Saturday, February 28, 2015
Finland 2015: a two-horse race?
It is no secret that the viewing figures have been dismal ever since the Finnish final had a change of name and format back in 2012, but this year's edition could possibly have reached the new goal.
There has been a fair amount of talk surrounding some of the entries and a clear effort has been made to make the live performances more visually appealing than in previous years. Also the hosts Rakel Liekki and Roope Salminen have done their job well and made the show very much their own.
Hopefully the final in itself will be snappier and more quick-paced than the semis. That would add some nerve as well. A good show is vital to keep audiences happy.
A good show can even make up - to a certain extent - for a lack of top candidates. The general standard in this final is acceptable but not breathtaking. The running order seems to be kept secret again - just like in the semis - so here are my reviews in some sort of alphabetical order:
Angelo de Nile / All For Victory
I didn't care much for the song to start with but wasn't prepared for overblown pomposity and over-performing on quite this level. This is in the final and Siru isn't? My least favourite of all nine.
Jouni Aslak / Lions And Lambs
Good voice and good stage output in a song that has grown on me. The chorus is standing on the dangerous border between repetitive and effective, but despite being one of the better offerings I doubt it will be a contender in the end. It just isn't the kind of song that stands out enough to be remembered in the end.
Järjestyshäiriö / Särkyneiden sydänten kulmilla
This was such a promising entry at first with its radio-friendly sound and catchy chorus, but the band just doesn't have what it takes to make the song come alive on stage. Stressful and un-charming in the semi and I doubt it will have come to a sudden change for tonight.
Norlan El Misionario / No voy a llorar por ti
Reggaeton. Pleasant. Likeable but forgettable. The song I expected the least to make it through the first semi, but I must admit it is catchy in its own little way. Very unlikely to get far in the final.
Opera Skaala / Heart Of Light
This operatic dance track really wants to be way out and the one to make everyone's jaw drop, but in this year full of visual tricks and varied styles it comes across as disappointingly normal. Excellent singing but the beats could have been harder and heavier. And that strange bridge between the first chorus and the second verse - where the whole thing falls apart without any beat or melody - still ruins it a bit for me.
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät / Aina mun pitää
Is this our winner? PKN has had a great deal of media exposure - also internationally - and will have everyone's attention tonight. But in a song contest - where you try to single out the best song - their offering stands out as pretty weak. And voting for people just because they are disabled sounds like a terribly patronising and prejudiced thing to do.
Satin Circus / Crossroads
The best pop song in the running and therefore the best choice for Vienna. But these boys have a lot of work to do, if so. The semi final performance was disappointingly void of energy and camera contact and seemed oddly disengaged. Hopefully they have managed to whip up some commitment already or the opportunity could easily slip out of their hands.
Shava / Ostarilla
Very mixed emotions about this one. In many ways a real car crash of an entry but performed with such energy and conviction it's hard not to feel uplifted as it goes on. Is this harmless fun or is it cultural appropriation that would look really bad in an international context? I can't tell, but I'm pretty sure this is the other real contender for victory.
Solju / Hold Your Colours
The Sami entry is a pleasant little song that feels a little bit too light-weight and Disney-esque for my liking - but the performance was clean and sophisticated and could stand out as a visual oasis if placed after a number of busier entries. A possible outsider.
In tonight's final a number of juries will vote - the music professionals, the media personalities, the Swedish speakers and the taxi drivers all have a jury each for instance - but 90 % of the final result will be given by televoting.
The two-horse race should be between Satin Circus and Shava. Radio pop against a taste of homemade Bollywood. I'm pretty convinced one of them will be tonight's winner. As Finland has had a tendency of favouring good songs many years in a row, I hope and think that is a tradition that will continue this time around. I predict the top three to be
1) Satin Circus, 2) Shava, 3) Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
Tonight I will live tweet during UMK