At the Finnish national final, Saara Aalto was strapped to a wheel for her song “Domino” and she worked a high-rise staircase for “Queens”. And today during her first rehearsal at Eurovision 2018 she borrowed elements for both in what is a much cleaner and dynamic performance of “Monsters”.

The X Factor alum starts the performance spinning on a black platform with white carvings and we see her dancers — who wear military-inspired outfits — voguing in the foreground. Saara eventually unbuckles and proceeds to work every inch of the runway — voguing, swinging her arms in circles and dipping like it’s nobody’s business. Towards the end of the act she climbs the stairs as a pyro shower unfurls. And then our girl pulls out a sparkling flare to announce just how much she’s moved from darkness to light. Empowered and emboldened, she turns backwards and falls into the arms of her army down below.

In recent weeks many have questioned whether Saara could make the final. But after today’s rehearsal — which took the performance from circus to Cirque du Soleil — I’m confident she will. This is one of the few rehearsals where the vision seems fully realised.

Saara Aalto — “Monsters”: Reviews and Reactions

Finland: First rehearsal at Eurovision 2018

Finland: First press conference 2018

Read all of our Eurovision rehearsal reviews

Read all of our Finland Eurovision news here

Photo & Footage: EBU & RTP (Thomas Hanses)

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97 Comments on "Finland: Saara Aalto spins back into contention with dynamite first rehearsal"

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HÄN
Guest

I don’t understand everyone saying that the staging is bad already – William and the other bloggers have seen it and said it’s great! We have to trust them and, from the live stream, it sounded like it had a great wow factor (pyros included).

Miguel
Guest

I don’t know what to say about this one. The clip is too short.
I love Saara, she is super nice and a great singer.
I like they kept it sober and Saara’s dress is black and simple. Too much colours was very distracting.
I am curious about the camera angles and the full performance. I hope she doesn’t have to move too much around. She will probably qualify.

AngieP
Guest

She’s going for the show here. Choreography, the stairs, the dancers etc. It looks better than at UMK and her voice sounds great.

Lady Gaga
Guest

This looks like a poor man’s Lady Gaga or Katy Perry stage show. It just looks so cheap, when you think about it. Why do good vocalists need a cheap show is beyond me. To pander to the campy queens? If that was the goal, they should have studied Gaga or Katy more & not settle for a cheap imitation

I ain't scared no more
Guest
I ain't scared no more

I agree… Saara & her team did (after UMK ) steps by steps very good job and now I’m really confident: she will go in GF.!!! GO GO Saara!
P.S.: Don’t understand haters/ disgusting comments and i am so sorry for all them. They do with all this negativity worser life just for themself. Too many monsters/demons in them mind?

Jo.
Guest

It will be much more entertaining without LED screens. Everybody is making a big effort to shine, instead of driving the attention away from the performer to the images in the background.
Bad vocals will now be easily spotted. Empty staging as well.

wolfgang myers
Guest

her voice grates through me like a dentist drill
not for me thanks

Jamala
Guest

Brexited accent???? This is something new. I like it. Brexit accent! 😀

Jamala
Guest

This song? This horrible thing will not qualify. 😀

Thiago
Guest

There’s a bit too much going on here for my own personal taste. The stage is intense, dancers seem erratic and her vocals following the backing vocals (or vice versa) amplifies the jerkiness. It’s a great song…. but the performance could be toned down a bit.

Dash
Guest

Are all the Saara haters from Israel? Just thinking.

Solo
Guest

Beauty and goodness will defeat the world. And where is beauty in Saara’s performance? Terrible show.

Boy
Guest

This is my top 3. Its so many bad song this year

Lars
Guest

OMG The comments here are so awful !!! WTF is wrong with you people ! I love Saara and people are saying she did amazing !!! I pray for a final spot for her ! She deserves it !

Denis
Guest

That’s forums for you! Especially if your’e Swedish or Finnish. Or just fan of Saara!
It’s like the opposite to Avengers “fans” attacking everyone who isn’t overtly positive towards superheroes

Philippe
Guest

Her live vocal is terrible! If she can’t sing such an easy-cheesy-song, she might as well go home after the first semi. There’s no point to even discuss this any further!

