Earlier this month, Finnish broadcaster Yle announced the seven artists competing in UMK 2021. Throughout January, the acts — that’s Aksel, Blind Channel, Danny, Ilta, Laura, Oskr and Teflon Brothers x Pandora — released their tracks one by one. Now, it’s time to weigh up the competition.
In a new video on the UMK YouTube channel, we see the seven Eurovision hopefuls reacting to their competitors’ songs. You can hear and read some of their thoughts below.
UMK 2021: Artists react to each others’ songs
Oskr – “Lie”
Positive words all around for Oskr’s powerful yet intimate pop track “Lie”. Ilta suggests that he is her strongest competition. Could Oskr be a contender for the crown?
Aksel: The lyrics are really good.
Blind Channel: Touching. Makes a grown man cry!
Danny: It’s a bit like last year’s winner.
Ilta: If he’s a really good looking, charismatic guy… I have competition!
Teflon Brothers: Oh my god. So good. Can we come back next year?
Laura: It has a really nice positive vibe. Makes you want to smile.
Teflon Brothers x Pandora – “I Love You”
The UMK artists show great enthusiasm for Teflon Brothers x Pandora’s dance track “I Love You”. Ilta has one word – “confusing” – as she spends the rest of her time throwing shapes. Although, Danny says it reminds him of Finnish duo CatCat’s 1994 Eurovision entry “Bye Bye Baby” — which placed 22nd with just 11 points.
Aksel: It’s like a neo ’90s song. Really strong Gunther vibes.
Blind Channel: Why don’t we have synthesisers like this?!
Danny: It reminds me of CatCat.
Laura: It’s a totally happy song. Friday night. Wow, her voice is really nice.
Oskr: It works. Five out of five.
Danny – “Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua”
The stars immediately recognise Danny’s legendary vocals on his track “Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua“. Danny’s participation at UMK 2021 marks the eighth time he’s tried to represent Finland at Eurovision. Could this finally be his year?
Aksel: A funeral song, in a good way.
Blind Channel: Is it Danny? Yes, it’s Danny! Danny goes Coldplay.
Ilta: It’s the kind of voice you want to delve into. What a lovely song!
Laura: I get the goosebumps. This voice is full of knowledge.
Oskr: I lose myself in listening to what he says.
Teflon Brothers: It sounds like Johnny Cash, American recordings.
Laura – “Play”
A change of pace with Laura’s country-influenced pop track “Play”. The Estonian Eurovision star has twice represented her home country, first in 2004 and again in 2017. Could she be going to Rotterdam for Finland this year?
Aksel: The pronunciation is fun, very odd for a Finn.
Blind Channel: It reminds me of Anastacia.
Danny: A catchy rhythm and good singing.
Ilta: You can create good choreography to this.
Oskr: Guitar and singing always works.
Teflon Brothers: This is horse riding music.
Aksel – “Hurt”
Next up is Aksel with “Hurt“. The acts are mesmerised by the returning champion’s vocals, though one competitor said it lacked energy. Could Aksel make it two in a row?
Blind Channel: It’s from a Hobbit movie, with those guys who look like you (gestures to bandmate).
Danny: This one doesn’t make you go wild either. But again, it’s produced and sung well.
Ilta: What a good voice. Everyone is so good these days.
Laura: Wow, what a voice. Took my breath away, like his singing.
Oskr: Aw, what a melody.
Blind Channel – “Dark Side”
Blind Channel’s “Dark Side” — the current favourite to win — hooks the listeners with its unique “violent pop” sound. A return to the familiar Finnish hard rock sound of the late 2000s could be on the table.
Aksel: I can see pyrotechnics and black leather robes on stage.
Danny: Dedicated singing and interpretation, a good chorus.
Ilta: The production is awesome. Sick.
Laura: Wow, I think this song is full of surprises.
Oskr: It works for me as a 21st-century teenager.
Teflon Brothers: It’s nice to have some angst.
Ilta – “Kelle mä soitan”
Last but not least is Ilta’s “Kelle mä soitan“, which the acts liken to a song from a Disney movie. Could the UMK newcomer take the crown?
Aksel: Rasp. I like the voice breaking a bit.
Blind Channel: Ilta is the next Anna Eriksson!
Danny: The artist focuses on the lyrics in a great way.
Laura: Reminds me of the times my grandmother used to read me the fairytale books. Takes me back to those days.
Oskr: I’m absorbed in the lyrics.
The grand final of UMK 2021 will take place on Saturday 20 February. The winner will be chosen by a mixture of public and jury votes. Rather than the usual 50/50 split, the public holds 75% of the power. The winning act will go on to represent Finland at Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam, where they will compete in the second semi-final.
What do you think? Which UMK act is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.