A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, February 27, 2016

UMK 2016: a very tight race

It is easy to focus on the wrong things during a set of semi finals. This year's Finnish semis have been weird television to put it bluntly. There has been a lot of disorganised talking, a wild audience that sometimes seemed more or less out of control and - strangest of all - some fifteen minutes of analysis once the results were in and the climax had already passed.

Watching last night's UK final as well as the German equivalent on Thursday I came to realise that Finland still has surprisingly good material to work with. The final lineup is not bad and with a bit a work, several of these entries could work also in an international context.

What we lack is - unfortunately - that one song that would obviously have a chance of winning in Stockholm. Finland is also in its familiar tricky position of singing in the first half of the first semi, surrounded by countries that tend to do well every year. Tonight's task is to find the song that will get Finland out of the semi.

How to make sure that happens is the big topic of discussion. Out of the nine songs at hand at least four feel like hot favourites to win. And in a race as tight as this, there is always the risk of a split vote and a surprise winner emerging from the shadows.

01. Cristal Snow / Love Is Blind
Felt like a real contender at first but was let down by an underwhelming performance. Probably not helped by opening the show, Cristal will probably have to content himself with a more modest placing tonight.
Grade 3/5
Chances: modest

02. Stella Christine / Ain't Got Time For Boys
A laid-back song, pleasantly sung by a girl hiding behind her guitar. Not bad as such but hardly a successful way of getting out of that semi final in Stockholm.
Grade 1/5
Chances: none

03. Annica Milán & Kimmo Blom / Good Enough
A well written but very generic power ballad performed by a duet more preoccupied with looking into their stage prop mirrors the right way than singing with conviction.
Grade 2/5
Chances: modest

04. Eini / Draamaa
If Finland's own one-woman-Baccara can hit the notes a bit better and add a little bit more energy to her performance tonight, this could be the big surprise in the making. In the case that the big favourites split the votes between them and this is the song everyone can like at least a bit, then there could be plenty of draamaa before this show is over.
Grade 3/5
Chances: potential surprise winner

05. Barbe-Q-Barbies / Let Me Out
In what could hardly be described as a surprise move, Mr Lordi stated his support for this rock band to win the UMK final. They wouldn't be a bad pick either. Rock is still a beloved genre in the land of a thousand lakes and an energy pill like this could be what Finland needs.
Grade 3/5
Chances: potential winner

06. Tuuli Okkonen / Don't Wake Me Up
A pleasant ballad - a bit lacking in vocal perfection during the semi - perfectly placed to let the audience calm down a bit before bringing the three top favourites into the game.
Grade 2/5
Chances: none

07. Sandhja / Sing It Away
My personal favourite on the night - gotta love crazy backing vocalists like these - is also the biggest favourite on Spotify. It got streamed more times than any of the other entries so far. I cross my fingers that everyone else will feel as uplifted as I do by this pop gem.
Grade 4/5
Chances: likely winner

08. Saara Aalto / No Fear
This is the make or break-moment for Saara Aalto. Coming after the very relaxed and energetic Sandhja, the risk is enormous that this will feel forced, frantic and calculated. If Saara relaxes, focuses on the vocals and appears to be in control this package could turn out to be unstoppable tonight.
Grade 3/5
Chances: potential winner

09. Mikael Saari / On It Goes
I just can't decided whether this is the perfect place in the running order or the place that will ruin it all for Mikael Saari. He sings wonderfully but what will people ultimately make of the song? Is it irrelevant in a contest like this in 2016 or an oasis after all the pop entries?
Grade 3/5
Chances: likely winner

I believe Finland's best chances of making it to the final in Stockholm are Sandhja and Barbe-Q-Barbies while a more controlled Saara Aalto could be a successful gamble as well. As much as I enjoy Mikael Saari's vocals and presence, I feel the risk of him not qualifying as really big.

Since I feel this final is too close to call, I will just rank the entries after how I think they would do in Stockholm: 1. Sandhja, 2. Barbe-Q-Barbies, 3. Saara Aalto, 4. Mikael Saari, 5. Eini, 6. Cristal Snow, 7. Annica & Kimmo, 8. Tuuli, 9. Stella Christine.

For more info see the official UMK website. Tonight I will also live tweet during the final.


  1. Miakel Saari or Barbe Q Barbies are your only chance in Stockholm tbh. The others are just nothing special (and I hope that Miakel isn't getting robbed again)

  2. Thank you for a decent writing. My personal favourites were Barbe-Q-Barbies and Kimmo & Annica. Sandhja was my 3rd option and I am very happy for her. She is energetic and the whole group sings well.

    The only disappointment is how the victory was made. I do not like
    ignoring the public vote and letting random juries rule by 50 %.

    My suggestion would be super final like in Melodifestivalen.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! It's so nice to still have you around reading the blog and your comments are always welcome!

      One thing, though. There is no superfinal i Melodifestivalen, it is done exactly the same way with juries first and then the televote. It gives a better feeling when the televote winners actually wins, but sometimes the jury is right and the viewers are wrong... :)