SAARA'S SOLDIER
Guest

Her vocals shine bright… but your arrogance shine brighter. If you can’t comment constructively, you should just shut up. There’s no point to even discuss this any further!

Jonathan
Guest

Butt hurt much, ain’t ya? Drag yourself out of the gutter, troll! Your idol is the shame of this competition!

Pandy
Guest

I can imagine her face upon disqualification, just like Belarus in 2016.

SAARA'S SOLDIER
Guest

Of course you would know disqualification. How is life in Romania?

TRISH
Guest

She will fight with Lithuania for the 18th place on the semi.

Bandido
Guest

You poor kid are so lost. 🙂

GuyGuy
Guest

Off topic;
I have to say that from the looks of it I’m very disappointed with the stage!!
Initially I thought I would like it, but tbh it’s not that special and all the songs staging looks more or less the same.
I hope it’ll look much better on t.v.

John. Zh
Guest

the songs will have totally different staging they already said that
but its the 1st rehearsal…they don´t use fireworks and all the special effects they have it
just wait and you´ll see 🙂

GuyGuy
Guest

I appreciate that, however I was referring to the general background with the wave/columns.
Nothing moves, nothing changes. and the countries that didn’t invest or brought props, fireworks etc. are “stuck” with the same presentation with only a change of colors.
Again, I hope I’m wrong here.

John. Zh
Guest

thats what im talking about 😉
4 elevators, 2 laser projectors…we have to wait to see what this stage can do
EBU said the stage is great and full of options…lets wait. Until now i have the same opinion..the stage looks the same and i though that big “thing” move but until now its quiet ehehhehe
lets wait and see whats happen next 🙂

Kyna
Guest

While her outfit is MUCH better, then the backing dancers look like they’re some military officers in WW2… scary.

nils1973nl
Guest

They are Saara’s army! Soldiers of Love.

Julia
Guest

Extremely bad!

30042018
Guest

Nice to be a rude hater 😀

Solo
Guest

Do not like it. I liked this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEeIeQ-j2zk

I am the real Madame Monsieur Propaganda
Guest
I am the real Madame Monsieur Propaganda
The semi 1 is actually pretty bad. Czech and Cyprus are so bad and trash music. Greece is something boring, Belarus voice is awful and live will flop. Azer is a normal bad pop song. Switzerland and Amrmenia, good but not “gooder” than Finland. Bulgaria, now i love it!! But very creepy. Belgium will maybe flop. Qami, Fyrom, Lithaunia, not my favourites. Qami is okay. Israel i dont know if it is a winner. Iceland is good. I dont remeber Ireland. Dying to fly? Same song? Croatia is crazy. But Estonia, Finland and Albania are top 10 songs! Finland will… Read more »
Yaa
Guest

I loved it, very funny actually, as is your nick and your favorite entry! Cheers!

Mamndara
Guest

I like the song- but live perfomance is very important for her and hope she can manage it next week ! Greetings from Estonia 🙂

Héctor
Guest

I love the studio version and the concept behind the videoclip, but I should say this 30sec-rehearsal looks like a circus and it’s a hot mess. So I have to dissagree with William. Finland is my 4th, but with this live performance (she’s screaming and out of tunes sometimes) I don’t see them qualifying. She needs more vocal containment, a performance isn’t better just for singing higher. And too much pink also, I wish the staging was darker and nearer to the concept of the video.

Lady Gaga
Guest

Not even a hot mess. It’s just a mess, period

HÄN
Guest

You’re disagreeing with someone who’s already seen the performance will all cameras cuts etc. How?!

Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy.
Guest
Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy.

Why do people think that Czech, Trash pop Cyprus, boring Lithuania is better than this?
No, it is not. Saara Alto is the most famous artist of them all.

Yaa
Guest

Funny again, you’re my favourite troll

Paysbart
Guest

Sorry but I saw the whole performance and I think it will not reach the final
It will be surpassed through genuine performances of Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland (if he sings it like in te Late late show)

Dovy
Guest

I hate this song but there’s no way in hell that Lithuania, Croatia, or Ireland would make it to the finals! That’s a sick delusion! Saara will be on the GF because of her fans, not her song, let alone her terrible performance!

