Today the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — met up and rated the six songs of the first heat of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) 2016, Finland’s selection for Eurovision 2016. First up is Saara Aalto with “No Fear”. Did we love Saara’s new, oriental sound or run away in fear? Read to find out!

SAARA AALTO – “NO FEAR”

“No Fear” Reviews

Antranig: “No Fear” is edgy and anthemic and Saara Aalto brings the Bollywood realness to UMK16. This would be pure heaven on a Eurovision stage with some very similar choreography to the music video. “No Fear” is just about the best song in all national finals so far and if Finland want their best result since Lordi, they’ll be sending Saara to Stockholm.

Score: 10/10

William: If we could look inside Saara’s head, we’d see a battle unfolding between a Finnish pop diva and a schizophrenic belly dancer who got on the wrong flight from New Delhi. They’re both great on their own, but put them together for three minutes and it can’t end well. Throw in a producer obsessed with dance tracks and you get this disaster. Had Miss Aalto developed any of these ideas more fully this would feel cohesive. As for now it feels rather cut-and-paste.

Score: 5.5/10

Edd: A very promising, stripped-back start slowly boils up into a hot mess. Her voice sounds so cheap and vibrato when she sings “no fear” (about 700 times!), and her happy facial expressions/dancing looks so ridiculous against (what’s trying to be) a serious song. I love the sitar, but it just feels out of place when there’s no other attempt to make the song sound ethnic. Despite all that, it’s at least contemporary and memorable.

Score: 5/10

Sam: I normally love Saara Aalto (“You Had My Heart” is, in my opinion, a better breakup song than any junk Taylor Swift could put out), but this is just weak. I don’t understand what compels her to sing in this fluttery Snow White style, but I’d prefer her belting it out. Belting comes off much stronger and less nasally than what she’s doing now. It’s a certain qualifier due to the name recognition Saara has in Finland (she dubbed Anna in Frozen, after all), but “No Fear” has only a few redeeming qualities.

Score: 7/10

Luis: Indian sounds for Finland? Do I have to remind you how the Persian sounds ended for Norway? I’m concerned that this song can’t actually find its way: the mix of Indian and modern sounds is totally forced, like an amateurish mashup of random music, and Saara’s overly sweet voice ends up sounding like the dragons from the Simpsons’ episode where they visit China. Too much bad stuff in just three minutes.

Score: 2/10

Robyn: I like what’s going on here. Saara’s delicate voice is given the perfect setting – a quiet ballad opening with Orientalist styles slowly coming in before it erupts into a mighty chorus that she handles like pro. The music video suggests really strong staging – Saara and her Bollywood-influenced girl posse. If the impact can be carried to the live performance, this song could do good things for Finland.

Score: 8/10

Saara Aalto No Fear UMK 2016 CoverKristin: I’m torn with this one. On one hand I’m digging the wacky Bollywood sound and the beat, but on the other hand, Saara’s voice kind of irritates me. But something about this is haunting. However, I think that Saara will take this home without trouble, and if she delivers this on stage with energy and attitude, I’m more than willing to change my mind and up my score.

Score: 7/10

Sinan: Wow! What a great song “No Fear” is! I most like those parts where she sings ‘No feeeear’ and when the background sounds like an Indian melody.

Score: 9/10

Max: Ethereal and elegant whilst also being catchy, “No Fear” is a well-considered entry from Saara Aalto. Out of nowhere the song transforms into a dancefloor anthem, perfectly ripe for a high-energy dance routine on the Stockholm stage. I can see why some people find Saara’s vibrato on the title phrase slightly grating, but I think the strength of the song makes up for any annoying vocal quirks.

Score: 8/10

In the Finnish Wiwi Jury we have 17 jurors but only have room for 9 reviews. The remaining eight scores are below!

Maria: 8/10

Josh: 7/10

Ramadan: 7/10

Denise: 9/10

Bernardo: 8/10

Dayana: 8/10

Cristian: 7/10

Mario: 6/10

The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 10.

