Finland: Read our liveblog for UMK 2017

This Saturday Finland will make up their mind. Who will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kiev? It is time for Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2017!

Tonight’s show will begin at 20:00 CET and will end around 22:15 CET. You can watch it along with us through this link to the YLE livestream. The running order, which was announced on Thursday, is as follows:

  • EmmaCircle of light
  • AlvaArrows
  • Günther & D’SanzLove yourself
  • Anni SaikkuReach out for the sun
  • Knucklebone Oscar & The Shangri-La RubiesCaveman
  • Norma John – Blackbird (winner)
  • Lauri YrjöläHelppo elämä
  • Club La PerséMy little world
  • ZühlkePerfect villain
  • My First BandParadise

Tonight’s show will be held in the Espoo Metro Areena in Espoo, and will be hosted by Krista Siegfrids, Finland’s Eurovision artist in 2013. The winner will be decided 50% by the votes of ten international juries and the other 50% will come from televotes and online voting.

Our reporter Allie Lindo is watching the show for you and provides you with commentary below. Her latest comments will appear on top, as you refresh this page. All times are in Central European Time (CET):


22:00 – Norma John’s encore performance

Norma John are going to Kiev! A well-deserved win for this duo. They delivered one of the best performances of the night, a performance that clearly resonated with the Finnish audience and international juries. During a night riddled with choppy vocals, it is soothing to hear this encore performance by Norma John’s Leena and Lasse once more. This song has potential in Kiev with a few adjustments to the staging. I look forward to seeing it up against the best of Europe in just a few months. Congratulations to Norma John!

Thank you for joining us tonight as we watched Finland make its choice for ESC 2017!

21:54 – And the winner is…

After a tense wait, the winner of UMK 2017 is…NORMA JOHN! With 182 points total, the duo of Norma John are on their way to Kiev to represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017.

21:40 – Getting closer to a winner

The jury points have been given out and now we are that much closer to the winners of UMK 2017. The leader board now shows Norma John in the lead but that can change depending on the televoting results.

21:30 – Jury results are in

The first international jury results are being announced! France gives it’s 12 points to Emma. Iceland is up next and give their 12 points to Norma John. Estonia calls in and gives their 12 points to Norma John again.

Spain is up next and give their 12 points to Norma John. We also learn that Krista has a Barcelona accent when she speaks Spanish. Exciting. Sweden is up next and we are reminded that Krista will soon be performing in Melodifestivalen. Sweden gives their 12 points to Lauri Yrjölä. Tack till Sverige.

Next is Latvia. Their 12 points also go to Norma John who is now top of the leader board. The United Kingdom is up next and their 12 points go to  Norma John. Norma John now has a comfortable lead over Zühlke, who is in second place. Here comes Norway with their points – 12 points to Zühlke! Norma John is still in the lead.

Next up is Israel, giving us their best Finnish. Their 12 points go to Anni. Club La Persé get 8 points from the Israeli jury – their first points of the night. Next and finally is host country Ukraine, who give their 12 points to My First Band.

21:27 – Waiting for results

We are waiting for the results to be announced in Espoo, but the good news is the hashtag #UMK17 is a trending topic on Twitter worldwide.

21:18 – Marcus & Martinus take the stage

Norwegian twins Marcus & Martinus begin their performance to the excited (and high-pitched) screams of the crowd. They may be young but they definitely have what it takes to take the European charts by storm. Let’s call them the Norwegian Justin Bieber times two. Or perhaps they are Norway’s answer to Jedward? Regardless, they do quite a good job on stage.

Many in the crowd respond to the twins’ request that they jump to the rhythm of the music. The twins are clearly having a positive effect on the crowd. They end their performance with the words “Kiitos, Suomi” (translation: Thank you, Finland) which are the only words I know in Finnish haha. The crowd is thankful for them as well.

