Saturday, January 11, 2014

LIVE TONIGHT: UMK 2014 - THE FIRST ELIMINATION

Peacock Theater in Helsinki's Linnanmäki amusement park hosts tonight at 8pm the first elimination round of UMK 2014. Six acts will perform for the first time their revamped versions infront of the judges and the live audience in the theater and the TV-audience. Combined televote-jury vote will send one act directly to the final, the last one has to say goodbye to the contest while the other four will go on to the semifinal where they still have a chance to get the ticket to the final.
Watch it live here. The UMK+ starts online already 7.30pm. Join me for a live report as it happens!

20.30 The UMK+ has started from the backstage and the web presenters are talking some random stuff...Next they interview Tomi Saarinen. First live so everyone's a bit excited, of course! He tells a bit how the selection process was from those over 420 demos to these 12 selected ones among all those different genres and styles, most of all there was pop, he said. And can we send a song in Finnish? But of course! He says at this point the judges are looking for the best song, and think about Eurovision only in the final, what would be the most suitable there. He is looking forward for Jasmine Michaela, as he thinks she didn't yet give all she can deliver... Then with some other radio people they talk again about the Finnish language and once again last year's Kedvesem is brought in as an example one can do well also without English. And after three years in a row a Finnish-Swede won't win again... We'll see about that! And smoothly we move to Dennis, a Finnish-Swede.... and Hukka ja Mama, those maybe having the Kedvesem-effect... They admit they have discussed the language change in case they win. Maybe. Could be. English. Or Spanish. Or something. Next we have Jasmine with her girls... a bit like Krista and Ding dong girls last year really....  Then MIAU. They admit being excited but in a good way! They're gonna be explosive and have dancing boys on stage? Softengine is congratulated for their recording deal. As soon as this UMK is over they go to studio and start recording their debut album. Next Lili who's got dance grooves for us tonight.... she's got her sister on stage, too! Next we talk about fashion. Some blame Tommi Kilponen for over styling the artists while a fashion blogger Outi Les Pyy defens him "This is Eurovision! You cannot over style!" and she wished the artists would have even stronger looks! Ok, it's time to start the real show!

21.00 Here we go. Anne and Ile welcome people, both casually dressed. The voting will be 50-50 jury-televote. Toni Wirtanen, Aija Puurtinen, Tomi Saarinen and Redrama are the judges as we already know. The #umk14 is already trending in Finland and it's only the start..... The voting lines were opened already Monday but as always the most votes are casted tonight during the live show.

MIAU - God/Drug
The girls are very colorful and have also two dancers with wild neonhair on stage. Unfortunately vocally weaker than in the first show lacking a bit of an oomph. For this blogger a minor disappointment as I kinda started liking them. But who knows? Toni thanked for them being colorful but that's all he said really, was he a bit disappointed as well? Aija also liked their style and dancers but said nothing about the song. Tomi thought it was a great opening number for the show. We alreeady know Redrama is not their biggest fan, but has learned to like their visual part at least... Hmm, I would say there were not very impressed, or then they will comment very neutrally tonight... We will see...
Dennis Fagerström - My little honey bee
Elegant black and white suit for Dennis and white and grey for his backing group giving it a real Michael Bublé touch. He sings well, moves more than before. Nice. But nice isn't enough in my books. Aija thinks he's charming and has a great voice. And that he has taken the jury's advice well. Tomi simply liked. Redrama also thinks it was good and he thinks he is one with the song and the style, but he's not ready yet, must improve. Toni thinks it's a perfect pop song, 1990's boyband music and it's not his cup of tea... 
Lili Lambert - Let me take you there 
Lili has brought two dancing ladies with her and it gives the act a kind of Bryan Ferry feeling with the musicians all doing a choreoghies. Also the look is much more diva-esque than in the first performance. But is it strong enough? Tomi thinks she has listened their advice but it wasn't quite yet there. Redrama also thinks they have worked hard but something was missing, vocally she's good but she must be more the star and not mix into the backing group. Toni says she's a good singer no doubt, but he doesn't think the song is very good and she lacks the diva effect still. Aija says Lili is the only one tonight with the Afro-American musical heritage. She said between the lines the backing group sucked....
Hukka ja Mama - Selja
This is propably going to be a huge domestic hit but how far it will go here? Fans mostly hate this, others like it. I like it, lovely lyrics and they are somehow very likable. If the song is suitable for Eurovision is completely another matter but we can think about it when we are in final...  Huge applause from the audience anyways! They had a sofa on stage and new look that firs them very very well! Redrama is a big fan of this song saying the song is magical. Creates emotions and feelings and he's very happy they decided to take part in UMK. Also Toni thanks for them for taking part and congratulates them for the record deal they got this week, too! He says their chemistry is visible and he can't wait for the album! Also aija thinks this is awesome and they look great. She's sold, too. Tomi got goose bumps and cold shivers. Enough said. Perfection.
Softengine - Something better
One of the big favorites delivers. Looking smart, sounding good. Not exactly my cup pf tea but this is good in its genre. Not sure about the screaming end, but some like that, I know. Toni thinks the song is great and even if the guys are so young they have it all set. And he likes the fact they are multi instrumentalists on stage. Aija likes the song, dramatic arrangement and he has a very mature and talented emotional singer. Tomi continues with the praise.... Clearly the other jury favorite. Redrama also says wonderful things about the singer and indeed I have to agree. He is good. And then he congratulates them for the record deal....
Jasmin Michaela - Kertakäyttösydän
Jasmin and her backing girls are again in black and gold but with added two dancers and choreography. The song is good, catchy, groovy and with a nice foreign flavor and her voice fits it nicely. One of this bloggers favorites. The judges loved it the first round, let's see what they think of it now... Aija thinks she has a special voice and fits the song very well. She thinks it was better than before. Tomi also thinks she did it all right! Redrama thinks this was in many ways the best show on stage tonight, he thinks it shows she enjoys what she's doing and self secure in a right way. Toni thinks that by the show aspects this was the best one by far. But he liked the demo version better (so did I btw) but he thinks Finns will like this one anyways...
21.53 It's time to have a break and TV-News but UMK+ continues on line. ... 
#UMK14 has had so far almost 3500 tweets and apparently Hukka ja Mama, Softengine and Jasmin Michaela also got the loudest applause in the theater.... Last year's Bieber-heavy Arion will also perform in the result's show.
22.10 Time for the jury votes! They can give from 1 to 10 points as they want. Toni Wirtanen gave Hukka ja Mama 10, Softengine 8, Jasmine 7, MIAU 6 , Dennis 4 and Lili 3. Aija gave  Softengine 10, Hukka ja Mama 9, Jasmine 8, MIAU 7, Lili 6 and Dennis 5. Tomi gave Lili 3, Dennis 5, MIAU 6, Jasmine 7, Hukka ja Mama 8 and Softengine 9. And finally Redrama... 
So the jury result is: Softengine 36, Hukka ja Mama 35,  Jasmine Michaela 29, MIAU 23, Dennis Fagerström 19 and Lili Lambert 18. But the televote is still going on.....
22.25 The televoting is finished. Time for Arion and their new single Seven off their worthcoming debut album.  
And time for results. Hukka ja Mama are in, so is... Softengine. And they won and are directly in the final! Jasmin Michaela. MIAU. And finally.... Dennis Fagerström. That means Lili Lambert is out. No surprise I must say, that was what I was thinking will happen....

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