Finland: UMK Jury Members Announced

Finland – The four jurors who will help to decide the Finnish winner of this year’s UMK national contest have today been announced. They are Tomi Saarinen who is Head Of Music at Finnish radio channel YleX, Toni Wirtanen from rock band Apulanta, rap artist Redrama, and Aija Puurtinen, a Finnish singer, bassist and music teacher. Read more about them here…
Tomi Saarinen is currently the Head Of Music at YLE X (Finnish Broadcasting Company) & its Executive Producer. Formerly a DJ, he has also featured being interviewed on the DVD of HIM, one of Finland’s biggest bands, speaking about one of his country’s biggest musical exports. His radio station plays mainly rock and alternative music in Finland.

Toni Wirtanen is the lead singer of one of Finland’s most successful rock bands Apulanta. Formed in 1991, they hit the big time in 1996 with the song Mitä kuuluu followed by the single Anna mulle piiskaa. Since then, they have had many number one records and have produced 11 albums. Their song Teit meistä kauniin is one of the all-time biggest-selling singles in Finland. The band have established and now run their own independent record label. Their success out of Finland has probably been limited by the fact they choose to sing in their native language of Finnish. Check out one of their biggest hits:

Redrama (real name Lasse Melberg) is a rapper. He is a Swedish-Finn but raps in English and found fame originally as part of  a hip-hop group called Alien Allies. Redrama won the English-language Finnish championship of rapping in 2001 and he also won the Finnish Grammy (Emma) award for The Best Hiphop Album in 2005. He has released 3 albums and 13 singles. His videos are on regular rotation on the Finnish national music channel The Voice. Here’s one:

Aija Puurtinen is a Finnish musician, who has become known as Honey B and the T-Bones. She plays bass as well as sings, and is married to the band’s guitarist. She has also composed music for the Zagros Ensemble, after graduating with a Masters Degree  and a PhD in Music from the internationally acclaimed Sibelius Academy where she went on to lecture at.

With Tomi Saarinen’s and Toni Wirtanen’s rock music credentials, and a rapper involved too, will the jurors perhaps be looking for a more rock or alternative act from Finland this year after two years of failure with safe ballads? It’s certainly a jury of very well known and well respected individuals who have a wealth of experience in the music industry.

12 finalists have already been chosen by YLEX. they will be presented on December 3rd and the first heat will take place on December 27th. The final will take place on February 9th 2013.

72 comments on “Finland: UMK Jury Members Announced

  1. I love Apulanta, they’re a great band. And YleX is one of my fave radio stations. I really hope they go for something a bit rockier this year from Finland. I fell asleep the last two years with Pernilla and Paradise Oskar.

  2. I can’t wait for the 12, I usually adore the Finnish NF in general, and the music quality most of all. I’d love to go back to rock (Lovex is the BoNF 2007 winner) but anything good gets my vote!

  3. OK, so the jury consists of two “rockers”. I hope they won’t ditch the one thing Finland do best then. I liked Pernilla’s song, but I’d rather not have another ballad to win in a NF they were supposed to “modernize” and make more “cool”.

  4. Good luck, Finland! I am eagerly waiting for another song I can support like Pernilla’s last year. As things stand, Finland is only in 36th place on my countries list with an average score of 5.39. I am madly in love with two Finnish ESC songs though (1961 & 1965). I really like 1979, 1986 and 2012 too. The rest of the bunch is average at best, and the list of abysmal efforts is quite long: 1964, 1973, 1981, 1982, 1992 and 2006 … the year fake ruled supreme. :(

    • Marion Rung is too great a singer that even I tend to save “Tom Tom Tom”… anyway we won’t go back to that old Finland v. Cyprus thing, it’s that little twist that makes our esc communion so special after all…

  5. Jännittävä…

    Finland has manage to send a couple of great songs and a couple of awful songs. 1961, 1965, 1968, 1975, 1977, 1987, 1989 and 2012 are those I really like/love. 1981 and 1992 are the ones that deserve a place in the darkest corner of the bin in the bottom of Hell.

    • “a place in the darkest corner of the bin in the bottom of Hell.”

