After a strong showing from down under this morning, tonight sees another quality national final offering, courtesy of Finland’s UMK. Imagine saying that about UMK a few years back? The glow-up in terms of quality of songs, production and format over the last few years has been a wonder to behold. The Darude-only version was only a few years ago and yet, the transformation in that short time has been extraordinary. In a year when most other national finals have gone supersized, Finland have kept their “quality over quantity” ethos with seven great entries.
When the names were announced all us 90s kids were automatically drawn to The Rasmus. Many rose-tinted memories of my angst-ridden teenage years all came flooding back. As for their song? Well if the band had their heyday back in 2003, it would seem they haven’t moved on an awful lot since. Jezebel would fit nicely alongside The OC, Wayne Rooney eating that massive lolllipop and Cheryl Tweedy trying to obtain some regular-sized lollipops in a punchy way (Yes, I googled things that happened in 2003). It sounds dated. That’s all I’m trying to say.
There are options beyond the big name. Younghearted’s Sun numero is a real grower with an anthemic sound that we know can do well at Eurovision. If it’s attitude the Finns after they need not look further than Bess. Can see this beguiling performer absolutely smashing Ram Pam Pam out of the park tonight. Either of these would be great Finnish language entries should they choose that route. Even though we’ve lost Voyager in Australia this morning (pour one out) there is still an opportunity for a rock entry to succeed today. Cyan Kicks’ Hurricane has to be the one for me. In an increasingly weepy feeling Contest I just want a bit of anger and shouting. Hurricane perfectly fits that bill. Come on Finland, we all know you like this kind of thing.
Elsewhere, Iceland’s Songvakeppnin returns to find the next artist to follow Hatari and Daði & Gagnamagnið. Yeah…no pressure there, like. There is one entry in there that would make perfect sense in that lineup. Haffi Haff’s Gía feels like the ideal mixture of both these previous entries along with a touch of Fire Saga in there too. Whilst it won’t be to everyone’s taste (Eurovision entries must not be fun or contain any elements of a joke!) this ode to a volcano is bound to be an audiovisual pick’n’mix on stage tonight and I cannot wait!
Then…then there’s Melodifestivalen. Everything had been going so well. Cornelia Jakobs had been the favourite, it was looking like Sweden were finally going to break the Melfest mold. Instead, it now looks like Anders Bagge’s Bigger Than The Universe is all but crowned the winner at this stage. It’s a real Frankenstein’s monster of a song with the mad scientist known as G:Son jamming together a number of off-cuts to create something so saccharin, yet inexplicably popular in Sweden. Anyway, let’s just hope one of Klara or Anna can enter the fight tonight!