From the highs of Softengine to the lows of PNK, there is one constant: Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, Finland’s national selection for Eurovision. After revealing the names of this year’s semi-finalists, Finnish broadcaster YLE is now revealing all 18 of their songs this morning at a live press conference in Helsinki. Are you ready? Let’s do this…
Watch the UMK 2016 song announcement here
Semi-final 1 (February 6)
ClemSO – Thief
Nigerian-born ClemSO serves afrobeat realness with this number, which mixes English and the Yoruba language. The man has soul and swagger and his video features some Finnish ladies doing their best to throw it down West Africa-style.
Eini – Draamaa
Known as Finland’s Queen of the Disco, EINI comes with the humorously titled song “Draamaa”. She likes her vowels long, her lyrics in Finnish, and her disco dripping with plenty of schlager. Watch as she works the woods and one muscle-bound mechanic…
Mikko Herranen – Evil Tone
A former member of the bands Velcra and RUST, he’s appeared on The Voice of Finland and worked as a musician, sound engineer and handyman. His song leans toward soppy folk-rock and serves inspirational cheese: “..life is like a limousine, a never-ending fire.”
Pää-Äijät – Shamppanjataivas
Unshaven, dread-locked and more likely to roast a pig than snack on kale, this duo mix rap, dance and pop to surprisingly good effect in “Champagne Heaven”. It has a real Staysman & Lazz vibe — silly, somewhat tacky, yet incredibly catchy and endearing.
Saara Aalto – No Fear
Finland’s runner-up back in 2011, Saara has gone on to release five studio albums — including one in Chinese! That experience shines through in “No Fear” — a woman’s call for acceptance and love with distinct Oriental accents (and one sexy white dress).
Stella Christine – Ain’t Got Time for Boys
Stella melds jazz, R&B and soul in this funky little number, which she penned herself. Her voice is deep and resonant and works really well with her mish-mash genre.
Semi-final 2 (Feb 13)
Annica Milán & Kimmo Blom – Good Enough
Angelo De Nile, who tried to work a gimmick at UMK15, has returned as Kimmo Blom, and he’s brought Annica Milan — a Voice of Finland alum — with him. Their voices blend nicely in this powerful duet, which, as ever, explores the complexities of modern relationships. They’re leaning on each other and we like it!
Attention 2 – Ready For The Show
Move over Jedward: There are new twins on the block! Sixteen-year-olds Anni and Nina bring bubble gum pop to the UMK stage with this motivational number about believing in yourself. The lyrics are very earnest, borderline nauseating — “imperfections, they make us what we are…so don’t you be afraid” — but perhaps their youthful optimism will appeal.
Cristal Snow – Love Is Blind
A popular radio DJ and former contestant on Dancing with the Stars, Cristal Snow treats the theme of homosexuality with aplomb in his sleek music video. This sounds very current and super slick — a great effort!