2015 Review: Finland/ Thoughts on UMK

So after all the national finals I missed because I didn’t really like the songs/had other priorities/[insert excuse here for missing out on a NF], here’s one of the contests that I actually followed: Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, or the Finnish national final.

And by “following” I mean listening to multiple “Top 18 UMK entries” videos on YouTube and then following up with the actual videos posted by YLE.  Due to [insert excuses that no one really cares about here], I ended up only watching the second semifinal and the final, the latter without sound. Anyways, from the Top 18 videos, I decided that I liked (in no particular order) “Mustelmat” by Siru, “Heart of Light” by Opera Skaala, “Hold Your Colours” by Solju, and “Ostarilla” by Shava.

Eventually this turned into the most diverse national selection so far, as out of the 9 acts were:

An angry punk group

A “One Direction reject,” complete with autotune and screaming girls

He also looks like the guy who sits next to me in communications class and goes on Facebook for 90 minutes each day

A techno-opera singer

Complete with dancers wearing classical wigs

 

A Sami mother-daughter duo mixing pop and joik

A dramatic ballad that seems fitting for a stage musical

A gospel-inspired song, complete with choir

A Spanish reggae singer

A “Suomibhangra” group (think Finns singing Bollywood)

A pop band that I was too lazy to listen to because I couldn’t spell the name (sorry…)

XXXXX

When I first heard the entry from Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (PKN) “, my initial reaction was pretty much, “Wait, that’s it? It’s only 90 seconds long!” Out of all 18 entries, this one seemed the most “raw” when everything else sounded more produced. It’s probably the main reason why a lot of YouTube’s “UMK 2015 top 18 entries” videos put PKN in last place. But now they can’t do anything, since “Aina mun pitää” (“I always have to”) won the entire selection. IMO the song’s a grower and has a lot of energy. The performance has just the band, which means unlike some of the UMK entries, they don’t need to downsize their act. And the live version sounds pretty similar to the studio version.

It’s just really annoying seeing a bunch of negative comments in the Eurovision blogosphere saying that they only won the final as a novelty act since the band members all have Down Syndrome and/or all the votes were sympathy votes. And even before they won, the entire blogosphere turned into the Late Late Show’s “odious little man” scandal except blown up multiple times more. They’re just regular guys that are singing about their daily lives who by coincidence also happen to have a 3rd copy of Chromosome 21. I just wonder if the media’s going to treat them as punk singers with Down Syndrome or Down Syndrome punk singers.

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