Finland has decided! After a fantastic show filled with amazing vocals, big stage production and a few drag queens, we finally have a winner. Norma John will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 with “Blackbird”.
And how exciting the final was! Norma John topped the jury vote and public vote, owing to strong vocals and major atmosphere. The simple, low-key staging created a truly visceral experience that you could really feel in the arena and at home. This blackbird may be sad, but she is flying high…
Zülhke — she who sings of the X-Men — finished second overall, with pre-contest favourite Emma rounding out the top three.
Ahead of the contest, Norma John finished third when we asked our readers for their UMK17 favourites. Our Wiwi Jury placed the song third ahead of the contest as well, but left many of our jurors spellbound. Kristin wrote:
“I’m completely mesmerized. Such a beautiful production. So low key, so simple, but so strong, and the instrumental part just sent shivers down my spine. And Leena’s soft and heavenly voice is the icing on the cake here…Norma John, you just get me!”
Fan favourite Emma had some major issues with the in-ear piece, which caused some timing issues, and the flame on her torch also went out. But she can still be proud of an enchanting performance. Dancing, flames, props and a memorable costume — she took big risks and should be applauded for packing so much into three minutes. This isn’t the last of her.
The ten juries hailing from Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Spain, United Kingdom, France, Ukraine, Iceland, Israel and Latvia included some familiar faces.
That awkward moment you stumble over Finnish you practiced all day! Thanks for being so kind @KristaSiegfrids #UMK17 https://t.co/brCfwMCckk
— William Lee Adams (@willyleeadams) January 28, 2017
Our very own William Lee Adams served as the spokesperson for the United Kingdom, while Melodifestivalen and Eurovision screenwriter and director Edward af Sillén announced the Swedish points.
Next to the ten competing acts we saw performances by Norwegian teenage pop duo Marcus & Martinus and Finnish star Jenni Vartiainen.
The host Krista Siegfrids opened the show with a song written especially for the UMK final. The woman is a serious singer but she knows not to take herself too seriously: At one moment she lay on her back on a piano singing about happy endings. Get it, girl!
- Norma John with “Blackbird” – 94 points
- Zühlke with “Perfect Villain” – 74 points
- Emma with “Circle of Light” – 53 points
- My First Bandwith “Paradise” – 45 points
- Anni Saikku with “Reach Out For The Sun” – 43 points
- Lauri Yrjölä with “Helppo elämä” – 43 points
- Günther & D’Sanz with “Love Yourself” – 37 points
- Club La Persé with “My Little World” – 21 points
- Alva with “Arrows” – 15 points
- Knucklebone Oscar & The Shangri-La Rubies with “Caveman” – 5 points
- 88 points — Norma John
- 71 points — Zühlke
- 53 points — Emma
- 52 points — My First Band
- 48 points — Alva
- 45 points — Günther and D’Sanz
- 29 points — Club La Persé
- 16 points — Anni Saiku
- 15 points — Lauri Yrjölä
- 13 points — Kuncklebone Oscar & The Shangri-La Rubies
Our first reaction to the UMK 2017 result
Norma John interview at UMK 2017
Are you happy with the results? Who were your favourites? Let us know in the comments!
I know I’m VERY late posting this, but OY! The sooner Emma got lost in the tempo (and to be quite blunt, I knew this was going to be a hard song to sing live beforehand), the title was up for grabs. Here’s how I saw it: 9.45 Norma John: “Blackbird” This is the kind of song Mikael Saari tried twice (2013 and 2016) and failed to send to ESC. Once this duo was done, I don’t think Emma would have won, anyway. They were my #3 before this contest. I think they will qualify for the Grand Final in… Read more »
Finland has experience organizing contest back 2007, can’t believe it’s been 10 years!
