The 12 acts that are bidding to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 take to the stage to perform their songs live to the Jury. Tonight the first 6 acts were shown on YLE television . Watch below and get our first reaction to the acts on stage. Here is the complete playlist of the artists performance along with our commentary.
(YouTube Video courtesy of UMK2012)
Last Panda: “Saturday Night Forever”
Last Panda will certainly not be last in their Semi Final. A youthful 5 piece rock band consisting of 3 guitarists, a key board player and a drummer. These guys certainly shook the stage. Full of energy, note perfect and a great look and sound. A cross between McFly and The Strokes. You could clearly see the 4 judges were enjoying this performance. This has huge potential in a large arena and the guys look like they are up for the challenge.
This is a song which I really liked in the preview videos. It is pure blue grass music that has that feel good factor about it. 4 talented performers on stage. One playing the bass, another the banjo, another the ukulele and finally a guitarist. Sung and played perfectly. However this is where the disconnect comes in. There was no emotion in their performance and they did not at any point in the performance play to the camera. This is a mistake that you see at Eurovision time and time again. You need to be aware of where the camera is always and you need to perform to it. There was no effort from the band at generating a cohesive image. They looked as if they just came from busking on a street corner in Helsinki. A lot of work to do visually with this band to make them ready for the live Semi Final. The judges did not seem as engrossed in this performance as they were with Last Panda’s beforehand. Still potential if they work on their performance aspect.
Krista Siegfrids: “Marry Me”
I watched Krista walk onto the stage dressed in a white wedding dress and I was expecting this to be a train wreck of a performance. How wrong was I! In comparison to Rautakoura who had performed just before her, she was head and shoulders above them when it came to charisma. Krista was accompanied on stage by 2 dynamic female backing singers who lit up the stage like her. The wall of sound that the 3 of them produced was flawless. What does this mean? Well it leaves the performance open to having 3 dancers on the stage. I could see 3 male dancers in top hat and tails and this song could dominate the stage. The inclusion of wedding bells in the track now just lifts the song. Krista owned the stage and you could see that she was up for the challenge. The song is instantly catchy “Ding Dong – Oh Oh – Marry Me” – and I still can’t get it out of my head. It sounds like a Katy Perry song and sung to perfection. By far the unexpected hit so far.
Iina Salin: “Last Night”
It is no secret that I had a soft spot for this song when the preview videos were released. This is a funky disco pop song and Iina has the most amazing soulful voice. She sings the song on her own and the power in her voice is astounding. She is joined on stage by 3 male musicians – all on guitars – one of which is an electric key board guitar. They have some slick moves and Iina interacts with them so well. They remind me of male equivalent of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” women – moody and cool.
This song has serious potential even outside of Eurovision. Iina reminds me of Roisin Murphy and Donna Summer. That disco and soul combination. I like this song but I would enhance some elements to get the full potential from the song and singer. The song needs 2 further dancers on the stage to interact more with Iina to showcase her. Also I would have her wear hair extensions – I cannot believe I am talking hair, but Iina and this funky song call for really long hair and a wind machine to maximise the impact of the song. And if I am stating the obvious, Iina needs a huge Disco Glitter Ball effect on stage. Do this and Finland have a hit on their hands.
Great Wide North: “Flags”
Do you remember the British 80’s band Aztec Camera, well this is Finland’s reincarnation of this band. 4 men on the stage – the lead vocalist also plays the banjo and then you have a bass and lead guitarist and finally a drummer. They had some great vocal harmonies between them and a good stage presence. The bass guitarist comes in also with the harmonica which adds a further layer of sound to this song. The chorus is very anthemic where the band ask you to “Raise your flags high, Let them fly high” – you know they are thinking of the Malmö Eurovision Arena where everyone will be prompted to join in. This has huge potential and if this does not make the final then I urge the band to get another country to select them. Catchy and Authentic – what is not to like about this!
Mikael Saari: “We Should Be Through”
The last song for tonight is the epic Steinbeck ballad genre of a song. At 3 mins and 40 seconds long, there will need to be some editing but that is no problem as there was a piano solo for 40 seconds in the middle of the song where Mikael just stood there waiting for his prompt to come back in. His voice is just sensational. It has a Rufus Wainwright and Curtis Steiger sound to it. Massively powerful in parts and then extremely tender. This is a dramatic song and could be the power ballad of a Eurovision Night – like Albania last year. Mikael is captivating that you forget that he is wearing an unflattering Christmas jumper and you just concentrate on his voice. This is going to be a close contest.
There you have your first 6 contestants performing live. Remember that these are just demo recordings that they are performing to – I can’t believe how well they sounded. For many other countries these would be the final package. Well done YLE on 6 individual and well sung crafted songs. If I was a Finnish Eurovision fan I would be extremely happy as there are some real Eurovision contenders in there.
Next week sees the other 6 contestants perform for the judges. Stay tuned for more.
Author/Website Founder and Chief Editor – Garrett Mulhall
Source – YLE