WIWI JURY SCORE: 7.3/10

FOR OUR LIST OF FINLAND 2016 RANKINGS, CLICK HERE

FOR MORE FINLAND EUROVISION NEWS, CLICK HERE

Photo: YLE

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Chris
Guest

Sorry, I don’t like this song at all. It looses momentum at one point and they made it just a bit too complicated at times. Her voice is great and the chorus works ok, but maybe she should stop writing her own material for a while. This won’t do. She’s the eternal runner-up and with this material I understand why. It’s one of those songs that gets hyped in ESC circles but won’t appeal to a larger audience in the end, especially if faced with the main competition in Stockholm. There will be dozens of songs like this there. There… Read more »

WTF
Guest
WTF

I can already see this going the way of “Mustelmat”, massive hype for a mediocre song that won’t even win its national selection, not to mention how irritating that damn chorus is…

Sara
Guest
Sara

Best song in umk

Rhino
Guest
Rhino

Very interesting and catchy, should go to Stockholm!

Colin
Guest
Colin

Phenomenal unique song that would instantly guarantee Finland being in my top 10 at least.

Österrike
Guest
Österrike

This song is so addictive. One of the best songs so far.

eve
Guest
eve

This is my favourite song in this national final and one of my three favorites from all the national selections (Heart shaped whole and Seis being the others),it’s and easy top 10, please Finland send this

PP
Guest
PP

I think if Finland send this song, in final they wili be in TOP 5 with televote and from 10 to 15 with juries, with that result they can be from 7 to 10 place in final.

PP
Guest
PP

With this song Finland have strong chance to be in TOP 10, even in TOP 5 thanks to televote and tv viewers.

Steven Keenan
Guest
Steven Keenan

Infectious*

Steven Keenan
Guest
Steven Keenan

By far the best song I’ve heard across all national finals. It’s so brilliantly put together from start to finish and extremely well produced [good job UMK]. I can really see this catching on at Eurovision because it’s just so infection. The lyrics are perfect! I was even humming it throughout my exams. I’ll be gutted if it doesn’t win but the competition is so fierce in Finland.

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

I really don’t think that’s a sitar
at any rate this song is great
like actually amazing (a lot of entries in UMK I can say the same to, but still)

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

If you are looking for original and unique this song will bring something different, fresh and standout to ESC with the variation, production and vocals juries love. For me it is easily the best song in the Finish selection but the Finns being Finns they will probably go for something obscure or rocky (and rubbish,) like Pää-Äijät: “Shamppanjataivas”, that will be a huge mistake. They should go for “No fear” but there are some good songs in Finland and their final is something I look forward to. They overlooked some really good songs last year and paid the price. If… Read more »

2015
Guest
2015

This will probably win in Finland and get between 10th-1st place in the grand final if the live performance is good aswell. For now they’ll win eurovision 2016, but some countries still have to come with an song.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

There was WAY too much going on in that song.
Having said that, I would like to see it in Stockholm. I have no idea how they would get all of that to work on stage but I would be very interested to find out!

….I like parts of it (I think).

Hugh
Guest
Hugh

While not my favourite, this will win UMK, and in Stockholm it will make the final. After that it really depends on how good the show is. I could definitely see this hitting the top 5 with massive staging and perfect, slightly more belty vocals, and I think the criticism of the song as being disjointed is both a)true and b)not especially relevant for the casuals. 8/10

Laburnum
Guest
Laburnum

I thought it was a Chinese style she was using? But one of the best!

deli
Guest
deli

This song gives me Bojana/Golden Boy vibes.

WelshDragon
Guest
WelshDragon

For me it is a cut above the rest in UMK 2016. It gives me energy and Id like to see it in Stockholm.

BB
Guest
BB

The best UMK Song this year.

Zac
Guest
Zac

No Fear is The Best Song So Far