21: 14 – Not much to choose from

Listening to the studio versions for the songs performed tonight, I had a little more hope for Finland this year. Unfortunately, not many artists actually delivered when it mattered. Of course, it’s up to Finland to decide who will represent them. To recap – the night began with what I would call two sub-par performances from Emma and Alva. Both songs sounded better in the studio versions released by YLE weeks ago. Live performances weren’t very promising. Ten performers took the stage tonight, but I feel not all of them are Eurovision-quality. As we wait for the votes to come in, we’ll see how Finland feels.

21:10 – Time to vote!

The performances are over and it’s time for Finland to vote. We are treated to a recap of the night’s performances as the people begin to submit their votes. Online votes were already submitted two days ago so now it’s time for the televotes and international jury votes.

21:08 – My First Band – Paradise

My First Band tell us  they would like to “kiss our paradise” and leave us paralyzed. Not quite sure what any of that means but it’s another fun and funky performance so I’ll move on. My First Band remind me a little of Joe Jonas’ band DNCE. The screen behind them is lit up with a graphic displaying the name of the song with the outline of women’s lips and legs. Confetti falls from the ceiling as the band wrap up the last performance of the night.

21:03 – Make a mediocre night better with shirtless men

Krista has found herself a couple gentlemen to keep her mind off the sup-par performances of the night. Graciously, they have decided to go shirtless for her. One performance left!

21:00 – Zühlke – Perfect villain

It seems Zühlke heard my previous pessimism and decided to give me some hope. She brings much more drama in her performance than the others have tonight. And thankfully the vocals are good. Two male backup dancers join her on stage as a city skyline is projected on the screen behind her. Pyrotechnics punctuate her performance. Zühlke tells us how “every hero is the perfect villain”. She also asks what the X-men would do “if they came to the rescue” and the Kryptonite was her lover. This may be the perfect song for comic book lovers.

So far Zühlke stands out as one of the most put-together performances of the night.

20:56 – Only two performances left

We are almost through with the performances in Finland and to be honest there aren’t many proper choices for Finns to choose from tonight. Overall, it’s been a disappointing night.

20:53 – Club La Persé – My little world

And now for the avant-garde. Club La Persé gives us a taste of the unusual as we approach the end of tonight’s performances. There is no way to truly describe the performers on stage. Each person has dressed in their own unique style. The screen displays Japanese characters as the group performs. The lyrics of this song aren’t very deep or groundbreaking. But this is the kind of song that would also find it’s way into clubs around the world. I guess that’s appropriate as this song has been written by a London “club kid”.

20:48 – Krista pushes sartorial boundaries

A highlight of the night are definitely Krista’s outfits. She may only wear them for a few moments but they certainly make a statement.

20:46 – Lauri Yrjölä – Helppo elämä

The first, and only, Finnish-language song of the night. Lauri is joined onstage by five male backup dancers as he sings. This is Lauri’s first solo song. Before he was known as a guitarist and UMK 2017 is serving as the launch for his solo career. Judging by this performance, I think we can expect a career filled with club song favorites. He has a little work to do with his vocals but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed with a little work. His stage presence is also lacking a little bit, but overall it is a very enjoyable song with a nice beat to it.

20:42 – Norma John – Blackbird

This song has darker undertones than the others. Leena, the vocalist of Norma John, takes the stage in a long black dress which covers her body from neck to toe. Pianist Lasse joins her on a stage dark stage with touches of red lighting. The true highlight of this song is the pianist who has a solo halfway through the song. He is certainly talented at his craft. Leena’s vocals are wonderful and full of emotion. At the end of the song, the crowd shows their appreciation. But I wonder, is this song a little too sad to make it to Eurovision? We will soon find out.

20:35 – Knucklebone Oscar & The Shangri-La Rubies – Caveman

Here we have a throwback to the 1940s with a touch of 1980s rock n roll. This is a fun song that I could see myself dancing too on a night out with friends. I would love to do “The Caveman.” Knucklebone Oscar is suddenly picked up and carried around the stage by a male assistant. And of course, it isn’t rock n roll without a trashed guitar. Knucklebone channels the great rock bands of the 70s, 80s and 90s by wrecking his guitar on stage before exiting.