      WOW, that’s even more melodramatic than humble me in my best moments. ;) :)

      But I wonder … do they have a bin in hell? I had always thought that they had to live their miserable existences without any amenities there. I only hope that they won’t get tabletop bins too in the future. That would equal taking things too far imho …

      • Me, melodramatic? Of course, I’ve always felt some strange connection to Victorian culture, after all. ;)

        Talking about bins in Hell, I remember the beginning of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”. There you are told that the Devil find everything pretty that’s ugly and the other way around. So perhaps it serves as some sort of ornament for the Devil. A music box, perhaps. I’m sure the inhabitants of Hell are having a disco party with “Yamma yamma”.

        • ” I’m sure the inhabitants of Hell are having a disco party with “Yamma yamma”.”

          Pave featuring Tereza Kerndlová??? That would be the perfect soundtrack for hell. Just imaging Pave and Tereza (indecently dressed ofc …) popping out of a tabletop bin and starting to sing ‘Wolves of the Sea’ …

          Oh, you love Victorian culture too?

          “Out flew the web and floated wide-
          The mirror crack’d from side to side;
          “The curse is come upon me,” cried

          The Lady of Shalott.”

          I know that it is a bit trite … but those lines are among the best ever written imho. What can I do?

          • O, how nightmarish pictures painted by thee!

            Something completely different than Alfred Tennyson, that experience. He truly is wonderful. “Ring out, wild bells” is always read in Sweden each New Year’s Eve.

            Btw, do you and Morgan need a second for your little duel in Bois de Bologne tomorrow? Or perhaps someone who can arrange a ceremony for the winner in Café Le Procope for example?

            • Or a funeral ceremony at Père Lachaise??? ;)

              Good night everyone!

              T. (I had to restart my notebook and am too tired to log in again …)

  6. UMK was the second best national final of 2012, second only to the always brilliant Eesti Laul. Here’s hoping they can produce an equally great competition for 2013! :D

  7. I am looking forward to listening to the Finnish hopefuls. Good luck!

    P.S.: I would like to see Saara Aalto and Marko (the tango king) trying again.

  8. Nobody watching Lithuania this week? I got the time wrong, so that’s my excuse.

    • Song 4 – Elvina Milkauskaitė – Closer

      Excluding the first three songs of today, which I sadly missed, this is the first song that I want to listen to more than a couple times. That being said, the composer’s ability with the English language (and her’s for not noticing it) leaves something to be desired (particularly when it comes to the use of prepositions). Her voice is good but the song is dates, despite my own wishes to listen to it again and again. The song also gets repetitive about half way through, partially because… it is.

    • Nope, I’m watching! I think we’re the only two though haha ;)

    • Song 5 – Sophie – Make it happen

      I think this might be my favorite song in the Lithuanian final yet. I’m not sure how to describe the song actually. It was a dramatic ballad with pop elements, but the refrain was sung in a style that punctuated every word. It made for an interesting effect. While there was nothing terribly wrong with the lyrics, some of the word choices could have probably been substituted with a better word.

  9. Song 6 – Neringa Šiaudikytė – Used to be

    At first, the song wasn’t that bad, but as it continued, it turned into a mild wreck. Neringa’s voice is weak, and it gave out about half-way through the song to completely fail. One of the worst vocal performances we’ve had yet. The song had points against it being in a genre that usually fails to impress me anyway, and then it got repetitive and failed in every way. Even her look didn’t impress (my god, that was an ugly dress).

  10. Song 7 – Berta Timinskaitė – Missing you, missing me

    Song and singer dissonance. Here’s the thing about this entry: both pieces were individually things that I usually like. Berta has a strong voice suited for belting out power ballads. The song was a cute poppy number suited for somebody with a sweet, slightly timid voice. These two together led to a song and a vocal performance that didn’t meld together at all.

  11. Song 8 – Božolė – Happy and Free

    That was so cheesy! This song was one of those anthemic songs about togetherness and happiness that makes it so that you can’t help but feel that you were just hit over the head with a giant brick made of sugar while being smacked in the face by the concept of happiness. I don’t even know what else to say about it.

