Finland: All women qualify in first semi final

Tonight in Finland is the first of three semifinals to determine who will go on to the final of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu on the 27th of February.

This will be the fifth time UMK has been used to select Finland’s Eurovision entry. Krista Siegfrids, who represented Finland in Malmö in 2013, will be hosting the program alongside actor Roope Salminen. The duo will be hosting both the semi-finals and the final.

The semi-final starts at 20:00 CET and will be broadcast live on broadcaster YLE’s website.

Tonight’s participants and songs were (qualifiers in bold):

  • Saara Aalto – No Fear
  • Mikko Herranen – Evil Tone
  • Stella Christine – Ain’t Got Time for Boys
  • Eini – Draamaa
  • ClemSO – Thief
  • Pää-Äijät – Shamppanjataivas

Read back the comments of our liveblog below! The newest update always appeared on top.

All times are in Central European Time (CET).

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21:40 – Final Update – An Interesting Night in Finland

As usual, the first semi-final of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu produced some interesting songs and performances from the six contestants. Each song had its own interesting details. In the end Saara Aalto, Stella Christine and Eini were chosen by the Finnish public to move on to the final round. Join us for the next semi-final next Saturday the 20th of February at 20:00 CET.

21:10 – The Women of Semi-Final 1 Go Through to Final

Saara Aalto‘s “No Fear” is the first voted through to the final. She is quickly followed by Stella Christine and “Ain’t Got Time for Boys”. The final contestant of the night to be voted through is Eini and her song “Draamaa”. Eini is on the verge of tears at the news and seems genuinely shocked. Saara and Stella are also rightfully excited. That means all three women who have competed tonight will be competing to represent Finland in the UMK final on the 27th of February.

21:06 – The Hosts Have Moves of Their Own

Hosts Krista Siegfrieds and Roope Salminen have their own perfermance to share with the audience. It is a very sensual song and performance routine with Roope licking the microphone at one point. Krista has changed into a metallic gold jumpsuit while Roope keeps his suit on.

21:05 – Review of Songs and Interview with Contestants

Saara Aalto has definitely come prepared in the age of social media. She has a heart shaped sign with her that read “#NoFear 2016”. Her fans in the crowd are also carrying the signs and are enthusiastically waving them around whenever the camera pans their way. There are quite a few of those signs. Perhaps those signs can translate into votes. ClemSO seems slightly overwhelmed by the energetic crowd and can barely hear the questions over their screaming. As overwhelmed as ClemSO is, Pää-Äijät are enjoying all the attention.

Mikko Herranen’s voice seemed to strain during some of the higher notes of his song. Unfortunately these clips are the ones UMK keep showing over and over again. Will this hurt him with voting? Saara Alto’s perfermance of No Fear was quite energetic but she had some parts where she sounded a little out of breath from her dance routine. As with Herranen, UMK is choosing to repeat these clips again for the voting public.

20:58 – Saara Aalto – No Fear

We’ve managed to recapture the first performance from Saara Aalto, this is our comment:

A strong showing of Saara Aalto fans in the studio audience. Her performance of “No Fear” starts with her in a long white and gold gown in the middle of the stage surrounded by  six shirtless male dancers. The dancers are doing an interpretive dance on the floor as Stella softly begins to sing the first few lines of the song. The dancers become more energetic as the song progresses and suddenly her gown is ripped away to reveal a shorter gold outfit underneath. Female dancers have now joined Saara on the stage for a quick dance number during the final chorus of the song.

20:55 – Voting Break

This has definitely been an interesting mix of song choices, which is pretty standard for Finland. Each contestant is different from the others.

20:50 – Pää-Äijät – Shamppanjataivas

This will probably be the best stage set-up of the night. The male duo of Pää-Äijät appear on stage in a makeshift hot tub filled with bubbles. Both are dressed eccentrically. This song is definitely a fun, high-energy song. The stage is filled with numerous people in different outrageous costumes. There’s even someone dressed up as a fox. “Shamppanjataivas” is definitely the kind of song one would hear in a club. It has gotten the crowd going with loud applause in time to the music. The end of the song finds the two lifted into the air above the stage on cables.

20:47 – ClemSO – Interview

In an English-language interview, ClemSO says he feels that there is a new vibe coming to Finland with his music and he feels “blessed” to be a part of UMK. He is hoping to inspire a new Afro-music wave in the Nordic nation.

20:45 – ClemSO -Thief

ClemSO kicks off with five colorfully dressed female back up dancers. His song “Thief” has traces of electronic dance music inspired beats. They blend in with some traditional African sounds. Unfortunately he seems to be a little low-energy tonight as he moves around the stage in front of his much more energetic dancers.

20:40 – ClemSO – Introduction

ClemSO describes his music as afro-fusion. He says the song “Thief” is a love song and is dedicated to all the ladies in the world. ClemSO is a self-described romantic.

20:37 – Interview with Eini

Eini definitely has some fans in the crowd as they begin to chant her name as she walks over to be interviewed. Plenty of signs in the background bearing her name as well. Some enthusiastic audience members are attempting to do ‘The Wave’ throughout the interview.

20:32 – Eini – Draamaa

Eini takes the stage in a dramatic black dress and hair flowing in the wind. She has four male back up dancers behind her and some interesting laser graphics. Her song is reminiscent of some fun 80s style songs. Some fun pyrotechnics light up the stage towards the end of her performance.

20:30 – Stella Christine – Ain’t got time for Boys

Stella is on stage with a white guitar in her hand, two backing vocals behind her and a dancing couple on the right side of the stage. They are giving a ballet interpretation of the song. Stella’s entry starts off slow with the guitar but soon begins to pick up steam. This is a classic song about heartbreak. The song tells the story of a woman who has had her heart broken by a partner. In her music Stella challenges her partner to be a better man. A strong entry in the competition.

20:26 – Interview with Mikko

While the presenters are talking to Mikko, we are still struggling with the livestream. Seems like it is under control now, but I’m getting curious how the first song has been! For now though, we focus on song 3 which is about to start.

20:20 – Song 2: Mikko Herranen – Evil Tone

A classical ballad, which would have been perfectly suitable for John Lennon’s try-out cd’s before he rose to actual fame. Mikko on his turn is a typical a-typical Fin: he wears a beige suite and dark sunglasses over his eyes. Combine that with his long blond hair and he is a strange eyecatcher. Vocals are alright, but this is weirdness that people outside the Nordic countries perhaps would not understand.

20:17 – Annual livestream issues

As happens more often, the Fins have problems with their livestream. Team ESC Daily, too, can open the live feed only half of the time. Lets see how this progresses.

20:02 – Three will qualify

Three out of six competitors in each semi-final will move on to the final. The top three will be selected through public televoting.

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