Sabrina
Guest

Well, it’s for sure way better when compared to UMK. Her outfit is great and I like what they did with the backing vocals. The prop is also better looking than they one they used before. And it seems that Saara will have less choreography, which is great for her vocals. But I don’t know, I still feel that they’re wasting Saara’s talents. It looks professional, but I miss some sparkle.

Miguel
Guest

I agree completely.

Forever second
Guest

Second to last this time?

Erik
Guest

Again Finland will not qualify for the final show. Too much chaos on the stage. Mediocre voice.

Alex
Guest

lol I think I saw this set when I saw Katy Perry a few years ago. A cheaper version of course. The piano version was so much better, this version is okay.

Mr Gold
Guest

SWEDEN

esc1234
Guest

Rumor has it, she will bring two elephants on the stage, with a led screen on them saying “Please i dont want to come second for a fourth time”

trshy
Guest

i think that’s greece, rumor has it, it says: “please dont let me be a second demy”

esc1234
Guest

You are exactly what your name says

Aaron
Guest

According to the Metro

“There’s a big Eurovision ending to the entry as well as Saara leaps backwards off the raised stage and lands upside down in the arms of her backing dancers. Surely this can’t possibly go wrong.”

ASFBHJBHJASFJBFHGJ

BeatMeToIt
Guest

She’s superb but this is a clear case of having a mediocre song and throwing the kitchen on stage so let’s see if something comes out from this…

Malin
Guest

Lycka till Findland, Roligt att så många escfans uppskattar er låt! <3
Love from Sweden

Netta is a feminist, bad. Im not a toy.
Guest
Netta is a feminist, bad. Im not a toy.

Why so much dislikes? Swedish is an official language in Finland and many people talk swedish, me too (#metoo). Finland and Sweden are really good friends.
Tack tack. Hoppas att Finland går till final

Netta is a feminist, bad. Im not a toy.
Guest
Netta is a feminist, bad. Im not a toy.

And now it is 0. But it was -5.

Ghhfy
Guest

Sorry but I just cannot like this song, it’s so annoying, I cringe at the very sound of it… I appreciate her voice and the message but the song is just not to my taste

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

She’s about to end homophobia in Europe, LEGEND.

Homophobe
Guest

And I have gone from non-homophonic to homophobic thanks to the song

Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy. Jim
Guest
Netta is a feminist, bad bad. Im not a toy. Jim

Fusk you people, Saara is the best!!

Timo1962FI
Guest

You really must have a bad self confidense or other health issues if a single song can turn around your attitudes that easy. Try to come with something relevant if it really has gone so bad with you.

Solo
Guest

Homo is the gene that encompasses extant species Homo sapiens (modern humans). Who is afraid of people?

nils1973nl
Guest

The song is not only about homophobia Godga

Davve
Guest

Good work Saara!

Denis
Guest

Oh this is going straight to final. With flying colours!

Maria
Guest

I guess this is the only act from Sweden that escfans like! Perhaps polands act, whith swedish citizen and songwriter will be accepted to as long as nobody understand that it is a swedish act?!
Itis a songcontest, and the songwriter is from sweden. But if Sara was representing sweden, imagen all the hate.

Swede r trash
Guest

Hopefully there is enough hate towards Sweden. I mean those Swedish song writers are so greedy trying to get the Finns to pay for all their expenses at Lisbon. Then Ingrosso showing how nasty he is. And their producer mess around with the running order. Swedes are really bad people.

Maria
Guest

Sorry, but you know that it is ESC that need a good producer for the show. Why did CB put Robin Bengtson as the first ACT last year! Do you really think that was the best for sweden?

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest

First act in a semifinal always attracts a lot of attention, whereas in the Grand Final he chose to put Robin in the end clustered with favourites to win Belgium/Bulgaria. Why didn’t he do the other way: towards the end in the semi; first in the Grand Final?

Vincent
Guest

Swede r trash Racist?

Rasmus
Guest

Excuse me, but you know they solved that right? It was a misunderstanding. Im a swede and i think you should be banned.

Rasmus
Guest

They asked Christer for his profesional help. Why did Portugal ask him then?