  12. Ooh Bozole are creeping up in the televoting :O
    I hope they don’t steal away Sophie’s eight points…

      • Look at Eden though, they’ve got the highest televoting score of any act in the national final so far… over 1300 votes!!
        It will look bad if they don’t get through to the semi-finals now

          • The present jury members didn’t like them. I know they are just a sample of a much larger jury, but their opinions have so far been indicative of the final jury results. I highly doubt Eden will get above an eight from the jury, and that puts them on the borderline. Neringa and Elvina are almost certainly through, it’s just between Bozole (who the jury really liked and televoting gave 7) and Eden (who the jury didn’t like and the televoting loved).

            I hope Eden get through for the sake of a little variety in what is turning into a massive cheesefest of a competition with not much musical substance.

            • I hope Eden gets through because the clip from the recap sounded better than that cheese that would otherwise make it.

            • I mean look at the entries that have progressed to the semi-finals so far. With the possible exception of Andrius Pojavis and Beissoul, all of them have been either joke entries or overwhelmingly saccharine songs about “love” and “happiness”. There have been a number of pretty decent entries in this competition so far, but none of them have been given the credit they deserve when it comes to the results.

            • I’ve only really liked five entries so far (exempting the first three performed tonight from judgement), and so far only one of them is (possibly) in the finals:

              -Vudis & Samanta Tina – ‘Hey Chiki – Mama’
              -Valerija Iljinaite – ‘Taip noriu vėl’
              -Giedrė Smolskaitė – ‘Stay Awake Tonight’
              -Elvina Milkauskaitė – ‘Closer’
              -Sophie – ‘Make it Happen’

            • Yup, I’ll agree with you there, except I’d replace Elvina with Andrius Pojavis.

            • Never mind, the first three performances are already on Youtube. I’m not sure yet if I liked Eden’s performance or if I just appreciated it because it wasn’t a saccharine song about “love” and “happiness.” Eglė Jakštytė provides an interesting case in creating this thing that I don’t understand: of the two dance-y songs that were presented in this heat, Eglė clearly had the better song and performance, but it was Neringa that people voted for and Neringa that got praise from the jury. I’m not a big fan of either, but I would sooner accept Eglė than Neringa’s trash. Multiks was likeable enough, but it didn’t particularly stand out.

              Also, I think the jury is picking their songs based on this pre-conceived idea of this formula that makes a song successful in Eurovision. Was Rona’s success and Slovenia’s failure last year not enough for people to understand that there is NO song that is guaranteed to achieve success in Eurovision?

            • Oh good, I’ll go over to You Tube then for a second viewing! Yeah, I’m not really sure either whether I liked it or just appreciated the change of mood. Eglė Jakštytė seems to be rather unpopular with the voting public compared to Neringa, despite both of them presenting very similar identikit euro-trash performances. I thought Multiks performance was very weak, the song was repetitive and his voice, whilst not particularly out of key, sounded unpleasant to me.

              YES. I agree with you 100% there. I suppose a typical MOR “Eurovision” song is less likely to fail spectacularly, although there have been instances (As you said, Slovenia 2012) but I wish countries would take more risks with their entries and bring the contest forward to the present.

            • I’m going to go ahead and say that I do like Eden, but I reserve the right to recant on that if I change my mind later.

            • By the way, do you think it’s odd that the jury have absolutely loved every entry by Raigardo Tautkaus? In the last heat, his songs got 8, 10 and 12 points from the jury, and tonight they raved about both the songs he wrote for Elvina & Neringa.

  13. Oh, Sophie’s on six points now…
    She’s definitely out of the competition then :(
    Such a shame

  14. Marc,

    I hadn’t even noticed that trend. That is definitely fishy, but at the same time, televote has rewarded four of those five songs with a place in the final, so I hesitate to argue that it’s corruption.

    • I’m not suggesting that there is fully-fledged corruption, I’m just saying that within the jury at least there are appears to be a degree of bias towards the songs he has written.

      • There could easily be a small degree of bias towards his songs, but like I said, the public has only disagreed once, so I’m hesitant to say even that.

        • Yeah, I suppose you’re right. I guess I was just looking for a scapegoat :P

          • Yeah, it’d be nice to be able to blame corruption or bias when every good song is being left behind. What a change from last year, when Lithuania had one of the top national finals.

            • In terms of musical quality this year hasn’t been too bad, but the results have ruined it so far.

