Monday, December 30, 2013

UMK 2014: JURY PERFORMANCES - PART 1

A few days ago the second UMK 2014 program aired. The judges saw the first six artists for the first time on stage in studio performing their demos. They gave comments and suggestions how to improve the act, what was good and what was not. You can watch this show online here. Here's a round up what was said and this blogger's views as well.

JASMIN MICHAELA - KERTAKÄYTTÖSYDÄN
Jasmin thinks her song stands out for its rhythm, way of singing and her sensual, smiley and energetic performing. She's got a clear vision what she wants to do and look but all advice from the professionals is more than welcome! And what did they think?
Aija: Awesome song! I really like it, the chorus is a killer. You look stunning and interesting, and most of all fitting to the song.
Toni: I really like your choreography - little movements, old fashion hidden sexuality in your hips and such. A great contrast to these silicon babes in hotpants these days! This is much more interesting! Somehow those hand movements made me think of 1960's air stewardess.... could you do this in airline uniforms? Maybe you could add a crazy drummer on stage as icing on the cake? But all in all, great stuff, I like it.
Tomi: I totally agree! 1960's stewardess, great idea!
Redrama: I have liked this song since the beginning and now I'm even more convinced after seeing you and the girls live. And I also think the air stewardess uniforms wouldn't be bad at all....
Tomi: The song is really good. As an added bonus is the beat in chorus, it really sucks you in. This is a great fusion of 1960's groups way of singing and today's EDM style. I have a feeling you will go far in this contest, and I hope the Finnish voting people will also love you.... but I have no doubts about that!
Ilkar: I must say I agree with the judges fully. I didn't think much of this song based on the short preview but seeing and hearing it fully on stage it's great. And the one that got into my head so it must be an earworm as well...
CLARISSA feat. JOSH STANDING  - TOP OF THE WORLD
Clarissa thinks the best of her song is the feeling and the beat, telling about the good mood you get from a once in a life time experience. For her once in a lifetime experience would be Eurovision, and winning it!
Toni: It was energetic and even sporty at times. This sounds very ready, what it lacks is the human element. You have to tighten the choreography and train the singing. 
Aija: Your voices blend together nicely. You have to better your singing, maybe you should think of taking backing singers as you dance so much and it effects your voices. 
Redrama: You should practise the phrasing more, the tempo. Try practising the lyrics as a ballad, without backing track and dancing so that you really get the lyrics and singing done. Then it comes with the backing track, too. But good vibrations overall, but also a lot of work to be done still.
Tomi: Something must be done still. Add a layer or something so that the number of times you can listen the song without getting bored increases, something extra. It has a lot of good elements, but not enough as it is now. And more practise!
Afterwards the judges wondered how come one of the favorites on tape fell flat on stage, and Josh wasn't just a featured sidekick but almost stole the show from Clarissa.... they need to push the panic button!
Ilkar: Again I agree. The big fan favorite as it is, it didn't impress. I think this is a bit of a 13 in a dozen, there might be similar acts in Copenhagen and if Clarissa and Josh don't get this really tight and boombastic it won't impress there either (if it wins here after all). It's a shame as the song itself isn't bad and both Clarissa and Josh are worthy singers and performers - something is just missing. As it is now.
MADCRAFT - SHINING BRIGHT
When we heard we got into UMK top-12 we were like "Ok, finally someone got us!" We think we are good, and now someone else had finally noticed it, too. This song fits here nicely as it is catchy, has great drum work. In Denmark people are still humming our song when the next one is on.... so they said before their performance.
Redrama: I think every artist, no matter what genre, whenever he goes on stage he should perform like it was his last time. And you did it. You were great live! And that post chorus "Oh oh oh" works. Plus your drummer is amazing!
Toni: I'm not going to start nagging about the singing or whatever. You are a real band. This is rock'n roll. And what's best: that a guy comes on TV with his zipper open! Fuck yeah!
Aija: Everyone should go and see bands like you live. That's where it trasmits the message the best. 
Tomi: You have nice details on stage, like the mics going downwards and not upwards like usually. It gives a nice contrast. 