@an esc fan Ok, let’s say that astrology and chinese calendar are right. What does ‘positive’ mean? It’s an abstract word, I can see a thing being positive at sth you would say is not. And vice-versa. From when happy upbeat means positive and sad ballad means negative? Sorry, I just hope you’re not betting thinking this way. @i hate it No, Eurovision doesn’t mean just having fun, it’s a contest, it can’t mean that from the start, last places are not having fun. And what does having fun mean? No, serious topics are absolutely free to participate and I… Read more »
I could have accepted any other song but not that funeral song. This does not belong to eurovision because eurovision should be having fun and enjoy and not feel miserable. Club La Perse would have bring so much happiness even their live performance should have been changed a lot. They should have gone just to make normal live performance. I really hope that funeral song does not qualify. Think if all would send only songs like that!! That`s why I just don`t understand how there can be eurovision fans who hope and vote that kind of songs. Norma John trolled… Read more »
Happy upbeat song will win. Viewers at home know that last year was very serious (so this is not only about fans, everybody who can vote know that last year was political), and also if you believe in astrology, both european and chinese horoscope say will be light, positive song. For Finland could’ve been Gunther, for Montenegro-Slavko, for Greece-Demy, for Moldova can be SunStroke Project, for Spain can be Mirela or Manel also.
I see a lot of criticism about Finland sending a ballad which won’t make the final… interesting conception thinking about last year upbeat song which had no chance for final. This song has A LOT of chances to make the final and exactly as the international jury gave it a lot of points in Finland, and they didn’t give Emma that amount of points, well, this could easily happen in the big contest too. In my opinion, Finland will be in the final this year.
From early indications, this could be the most serious-sounding Eurovision ever. Which makes me think an upbeat song will ultimately win, like in 2015.
Maybe they put Emma first because if she would have performed later they wouldn’t have got enoigh time to put all the things on the stage, like the fire circle and everything?
I seriously think that Emma was sabotaged from the get-go. Why would they make her go first, knowing that she was the favorite to win? It completely defies all logic. Not to mention, her gear was working during the dress rehearsal but suddenly malfunctioned while she was performing on TV. Seriously, if one of the joke acts had gone first this whole situation could have been rectified, and Circle of Lights would be on its way to winning the whole contest! I really hope Emma will come back next year with an even better song. Had this performance been pulled… Read more »
Oh My BabyJesus. Im not a ballad’s supporter but hey this is not just a ballad, this is such a masterpiece. That piano’s sound is EVERYTHING. Nordics just do better.
I hate this song. No final for finland once again sorry 🙁
@Russian Romeo Loves You: Yes, I see that. It’s an interesting topic actually, and I’m planning to write an article about it later this year. In the case of UMK 2017, Emma had a disastrous live final performance. But, I agree that the jury mark (which is judged and counted before the contest) should have been higher if Emma’s song was the best. So yes, the point of a possible musical bias within the LGBT community is understood and well-taken. However, Wiwibloggs is arguably marketed (in bright pink) with and for the LGBT community anyhow – so is all this… Read more »
What the heck are you talking about? Zühlke’s voice is amazing.
@Purple Mask tbh, I share Charles’ opinion. Anytime someone wins, not being a fan of wiwi community, like Michal Szpak in Poland or Sandhja in Finland, some people start suggesting conspiracy theories. However the legitimacy of anyone’s victory is determined by the range of voters. LGBT community is too small to be statistically correct. Wiwi community is even smaller. That’s my opinion.
give*, not hive
@Charles: The Wiwi Jury and readers’ favourite was Emma with “Circle of light.” This was by a clear margin. Emma also won the UMK pre-vote in Finland, again by a clear margin. I appreciate your position, but there’s really no need to hive us an inquisition, or criticise other lifestyles that frankly have nothing to do with music taste. Please state your musical opinion, relax and have fun. Thank you.
A nice “atmospheric” (as Russians would say) song. Very Mørland&Debrah’ish. Pure elegance of melancholic darkness. The performance was very romantic… This is a song I would like to be sung at my funeral. Emma’s song was nice too, however the live version wouldn’t force me to vote for it if I was eligible to.
