Finland’s UMK 2020: Your Guide To The Final!

Ooooof, when is this happening? Saturday night. Krista Siegfrids is hosting, no doubt with some fabulous opening and interval numbers already being rehearsed for, and you’ll be able to watch it via YLE’s UMK website.
How many songs? Six. And we have to say, it is by far and away the strongest national final line-up in Finland since we started following UMK in 2008. We have a terrific selection of tunes to pick from; diverse, but all top-notch.
And so who do we pick? Well, this one’s actually quite easy, despite our previous sentence. There is only one clear choice. One song that stands head and shoulders above the rest, offers something extra special, and, if chosen, would represent something important on the Eurovision stage. And for once, we aren’t just speaking from personal taste. This song is miles ahead in streaming, both on Spotify and YouTube – if the contest were down to streaming figures, there would be no contest. This song has actually managed to achieve the unprecedented feat of becoming a hit in its own country, a whole month before the contest has even taken place. It’s gotten into the Top 5 of Finland’s Spotify chart and has taken up residency in the upper reaches of said chart, bouncing in and out of the Top 10 every few days. This song pays homage to the past; both to an iconic figure of yesteryear, and to an all-too forgotten musical genre. Yet this song also looks to a better future; one in which women aren’t condemned for their sexuality, and which pure, unashamed pop music can grace the Top 5 of a Nordic streaming chart. This song – this figure – is ‘Cicciolina’. And our hero on Saturday night, whatever the result, is Erika Vikman.
So – you’re still undecided then? Stop.
Can we at least have a run-down of who else is competing? Of course! Like we said, it’s a cracking great line-up. And if you’ve yet to dive in, you’re missing out.

Here are the six songs in the order that they’ll be performing in;

Catharina Zühlke – Eternity
What do the streaming stats say? 139k
What do the bookies say? It has a 12% chance of winning.
What does Scandipop say? A solemn ballad that turns into an utterly fucking NUTS dancepop number that even Saara Aalto would raise an eyebrow to for being ‘a bit much’. Nevertheless, Zühlke is an incredible vocalist, and sells the song with all of the passion and dedication that the aforementioned Ms Aalto would. Still though, if Finland are gonna go for something silly – there’s a much better option…

Erika Vikman – Cicciolina
What do the streaming stats say? 1.5 million streams has her in QUITE the lead. Even if you were to add up all the streams of the other songs, that doesn’t amount to half of what ‘Cicciolina’ has.
What do the bookies say? It has a 50% chance of winning.
What does Scandipop say? What more can be said than what’s been said about this song above? We have full faith in the Finnish public to vote for this song in their tens of thousands, and grant it the win, choosing it to represent their great country at the Eurovision Song Contest in May. BUT it’s not just down to the Finnish public. There are eight international juries from all over Europe who will be casting their votes, as well. Juries of music industry ‘professionals’ who will have been briefed to choose the song that they believe would yield Finland its best result at Eurovision. And so despite the streaming stats, despite the bookies’ odds, this national final is actually wide open. And that’s what is going to make Saturday night so very exciting. We literally won’t be able to watch it all unfold, so unbearable is the thought of all that suspense. Well, and the fact that the Melodifestivalen final is on on the same night, and we’ve chosen to watch that instead.

Aksel Kankaanranta – Looking Back
What do the streaming stats say? 246k
What do the bookies say? It has an 18% chance of winning.
What does Scandipop say? Everyone knows that the female of the species make the best popstars. And as the solo, serious male in a line-up of otherwise female, mostly fun, pop songs, one would be forgiven for assuming that we would automatically be against this chap for fear of him gobbling up a lot of the vote solely on the basis that he’s offering something different to voters than our faves are (and we don’t just mean his gender). But, that we actually really like this song and can clearly see that it would be a great entry to Eurovision for Finland, speaks volumes in that you just really can’t fault it. In other words, Finland – vote ‘Cicciolina’. But if you must insist on this, well, ok fine, we suppose. But just don’t. Seriously.

F3M – Bananas
What do the streaming stats say? 101k
What do the bookies say? It has a 5% chance of winning.
What does Scandipop say? It pains us that this ten-out-of-ten absolute MAX track has ended up in the same year as ‘Cicciolina’, as in other other year, we would have been throwing all our weight behind it. ‘Bananas’ is one of our favourite songs of the year so far, and we hope that in the (quite likely) event that these lot don’t get selected on Saturday night, that it certainly won’t be the last we hear of them. More of this, please. Pop music needs more ‘Bananas’.

Sansa – Lover View
What do the streaming stats say? 137k
What do the bookies say? It has a 2% chance of winning.
What does Scandipop say? Another fab track that we would totally be getting behind were it not for the strength of some of the others. And massive kudos to YLE for nabbing a tune like this for its national selection, produced by none other than Anjunadeep’s own Yotto. A song that we had hoped would find a life of its own outside the contest, regardless of how it performs in it. But with those streaming numbers, it’s not looking likely unfortunately. This summer’s poolsides will be all the poorer without this one blaring out everywhere from Spain to Turkey.

Tika – I Let My Heart Break
What do the streaming stats say? 142k
What do the bookies say? It has a 13% chance of winning.
What does Scandipop say? A fairly nice ballad that might have just about cut it in any other year. But in UMK 2020, in this line-up, ‘fairly nice’ just won’t do.

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