Henrikh Mugosa
Guest
I think you should phrase your comment like this, Maria: When Finland clearly has the BEST song from the Nordic countries (has this ever happened before?), a lot is said about the quality or rather the lack of it of the songs from SWE-NOR-DEN-ICE. But the thing is: out of the trio SWE-NOR-DEN at least 1 and possibly 2 of this songs deserved to stay in the semifinal. But they will all qualify, don’t ask me why! Whereas Finland right now seems a well deserving qualifier, but maybe they will or they won’t. Who knows? Last year they really deserved… Read more »
Henrikh Mugosa
Guest

And while we’re at it: thanks for pointing out how much Swedes are involved in other countries’ songs. Because the question is: why does this happen so much? is it because Scandi-countries impose their own winning formula as the only possible formula to achieve success in this freakin’ contest? Shouldn’t each country try to find out their own? Believe you me, i have absolutely nothing against Swedes having in Eurovision a secure way of making a living!

Ghhfy
Guest

Isn’t there hate about every esc entry in the internet? So sweden hate isn’t anything special here..

Fast Food Music Lover
Guest
Fast Food Music Lover

Trend alert: bring your own stage to Lisbon!

Jo.
Guest

And I’m loving it.

Dash
Guest

She’s at the top with this one!! The audience was exited

Rasmus
Guest

Finland had not qualified in 3 years. Yes they should have last year. This is great so its stupid to write hateful stuff. Dont you? Sara can read this to you know. its stupid to say things about her as a person. You dont know her. She is competing in Eurovision which is her dream. If you dont like the song, thats fine. But why say it in a rude language. Dont get that.

Ingrosso Honesty
Guest

Only some people hate her, a lot of people just hate her song. It’s better being straight and honest isn’t it? The fans learnt from Benjamin Ingrosso.

Rasmus
Guest

No it isnt. If i said hurtful comments to you about your face. for example Wouldnt you be be sad then? if you got 500 of them. benjamin is 20 years old. He said in a long messgae on instagram he was sorry. So i forgive him. Im a swede to. He just didnt think. He is young you know, not perfect

annx
Guest

it’s greeks

esc1234
Guest

This pathetic troll has 20 accounts and simply says offensive things for Greek people. Please @wiwiblogs do something about it

hermi
Guest

Switzerland 2017 Timebelle revisited.

SAARA'S SOLDIER
Guest

how about… no 🙂

30042018
Guest

Well, I guessed this would be the most orgastic moment for all Saara-haters. Grow up – your statements are being so pathetic.

please
Guest

Was this the thing that has never been done before???? Man, the backup dancers look like policeman of some sort. Not impressed

Timo1962FI
Guest

If you saw a 30 seconds snippet you haven’t seen the thing that has never been done before. And as for symbolic use of those suits – they are Saara’s army . Why are you so negative?

please
Guest

how am i negative ? I just said i m not impressed, cause i am not. I didnt’t say it was bad even.just my opinion.

Aaron
Guest

agreed! I’m still not sure what hasn’t been done before.

Timo1962FI
Guest

“Empowered and emboldened, she turns backwards and falls into the arms of her army down below.” The trick was not included in this snippet – and I am quite sure it has never been done before. And mr/mrs/miss “please” – sorry if I hurt your feelings but your comment does have a negative undertone. And this is my opinion on you opinion.

Aaron
Guest

She definitely snapped.

Better rehearsal than Israel and Belgium. Classy, polished and most definitely more TV-friendly. Vocals as usual on point, need to hear whether the harmonies are there like the studio cut between the backing vocals.

Contender to win

Donald duck
Guest

really dont like , adhd act, and too pink very clear want to give a wink to the gays fans, what is ok , but too cliche

Aaron
Guest

how can something be an “adhd act”???

SAARA'S SOLDIER
Guest

That is so offensive… how can an act be ADHD, how dare you describe something by a medical condition? That’s rude and disgusting.

nils1973nl
Guest

Medical condition.. Well people are só easily labelled adhd, there is some inflation on that word.
So take a chill pill (or what works for you.

whitesox
Guest

“From cirque du soleil?” A circus, yes, that’s the good word.

Poster.
Guest

Meh 🙂