Saara Aalto will be flying the Finnish flag in Lisbon. And tonight, Finland will choose which song Saara will sing at Eurovision 2018. This year’s edition of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu — rebranded as UMK 2018: Saara Aalto — features Saara performing three songs. The winning song will be the one Saara performs in Lisbon in May.
Saara Aalto revealed her potential entries one by one throughout the month of February. Up first was the upbeat and empowering “Monsters”. Then came the ballad “Domino” which showcases Saara’s vocal range. The last entry was “Queens”, which showed off Saara’s versatility and personality. With three very different songs on offer, Finland has a tough decision to make.
This week, the Wiwi Jury sat down to review all three songs. There were a wide variety of opinions but the Wiwi Jury had a clear favourite. “Monsters” was the standout performer.
Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2018 reviews and rankings
1. Saara Aalto — “Monsters” (8.96)
The best: I am absolutely serious — my wig was snatched at 00:05 of the song! ”Monsters” for me it is like a hymn. They should play it in every school in Finland. Perfectly produced, every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m becoming stronger and stronger. I love when a song makes me feel like this because it’s so motivating. I can easily imagine what the staging could be if they choose ”Monsters”, and of course this can absolutely win the whole thing and bring us back to Finland after 11 years. Saara, keep slaying, honey — you are an amazing vocalist! (Cinan, 10/10)
The worst: “Monsters” is the only option for Finland. While it’s nothing new, Saara handles this song perfectly, and she elevates what otherwise would be a slightly dated entry. The good thing about “Monsters” is that, apart from being a bop, it’s cross-generational. There are reminiscences of this decade and the three previous ones, so it makes it really accessible to everyone. The Finns shouldn’t have trouble qualifying with this one. (Luis, 7.5/10)
2. Saara Aalto — “Domino” (7.36)
The best: Love ballads aren’t always good news at Eurovision, but “Domino” works. It creates a sweet, loved-up feeling and Saara seems to tap into genuine emotions (awww…). The weakest part of the song is the chorus lyrics, with evocations of Miley Cyrus’ wrecking ball and the tired stutter style of “domino, domino”. But Saara elevates the song above those lyrical cliches. This isn’t my favourite to go to Lisbon, but if it did, it wouldn’t be a bad choice. (Robyn, 8/10)
The worst: There’s nothing to dislike about “Domino” — Saara and Thomas G:son have gone right for a classic mid-tempo pop song structure, and Saara’s powerful voice only lifts the track. Having heard such similar songs at Eurovision before, though, I’m doubtful whether even the gold glitter or woman-on-woman affection in the music video could make this memorable among 25 other songs. Nobody remembers a “safe” entry — go big or go home! (Raphael, 6/10)
3. Saara Aalto — “Queens” (7.29)
The best: “Queens” has a very similar message to “Monsters” without quite packing the same punch. This is still an incredible song and any other national final would be lucky to have “Queens” in the mix. It has the same anthemic potential of “Monsters” with a slightly less gripping hook. My biggest criticism of “Queens” is that it does get a bit repetitive but when a song is this good, that’s not a bad thing. It might not have the big impact of “Monsters” but “Queens” matches Saara’s personality best of the three songs. If Saara’s forming a nation, get me a passport. (Antranig, 9/10)
The worst: “Queens” is the biggest letdown from a project with zero originality. The verses build up a tension that just collapses like a house of cards in the chorus. It’ll probably have a memorable staging though – and I can see this a dark horse in the UMK final. But still, Finland deserves better than this. (Barnabas, 4.5/10)
Which song do you think will win UMK tonight? How will Saara fare at Eurovision? Let us know in the comments below.