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Review: UMK 2017 dress rehearsals

Dress rehearsal at UMK 2017 | Photo: Riikka Jääskä

This year, the Finnish preselection Uuden musiikin kilpailu (UMK) takes place at Espoo Metro Areena, near Helsinki. As a comparison to previous years at the Yle studios, now the contest is taken to a bigger arena, making it feel more like ‘Eurovision’.

Our Finnish reporter Riikka was following today’s dress rehearsal and here’s her reviews of the 10 songs.


1. Emma: Circle Of Light

Emma’s beautiful tune is already a favourite, both by the media and in the early web voting in Finland. And she doesn’t let us down! Mystical performance with folk influences but also something very modern, this has all that a good Eurovision song needs.

2. Alva: Arrows

The song really works and Alva has a lovely voice. She is still very young though and has a girlish appearance, so she is not one of the strongest contestants tonight.

3. Günther & D’Sanz: Love Yourself

Günther is such a legend already. The performance by him and D’Sanz reminds a lot the music video, with white clothing and background and the sultry female dancers. It’s such a party song! I will be happy to hear it in the Eurovision disco anytime.

4. Anni Saikku: Reach Out For The Sun

One of those ballads which has nothing wrong with it, but not being very memorable either. The refrain is a bit too slow compared to the verses, so the song doesn’t really stand out.

5. Knucklebone Oscar & The Shangri-La Rubies: Caveman

The artist (and song) which I was personally least excited about before the stage show. But the performance actually proves to be quite funny visually, with all the crazyness of Oscar jumping and running around the arena. Unfortunately, musically the song still is the weakest one.

6. Norma John: Blackbird

The “deepest” song and performance of them all, making you feel like you want to know this strange and wonderful world described in it. Could Blackbird be a black horse this year?

7. Lauri Yrjölä: Helppo elämä

The only fully Finnish-language song tonight. Lauri is a sympathetic young man, but the song lacks something – it’s a bit hard to grasp which style it represents. The Finnish words are also rather strangely rhymed.

Lauri Yrjölä on stage #umk17 #goodeveningeurope #eurovision #umk #finland #dressrehearsal #lauriyrjola

En video slået op af Good Evening Europe (@good.evening.europe) den 28. Jan 2017 kl. 7:15 PST

8. Club La Persé: My Little World

Now here’s a group that can put up a real show! They offer what they promise: entertainment. I love the burlesque elements and the whole concept. For many voters though, the image of the group might be a bit too much.

9. Zühlke: Perfect Villain

The biggest positive surprise of the evening. Zühlke is a very powerful and professional singer. The performance with the male dancers also looks very professional.

10. My First Band: Paradise

This is definitely a feel-good song, but is it enough? It reminds me a bit of Denmark’s Lighthouse X from last year. My First Band is a strong candidate, but I would say Finland needs a powerful entry this year.


Riikka’s prediction for the Top 3:

  1. Emma
  2. My First Band
  3. Zühlke

Eurovision and scandipop fan from Helsinki, Finland

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