A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tobson review: Finland, heat 3

After two elimination heats - where a grand total of two songs have actually been eliminated - Finland is about to go all wild and crazy and eliminate two more songs in order to cut the number of finalists down to eight.

Two acts already made it to the final - Softengine and Hanny Sky - and it would be a surprise then if another entry would emerge as the winner in the end. But I've been around. Surprises are what this contest is made of.

What about tonight, then? Eight entries that we've already seen and heard. Had it been the other way around - eight songs of which only two made it to the final - then there would have been a lot more to play for and a lot more nerve and excitement.

The question is how much the Finnish audience will care about tonight's heat at all. If the number of viewers and votes are low, then the results could be all over the place.

1. MADCRAFT - Shining Bright
Apart from the very colourful outfit worn by the lead singer, this was pretty much like I had expected it to be: a complete copy of what almost every band sounding like this ever looked like. Good voice and good energy, but not a new idea in sight.
Grade: 2/5

2. HUKKA JA MAMA - Selja
Unlike many of the other acts in the running, this duo has a very distinct visual concept and have made a bit of an effort to make the viewers remember them. Breaking out of the crowd both visually and musically is never a bad idea - Hukka ja Mama should feel pretty safe tonight.
Grade: 3/5

3. LAURI MIKKOLA - Going Down
Unlike the judges, I was impressed with Lauri Mikkola and his stage performance, presence and vocal abilities in the second heat. He managed to lift his song - which is nice but ordinary - onto a new level and should be in the final on talent alone.
Grade: 3/5

4. JASMIN MICHAELA - Kertakäyttösydän
Another good voice and a catchy chorus, but the rest of the song is an outright mess. It would take a lot to make it work like clockwork on stage, unfortunately quite a lot more than Jasmin Michaela has to offer.
Grade: 2/5

5. DENNIS FAGERSTRÖM - My Little Honey Bee
Dennis is a pleasant performer, squeaky clean and soft as baby soap. He would have needed a song with more attitude that would let him express some kind of gravity and stage presence. This package is just light, inoffensive and forgettable.
Grade: 2/5

6. MIAU - God/Drug
Few things are as tedious as a long joke with no punchline. Possibly a song with a promising build-up and good ideas and then never comes to any sort of climax. This is exactly that kind of song. The band themselves are pretty interesting and way better than their song, but what good does that do?
Grade: 2/5

7. MIKKO POHJOLA - Sängyn reunalla
Still a laid-back and overall pretty adorable song - perhaps the best one in the running this year - but the vocal performance in the second semi was surprisingly strained and didn't match the otherwise breezy atmosphere. Affected by nerves? Surely it wasn't meant to be like that?
Grade: 3/5

8. CLARISSA feat JOSH - Top Of The World
If you have an energetic pop number you can usually afford the odd sick note, but the performance last week was a real disaster from a visual point of view. Clarissa and Josh were standing too far apart, almost never allowing the camera to catch them at the same time. Performing in front of tv cameras is a hard job - Clarissa and Josh would need to start over, re-do everything and work with somebody who could fill them in on how to design a stage show with the viewers in mind.
Grade: 2/5

There is a serious risk that two guys I like and who would deserve some more exposure are the ones that leave the competition tonight: Lauri Mikkola and Dennis Fagerström. Neither one has a song that would be likely to do particularly well in Copenhagen, but they are both talented and I wish them the opportunity of performing in front of the larger audience that the UMK final brings.

If I would have my way, then MadCraft and MIAU are the ones to leave. MadCraft have an energetic song but doesn't have anything to make them unique or original. MIAU has a lot to make them original but their song is perhaps the weakest of all eight in this heat.

The final is broadcast on Yle TV2 at 20:00 CET, live stream offered at the official UMK website.

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