As far as ballads go, it stands out. It does look like she is trying to be a mini Adele though, don’t you think?
I don’t know if it is the best choice, it doesn’t stand out and with the amount of ballads that everybody seems to send for the contest, it could not get a top place. But the song is beautiful and in terms of quality, it’s absolutely a correct choice. I also don’t think that ‘Circle of Light’ would have had such a big impact as many are tempted to think about.
Amazing vocals? Noooo. Emma, Alva and Zühlke were horrible live…
@cheesecake: Cause without uptempo songs you’ll drown or suffocate maybe? Is life coming to an end? Won’t you feel the desire to wake up in the morning the next day and wash your dishes and walk the dog? Just wondering …
@Purple Mask: If Blackbird was not meant to be the favourite, can you explain to me the televoting numbers? Just out of curiosity. And who or what decides which one is the favourite? Some random group of guys at the Glory Hole bar maybe? At Eurovision fans do forget so easily that televoters are made majorly of the people at home and not just the casual group of friends we meet every year at all the pride parades. We’re outnumbered in that way … so being favourite or not … who cares … we’ll never know who the PEOPLE at… Read more »
@MTD: Two different piano ballads … and while the first one is just some random cover of a British indie band with no guitars, Blackbird had a Nordic identity and a true haunting feel that Lil Allen is not able to deliver. She’s very good at telling us all to f**** off both in music and on social media … but thankfully Blackbird is far superior than all that 🙂
@Polegend Godgarina: Your understanding of quality frightens me … probably you see it in some Lithuanian lip sync drag queen that is worth a Zero but … hey … whatever floats your boat. By the way, you know that there’s treatment for hyperactive desire for speed music. You can’t be at so much speed every time …. sometime you gotta come down and slow down … But I guess that is way too hard for you. Well you always have Lolita Zero to make your day as bright as the sun. 🙂
I like this song. a mysterious ballad performed by a crystal voice, very nordic
Wait a bit!
This song reminded me of some…and yeah…I finally got it.
Hello “Lily Allen – Somewhere Only We Know”.
Oh, ESC, you creative one. LOL
The performance reminds me of Adele on Brits. Hah.
But this one is a bland song.
Finland is back!! Some comments on the show: The staging of all the songs was great! Finnish did a good job! I don’t know why Emma’s performance was so bad. She wasn’t strong vocally, I thought I was listening to a whole mess throughout the song. Though, I liked the staging. Zühlke was absolutely amazing vocally, but the song and the lyrics weren’t right. With a different song she would have slayed! She should definitely try with a better song. She is great! As for Norma John they were incredible!! It was my favourite song from the beginning and I… Read more »
It should be of no surprise to anyone that the favourite was drawn first in the UMK final. This has happened before (Saara Aalto!!). UMK never lets the favourite win easily. I’m not saying it was sabotage, but it is in line with what many of us feared and predicted. Fortunately, the real winner was equally as unpredictable. 🙂
@Nick There were techinical issues, but that wasn’t HER fault. That torch wasn’t meant to go out, and the music didn’t match with what she was singing after the first chorus. She looked beautyfull, but I do admit that her vocals were faulty, but it’s a SONG contest, and her song was clearly the best. Her performance was amazing too, but the draw DESTROYED her chances.
As always, the fan-favourite for Finland didn’t win. Norma John totally deserved it, their performance was really beautiful and outstanding with a simply yet meaningful staging, she had the best live too. I wasn’t expecting them to win as Emma had that big amount of points in the online voting. I’m sorry for her, the studio version was arguably the best, but her live performance was offbeat and off key for most of the song. I like the staging with the circle of fire and her mystical moves, but the most important thing failed… Lauri and Gunther were my other… Read more »
What EmanAe said! I also dont understand why people already think this years ESC will be dull. Could you please tell me where you have heard all the other songs that are competing in ESC this year?
Congratulations to Norma John! But I must say krista’s opening to UMK was incredible!