Ilkar: Well, I'm not so enthuastic as the judges. The song isn't exactly my cup of tea but the guys are in some weird way very likable and adorable....
HANNA SKY - HOPE
Hanna said she will charm the judges with a killer song, a lot of feeling and organic etheric performance.... She won't take bad negative comments. she's a worker and ready to take hint and improve and listen advice.
Aija: I think this song has a lot of elements I have liked since the beginning, but... it's a bit slow. I would gear up the tempo a bit. I love retro but i hate Eurovision retro, I hate backing singers doing some weird movement with their hands. If you use your hands, you must also use your hips! But I loved your vocals, that high F2... make it even longer, people love this kind of stuff!
Toni: The lyrics are  a bit Eurovision cliché, but they fit the melody, you sing them well. But they little bit bring down the song. You could do better.
Tomi: Like it has been said the song has a lot of good elements. It has a hint of Bollywood, you could also bring it out visually even more. You look like half ready now.
Redrama: I give you credit for the choreography - because it sucked big time! But you had it, it means you have thought about the performance, your matching outfits... But I liked you, you were even more r'n'b than on record.
Ilkar: Such a shame she had borrowed Jasmine's top as it did take away my attention. And once I got over that I started wondering about the choir's movements and hand waves... very distracting. Shame as the song is rather interesting and even if you can hear clearly this is just a demo it has elements to become something very strong and interesting.... It can only improve in the next round!
LAURI MIKKOLA - GOING DOWN
Lauri told the best feedback so far has been from fellow musicians who think he's got a great song that has possibilities also abroad. He says he tries to perform as honest as possible, think about his stage presense and give it all...
Redrama: Really professional. You sing amazing.
Aija: I admire your way of phrasing, fantastic.  If I can ask for something... something in the arrangement that would break it towards the end, something extra.
Tomi: It was all right from the text book of songwriting. Even if the arrangement left a lot of space to the vocalist somehow I hoped you would have taken even more charge.
Toni: I would throw the ball to the guitarist: you could vary your sounds towards the end... Go home and listen to Peter Gabriel's So album. There are a lot of good examples to give you ideas how to do a lot with a little. This is a great song, but it's not ready yet....
Tomi: I have found it always challenging to like the combination of suit and tennis shoes. It can be ok, but then you have to choose them carefully. Look at Justin Timberlake, he always has a new pair, never used dirty ones like you now.... For the live shows, buy new ones!
Ilkar: I love the atmosphere of this song and Lauri has fantastic voice. The song though needs a little something to work on Eurovision stage, a hook that makes it more memorable. 
Afterwards Lauri admits himself the song isn't ready yet and lacks something. What it is he doesn't know yet but hopefully it will be found before the live shows...
MAKEA - PAINOVOIMA
This is their very first song as a band and it got to top-12 of UMK 2014. No wonder MAKEA is pretty happy and proud and full of confidence for the future.
Tomi: Awesome! I must honestly say that at first I was rather taken aback with this. All different elements that you mix in one song, it was rather scary combination! But somehow you make it work. Amazing. This can bring death alive again.
Redrama: One can see you are professionals, you have been playing a lot but still you managed to bring on stage real joy and enjoyment of performing. Amazing rap, too. Really tight. Perfect timing and pronunciation. Really talented.
Toni: When I heard this for the first time I was like "oh dear, another female singer singing pretty and nice" but then when the rapper came out of nowhere it was like a fist in the face. I loved it. I also loved the guitar solo, no excuses. It had nothing to do with the song but it was shameless. Ok, now burn those blazers and never wear them again...
Aija: Kadi, your vocals were great, good to hear you bring it even further live making it grow and grow with each passege. This has many surprises; after your lyrical and pretty chorus comes that in your face rap, and then that guitar solo. Someone might think it's tasteless but in this mix it's cool.
Tomi: I can only say I'm positively surprised. You gave a good feeling. Great!
Ilkar: This took me by surprise. Kadi sings great and that bit is so catchy! I even tolerate the rapper and it all comes together very well. Considering how popular Finnish rap is in Finland right now... Hmm. Definately a contender.








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