            • I’m inclined to disagree. Currently, I only have the six songs that score higher than 5/10:
              1. Sophie – 9/12
              2. Valerija Iljinaite – 7/12
              3. Vudis & Samanta Tina – 7/12
              4. Elvina Milkauskaitė – 6/12
              5. Eden – 6/12
              6. Giedrė Smolskaitė – 6/12

              Frankly, the second heat could have disappeared for its lack of anything memorable or interesting, and the first heat wasn’t much better. This selection can still be saved if the remaining two heats are as good as this third one though.

            • I personally have 7 songs that scored above average.
              1. Valerija Iljinaitė – 8/10
              2. Giedrė Smolskaitė – 7/10
              3. Sophie – 7/10
              4. Vudis & Samanta Tina – 7/10
              5. Andrius Pojavis – 6/10
              6. Eden – 6/10
              7. Beissoul & Gabrielė Griciūtė – 6/10

              I guess the whole selection so far has been a little lackluster, hopefully they have saved the stronger entries for the last two heats – I can’t wait to see what Gerai Gerai & Miss Sheep come up with, although under these conservative jury voting patterns they stand almost no chance of making the final :/

            • As for my ranking of the six known finalists (I’ll put my ranking of the three that I suspect we’ll see in the final in parentheses):

              (Elvina Milkauskaitė – 6/12)
              (Eden – 6/12)
              1. Beissoul & Gabrielė Griciūtė – 5/12
              2. Ieva Zasimauskaitė & Gabrielius Vagelis – 5/12
              3. Gabrielius Vagelis – 5/12
              4. Andrius Pojavis – 3/12
              5. Saulės Broliai – 3/12
              (Berta Timinskaitė – 2/12)
              6. Timohi – 1/12

            • Berta Timinskaitė? I think she’s pretty much ruled out after coming last in the televote…

              Anyway, my ranking of the six (or nine) finalists is:

              1. Andrius Pojavis – 6/12
              (Eden – 6/12)
              2. Beissoul & Gabrielė Griciūtė – 5/12
              3. Gabrielius Vagelis – 5/12
              4. Saulės Broliai – 5/12
              (Elvina Milkauskaitė – 4/12)
              (Neringa Šiaudikytė – 4/12)
              5. Ieva Zasimauskaitė & Gabrielius Vagelis – 4/12
              6. Timohi – 3/12

              This is completely subjective however, I know that Andrius Pojavis is in no way the best remaining contender for Eurovision, he is just the one that fits my musical taste the best :).

            • That shows how memorable Berta and Neringa were to me. I completely meant Neringa Šiaudikytė when I posted Berta’s name. xD

              Personally, I think that’s how you should do rankings. You should personally rank based on personal taste, and if you want to do an objective ranking that includes qualities you don’t care for but recognize as good (and that doesn’t include subjective factors that one includes).

            • *…you can
              Damn my inherent resistance to proofreading!

  15. For those that didn’t watch today or want to watch again:

    I think it was the strongest heat yet, which, admittedly, wasn’t a hard feat to accomplish.

  16. My (probably entirely inaccurate) prediction of the results

    1st – Neringa Šiaudikytė – 20
    2nd – Eden – 19
    3rd – Elvina Milkauskaitė – 18
    4th – Božolė – 17
    5th – Sophie – 10
    6th – Eglė Jakštytė – 10
    7th – Berta Timinskaitė – 9
    8th – Multiks – 7

  17. Gerai & Gerai & Miss Sheep’s song in the national final, coming up in one of the next two heats! Personally I don’t like it quite as much as “On The Radio”, but it is still pretty good.

  18. Thanks for the link, Patrick. :)

    I went though the songs in this show. There is a clear favourite here apparently and it is ‘Used to be’. I can see why: lively, glittering, many people moving on stage and an attractive singer who goes through the moves. However, the song loses steam after 40 seconds and it becomes vaguely boring (another instant pudding). This will be in the final, I guess. These are my two favourite songs: ‘Crazy’ (it sets a clear path, does not stray from it and he performs it rather well) and ‘Make it happen’ (elegant song, elegantly performed). Good luck!

    P.S. I: the Lithuanian language seems to be nonexistent.

    P.S. II: I hope Monika’s song does not disappoint me. I suppose she will perform next week.

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