An interesting fact about the two women joining Oscar on stage – they are both burlesque artists who are recognised worldwide. They definitely use their talents on the stage to their fullest extent.

20:30 – Let’s take a moment to look back

We have four performances to look at so far but really only one that really has all the parts to potentially make it to Kiev. Of course, this is up to the people of Finland (and the international juries). But as Krista addresses the crowd in a very interesting floral outfit, I can’t help but think Anni Saikku is, thus far, Finland’s greatest hope for a shot at Eurovision success.

20:27 – Anni Saikku – Reach out for the Sun

Yes! Here we have the first true contender of the night. It’s easy to fall under Anni’s spell as she stands in the middle of the stage in a very interesting cage-like structure. As she steps out, she delivers the best vocals we have heard so far in UMK. The screen behind her displays multiple versions of herself singing the song. The song has the potential for a little more drama but it is still the best performance so far.

20:23 – Günther & D’Sanz – Love Yourself

Oh my goodness. We have taken quite the U-turn at UMK. The vocals are far better here than the previous two songs. Less shaky and far more solid. Unfortunately, we seem to have traded sub-par vocals for sub-par lyrics. The duo encourage us to “love ourselves” and”‘touch ourselves”. Hmmmm. Despite the risque lyrics, the crowd give them the biggest cheer of the night so far.

20:18 – Alva – Arrows

The underwhelming performances continue here in the Nordic region. Alva’s performance starts off with weak vocals much like Emma’s. On stage with her is a single male dancer in dark clothing. He uses hip hop moves to provide back up for her lyrics. Two female dancers join him on stage but while the dancers are doing their job admirably, unfortunately Alva’s vocals take away from what could be a good song. The lyrics are rather repetitive but this song still has a chance to be good. Sadly, in my opinion, this song doesn’t have a shot with it’s current singer.

Alva is only 16 years old so hopefully with some work she has a chance to be great in the future.

20:15 – Emma – Circle of Light

Our first performance of the night in Finland! Emma starts off in traditional Eurovision style by sitting on the ground in a long green dress. As she rises to her feet, she is surrounded by a ring of fire. I am not wowed by this performance. There is nothing new or interesting about it (besides the fire of course). Her voice seems very shaky as she picks up what looks like an Olympic torch. Sorry Emma but this performance isn’t “safe in the circle of light”. Not a great start to UMK this year. Not even the pyrotechnics at the end can save this weak performance.

20:07 – Off with a Bang

The crowd show their love for the opening number and we are introduced to our performers for tonight. If first impressions are anything to go by, we are in for a very fun night. Krista has an amazing ballgown dress on as she introduces the running order for tonight.

20:00 – Here we go!

And here we go! UMK 2017 is underway. Tonight’s host is Krista Siegfrids, who will be showcasing her talents again in Melodifestivalen 2017. She and quite a few female backup dancers try their best impression of Rihanna-meets-Britney Spears in their opening number.

Dear readers, I do wish I spoke Finnish so I could understand exactly what is happening right now. Alas, I do not so all I can say is Krista has decided to seduce us all through a funky dance track. It truly does remind me of Britney Spears’ famous track ‘Work B****’.

19:45 – The Final Countdown

It’s almost time for UMK 2017 and things are a little different this year. Instead of the usual semi-finals and a final, Finnish broadcaster YLE has decided to change things up and turn UMK into one big show this year! So for those of you who prefer instant gratification, YLE has made this year’s show especially for you. Krista Siegfrieds is back in the hosting slot and is sure to provide us with a good time. In typical Finnish style, we can look forward to a little of the unusual in this year’s show. Sit tight and buckle up because Finland will be taking us for another wild ride.