On Saturday, the 7th of March 2020, Finland will select an artist and a song for Eurovision 2020.
YLE (The Finnish broadcaster) received 426 songs for Eurovision 2020.
Professional jury panel selected 6 songs among them.
Finland returned to the familiar format of UMK (like in 2015-2017 for example) where multiple artists compete in the national final.
In contrast to 2018 and 2019 when the artist was selected internally and the selection show included 3 songs of the same artist.
The results of the national final will be determined by 50% jury voting and 50% public voting.
The jury voting will be composed of 8 jury panels. Each panel will be composed of 4 members from the same country. The judges are from the following countries:
Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Spain, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
In this post, I will review the 6 competing songs of UMK 2020.
#1.Catharina Zühlke – Eternity
It starts as a piano ballad. Catharina is singing with a soft and gentle voice. In the bridge, she is raising her volume and singing in a higher voice. In the verses and the bridge, the production is basic and classical. After the chorus, the song transforms to another edge of the scale. Actually, it becomes a dance-pop song. The next verses are being performed faster according to the beat. A violin is added to the melody. The production can be described as “when Disney meets dance-pop”. In the ending, the tempo disappears and Catharina is singing in a high and soft voice with a das facial expression.
I sense that the song is a little bit blended. The idea of combining an emotional ballad with dance tempo is original but sometimes maybe un-natural. For some listeners, it might be heard like connecting two different songs in one entry.
#2. Erika Vikman – Cicciolina
It’s a schlager dance-pop song. The song encourages people to be free, filthy, celebrate their identity and enjoy life. The song has a bombastic instrumental introduction. It’s the only song in the national final that’s performed in the beautiful Finnish language.
The song has retro vibes, but ironically because of that, it’s refreshing.
The first verse is slower than the other parts of the song. At the end of the first verse, the beat is created and continues until the end of the song. Afterward, the verses have a rate that’s similar to the one in the chorus. Towards the end, there is a transition where her singing is softer and she is getting supported by some backing vocalists.
The song stands out, it is unique and super catchy. Some of us may not like it but they won’t forget it.
With the right staging, the song can do really well in Eurovision itself.
#3. Aksel Kankaanranta – Looking Back
It’s a modern pop song. Aksel has a captivating voice which its uniqueness derives from the combination of color and volume of the voice. The melody in the first verses is based on piano playing. The song is emotional, intimate and personal. Aksel is shy and modest and that what makes the song so magical. The chorus has a finesse electronic production. The chorus is catchy, powerful and fits the voice of the singer. Sometimes, basic and “small” songs can be really effective.
#4. F3M – Bananas
It’s an uptempo electro-dance pop song. The song has a style of the early-mid 2000s music. Each girl is singing several lines of the song, while the others are doing backing vocals. My main problem is the lyrics of the song. Unfortunately, I don’t recognize any message in the song. It’s OK to send a song that focuses on fun and joy. However, it could have done better.
#5. Sansa – Lover View
It’s a dance-pop house song. The song is mysterious, dark and intimate. Sansa is singing in a low voice, almost whispering. The electronic beat in the verse is gentle and it intensifies through the chorus. The chorus contains only a few words and it is relying on the beat. The next verses are rhythmic. Sansa has got a special stamp. The production is a typical piece of modern time music.
However, I don’t know how that kind os song will be performed live and even more significant: How will it work in the Eurovision stage? Will it still be effective and relevant?
An honorable mention should be given to YLE for including such an act in the national selection.
#6. Tika – I Let My Heart Break
It’s a power love ballad. The song starts with a melody that’s based on a simple piano playing. Tika is singing in an almost talking session with a gentle voice. The song becomes powerful in the chorus. The chorus includes piano, drums and several string instruments. Tika prooves she is a strong vocalist in the chorus and in the bridge.
Afterward, the melody has a more classical structure and style.
It can be described as a cliche typical power love ballad, but it was made right.
Sometimes, the singer pronounces some of the words strangely in aim to fit the words to the melody. Tika is a talented storyteller. You can feel how connected she is to the text.
My Personal Ranking
#1. Erika Vikman – Cicciolina
#2. Aksel Kankaanranta – Looking Back
#3. Tika – I Let My Heart Break
#4. Sansa – Lover View
#5. Catharina Zühlke – Eternity
#6. F3M – Bananas
I see 3 different scenarios of the potential winner (emphasize on the first two among them)
In my opinion, Erika Vikman will be the most special choice that can stand out in the Eurovision itself. Generally, I want to bless YLE (The Finnish broadcaster) for returning to the current version of UMK where multiple artists take part.
Finland will compete in the second semi-final of Eurovision 2020.
The country was allocated to perform in the second half of the show.