Here is my top 5 so far..
It is truly a masterpiece.. What a voice.. and a hell of a music.. you can feel the melancholy behind all of this.. i am fascinated, and i hope it won’t be underrated because it’s a ballad and the most of you say that it’s boring.. it’s remarkable, for those who understand music and don’t fall for those cheap pop chart songs.. i was amazed last year when Ukraine won.. it was classy, touching and a way ahead of the other contestants.. it’s no all about “house produced music” because they’re popular today.. it’s about making something meaningful and long… Read more »
I did not expect them to win before the show, although I kind of saw it coming after all acts had performed. After Emma’s car crash the ticket to Kyiv was literally up for grabs. I felt so sorry for Emma.
Finland will probably do well this year.
But now let’s have some uptempo songs!
I repeat myself again: We have songs like this every year. They always end up massively over-hyped by the fans only to end up not getting so many votes by the voters at all. So expect this to be a favourite even in the OGAE voting and expect it to end up somewhere between 15th to 20th place in the combined voting.
Itävalta, that was my only doubt haha
Antonio, you are a good lad 🙂
I only would have put Albania 1 or 2 places up higher…. I love that song so much now….
Finland, Georgia and Albania are real stunners for me….
My Top 5:
Kimmm, I guess I have limited taste too, because I loathe pop females on generic formulas and always fall for ethereal, mesmerizing female ballads.
One piece of advice to Leena, please do not look so bitter in your face when you sing. Sometimes your mouth curls like you just took a bit of lemon. Relax your face, girl!
One of the best winners in not so recent history, if not the best of all times, is the Norwegian Nocturne. Blackbird is equally great!
Btw worst performances yesterday: Emma, Alva, Anni. It was like school singing. Does anyone really thinks, that these bleeeew could qualify in Kyiv? Juries and viewers made right choice.
Jesc fanatic and his predictions LOOOL. He wants for winning only pop female singers in every national final and it is ofc impossible. And if any country chooses something different, he thinks, it will not qualify, because only solo female can qualify. And when singers like Greta, Agnete or Amber with their mediocre songs stay in semi, because only the best women can qualify, not every, how he thinks, he says: Biggest surprise and shock in history 😀 He has very limited taste and its very sad, because these people doesnt know what about music is.
I feel so bad for Emma. It seemed like YLE actively wanted her to fail, putting her up first with that trainwreck of a coreograpy (Siru, anyone?) and poor staging. The technical issues were just adding insult to injury. Yes she was nervous as well, but it’s like they never gave her half a chance to actually succeed. I supported Emma until yesterday but I ended up voting for Norma John. All the hate is surprising to me – I thought it was a world-class performance and the song was both ethereal and surprisingly powerful live. I absolutely loathed Sandhja’s… Read more »
Club La Persé was too low energy. I expected them to set the stage on fire. And the sound was not that perfect.
Robyn: “Oh dear rakas 🙁 ”
Yeah, Rakas is indeed not fine, and in fact very dead! 😀 At least the meaning of the video stayed true, haha!
Thanks for the clarification about the timing. It did look like she had miscounted, but distraction from audience clapping makes sense as well.
That moment when Club Persé sounded 100% like the studio version xD
Wish i could say the same about Emma, she still had the best song out of the ten.
The already revealed artists are so different from each other so don’t be afraid of a ballad year. Finnish entry song: 6/10 live: 9/10
I am very optimistic so far. All songs chosen so far are either classy or great. Reminds me a lot of 2015, which I loved. Finland is of course the best so far. Stil, I think we will have a cheerful song to win in Kyiv. Although Finland is the least succesful of Fennoskandinavian countries in Eurovision, I am tired of having ESC in the North in icy darkblue, dark purple and teal colours. Although Krista would be a great host though and I would go to Helsinki anyway. She was hilarious in French “I dont speak French, but I… Read more »
Nice song. My favourite was Circle of Light by Emma.