliver exactly that.”

Melanie – 8 – “This shows what Finland is good at; Making fine rock music! You won with rock music, so why change that formula and not search for other great bands in your country? Blind Channel is a really great step in the right direction. I’m very happy to see this genre in our national final season and definitely hope to see this kind of music more often at the Eurovision stage. The song brings me a lot of nostalgia; it brings me back to my rebellious teenage years where I listened to a lot of Escape The Fate and Linkin Park. But it really reminds me of this band I listened to called Hollywood Undead. I’ve got a feeling that it’s generic in its own genre, because this sounds so much alike the songs I listened in my teen years. However, I’m happy that this genre gets the chance to showcase itself at Eurovision, so I’m definitely promoting it and wouldn’t be mad if Finland would send this!”

Sean – 10 – “This is PERFECTION. FINLAND, YOU HAVE TO SEND THIS! Finland has always been the champion of all things rock in Eurovision and they could break the mould once again if they pick Blind Channel. The rap/nu-metal blend is a real throwback but the group are talented at their craft, and make it sound very 2021. In “Dark Side” we have an incredibly catchy, sing-along track that will have many people across Europe pumped. This has major crossover appeal for casual viewers, I’m sure. Please don’t mess this up, Finland, you have a real gem on your hands here!”

Stefan – 10 – “It’s not the kind of music I normally listen to, but daaaammnnn it’s good. It’s different, definitely stands out and most important it’s not a depressing ballad (the bad kind, don’t be confused with good ballads). Eurovision needs more songs like this one. Clearly it’s my favourite in the Finnish NF. I would love to see it on Eurovision stage with bunch of visual and pyro effects. I’ll take a risk of having a seizure.”

Total = 51.5 (avg. 8.58)

Ilta – Kelle mä soitan

Boris – 5 – “A pretty-sounding but ultimately insipid ballad people cling to because this NF has nothing else to offer.”

Daniel – 7 – “What a sweet song and melody. It has its elements of drama and screams emotional ballad. I think that this song is rather standard fare and would need to see the staging to see it really come to life. It gets bonus points with me for all the urbanist lyrics. Other than that, I think it is a perfectly fine song but just would like a little bit more to really elevate it to something new and unique.”

James – 7 – “This song will strike a chord with many viewers, especially for those trapped alone during all these lockdowns. It’s a heart wrenching song about being alone, and Ilta really sells it, particularly in the last minute where unleashes her anguish. On the downside, the composition itself is boiler plate pop and lacks moments an audience can sing along to. As a performer, Ilta is great, but the track doesn’t really serve her too well apart from a couple moments towards the end.”

Melanie – 7 – “Ilta is bringing us the traditional ballad in this national final. It’s a great stripped-down ballad without a lot instrumental. It’s enough to elevate her soothing voice. The fact that the lyrics are Finnish instead of English makes it even more atmospheric, because you going to concentrate more on her voice instead of what’s she actually is singing. It’s a beautiful song, but it feels very safe for me, especially if you compare it to the other songs in this competition. I just love to see Finland to take some risks this year and go for another song than the amazing traditional ballad. “Kelle Mä Soitan” is a great and wonderful song, but I’m just scared that it’s not enough to stand out at Eurovision.”

Sean – 6 – “The piano driving through this song is wonderful! Ilta has a strong vocal range and could really pack a punch with this song live if performed well – plus, the draw is probably on her side! It’s not really to my taste but I know there’s a great deal of quality here.”

Stefan – 9 – “Gosh that intro and bridges are just perfect. This is a good ballad, a very good one. I can literally feel her emotions. Tear almost fell from my eye. I would love to hear English version of this, but it is also magical like this. I am already imagining waterfall fireworks behind her.”

Total = 41 (avg. 6.83)

So, how do our rankings for UMK 2021 stack up?

  1. Blind Channel – Dark Side – 51.5
  2. Teflon Brothers x Pandora – I Love You – 41.5
  3. Ilta – Kelle mä soitan – 41
  4. Aksel – Hurt – 37.5
  5. Laura – Play – 35.5
  6. Danny – Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua – 35
  7. Oskr – Lie – 28

By a clear margin, it seems our team want Finland to pick Blind Channel’s “Dark Side” for Rotterdam this evening. Will the “violent pop” band be chosen by the Finns, or will anyone else take the UMK trophy tonight? Stay tuned to find out!

Do #YOU agree with our thoughts on the Finnish entries, or have we underrated anyone? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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