The 2013 edition of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu – the show to select the Finnish representative at the Eurovision Song Contest has just finished. After a close contest of a very high standard, Krista Siegfrids will fly the Finnish flag in Malmö with the song Marry me.
After failing to make the final in Baku, the Finns are looking to get back on track in Malmö. As for the previous shows, Anne Lainto and Ile Uusivuori guided us through the proceedings. The judging panel of Tomi Saarinen, Aija Puurtinen, Toni Wirtanen and Redrama were also back to give us their views.
1. Arion – Lost (writer Iivo Kaipainen)
A dry ice stage accompanied the slightly aggressive opening to this song. The lead singer Iivo had dressed up in a beige jacket over a black shirt and trousers. It was dramatic and he belted it out. The instrumental break saw the lead guitarist play a popular riff, receiving a cheer from the crowd as he did. A large fan base was in the audience to give this a large amount of applause. A good way to open the show.
2. Elina Orkoneva – He’s not my man (writer Elina Orkoneva)
Elina took to the stage next in a long sparkling red gown. There was a 1950s vibe to this very catchy song. It had echoes of a cabaret floor show about it. Elina had no trouble selling this, and it didn’t have the key change we were perhaps expecting towards the end. It could be different enough to attract a large number of votes.
3. Lucy Was Driving – Dancing all around the universe (writers Lucy Was Driving, Otso Keskolo)
An enthusiastic drum solo opened this college rock song. It moved along well with a good hook. The lead singer appeared to be straining just a little bit with some of the more challenging parts of the song. The middle-eight invited us to clap along. The harmonies of the band worked, but it may just struggle to win.
4. Krista Siegfrids – Marry me (writers Krista Siegfrids, Erik Nyholm, Kristofer Karlsson, Jessika Lundström)
The first outfit of note of the evening was worn by one of the favourites Krista. It’s a very wordy song but very slick in presentation. Krista’s wedding dress was set off by her three backing dancers dressed as grooms. It was another instant song. Very catchy, and a likely floor filler. There were more than six people on stage, but this could be easily remedied if it won.
5. Last Panda – Saturday night forever (writers Henry Tikkanen, Aapo Immonen)
Last panda are a band a little similar to the Andorran entrants Anonymous. This had a very contemporary feel that would appeal to a younger tele-voter. They sold this song very well, and it had a slightly orchestral feel in parts. The pyrotechnics during the song also added to the effect. It was hugely popular in the Espoo’s Barona Arena.
6. Mikael Saari – We should be through (writer Mikael Saari)
Our big ballad by singer-songwriter Mikael contrasted completely with the previous song. In a beige suit he sang this accompanied by a pianists and string quartet and copious amounts of dry ice. The long instrumental break featured the piano and soaring strings. It was very heartfelt and faultless. Extended applause followed this one, and it could be one to watch at the end.
7. Great Wide North – Flags (writers Kaj Kiviniemi, Mika Kiviniemi)
After the ballad came the foot-tapping anthem. It started with the right qualities and built very well through the song. Telling us to let our flags fly high, it could almost be a command to the audience. The heavy emphasis on guitars, banjo and drums gave it a rapturous reception at the end of the song.
8. Diandra – Colliding into you (writers Patrick Sarin, Leri Leskinen, Sharon Vaughn)
Finally, Diandra performed against a backdrop of Egyptian hieroglyphs. She was dressed simply in black and sang another very contemporary song. It moved along well and the brief reprise we’d get would ensure that this song was very memorable. On last can be an advantage and she seemed to be making the most of it.
The show opened with views of the Helsinki underground and the song Freestyler. An interesting opening, to say the Finna like their metal music. During a break in this song, the acts were introduced in performance order. Krista Siegfrids and Great Wide North appeared to receive the biggest cheers at this stage. We had a brief chat with the judges before the first song.
as an interval, we were treated to Finnish rap with middle eastern overtones. After the judges’ votes, we saw last year’s entrant Pernilla Karlsson sing the Abba classic Super Trouper. This was followed by the CatCat singing their 2004 classic Bye bye baby. Next on was a slower version of Euphoria performed by Vicky Rosti and then Waterloo by Kaija Kärkinen. The medley continued with Sata salamaa sung by all of the interval performers. An excellent interval.
Televoting would choose the winner tonight, and we were given the telephone and text (SMS) numbers at regular intervals. Our jury would also get to vote, and these were as follows:
Arion – 31
Elina Orkoneva – 30
Lucy Was Driving – 25
Krista Siegfrids – 38
Last Panda – 24
Mikael Saari – 38
Great Wide North – 38
Diandra – 32
At this point, the voting lines were still open, but these votes could influence how the Finnish public would vote.
After the second interval, the three biggest scorers, Diandra, Krista Siegfrids and Mikael Saari were announced. One of these would win the ticket to Malmö. Diandra was eliminated first. Then the winner was announced as..
Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest
Finland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961 in Cannes. Success did not come easily and they had to wait until 2006 to record their first and so far only victory. The unique Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi. During their time, Finland has come last in the Saturday night final 11 times, the first in 1963 (Muistojeni laulu by Laila Halme) and most recently in 2009 (Lose control by Waldo’s People). Since the advent of the semi-finals in 2004, Finland has made it to the final four times, most recently in 2011 (Da da dam by Paradise Oskar). last year in Baku Pernilla Karlsson failed to take the Swedish-language entry När jag blundar to the final, finishing 12th in its semi-final.