Friday, January 31, 2014

#UMK 2014: MIKKO POHJOLA RULES THE SPOTIFY, AND UMK MAKES IT BIG ABROAD

UMK 2014 final takes place tomorrow and Ilta-Sanomat has gathered together the data from Spotify. It shows Mikko Pohjola is by far the most listened song song from UMK 2014 with over 30% of all listenings. Also his video on Youtube has been watched over 50.000 times already. He surely has a domestic hit in his hand, and who knows wins the whole thing?! He's also leading in my poll here on the right side where you can still vote... ->
Meanwhile YLE has noticed #UMK14 has become a success also abroad in social medias. Thousends of foreigners are following, tweeting, commenting, watching online. YLE wants to thank the artists themselves that who have been more active than ever in social medias. Martin Hart sums it up nicely in his tweet
In viewing figures on TV UMK is still struggling. The semifinal was the first show that made it to YLE2's weekly Top-20 at number 14 with 248.000 viewers or 44%.
But back to the Spotify. Softengine follows Mikko Pohjola but only half of the listeners followed closely by Hukka ja Mama. MadCraft and Hanna Sky who are very active in social medias aren't doing so well here and fan favorite Clarissa feat. Josh seem not to interest the general listening crowds....

Mikko Pohjola 30,1%
Softengine  15,1%
Hukka ja Mama  14,2%
Lauri Mikkola  10,1%
MadCraft  9,5%
Clarissa feat. Josh 8,8
MIAU  7,1
Hanna Sky  5,2

Thursday, January 30, 2014

#UMK14 - THE FINAL!

Here are the eight UMK 2014 finalist for your viewing and listening pleasure with voting instructions as well. It all started with performing the demo versions to the judges, then the remixed version to live audiences in the heats and semifinals. Some of them have also produced already videos for their entries, including Lili Lambert who didn't reach the final with her Let me take you there. What is remarkable this year is that Softengine, MIAU and Hukka ja Mama have all secured a recording deal before the final.
01. Softengine – Something Better: Jury live, live, video
02. Hanna Sky – Hope: Jury live, live,studio
03. MIAU – God/Drug: Jury live, live, video
04. Lauri Mikkola – Going Down: Jury live, live, studio 
Acoustic video
05. Madcraft – Shining Bright: Jury live, live, video
06. Mikko Pohjola – Sängyn Reunalla: Jury live, live, video
07. Clarissa feat. Josh Standing – Top Of The World: Jury live, live, video
08. Hukka ja Mama – Selja: Jury live, live, video

#UMK 2014: EUROVISA REVIEW AND FUN WITH PARADISE OSKAR, PERNILLA AND KRISTA SIEGFRIDS

The last three Finnish Eurovision singers have all been of the Swedish speaking minority; Paradise Oskar or Axel Ehnström, Pernilla Karlsson and Krista Siegfrids. They all gathered together for the first time to remember their experiences and give some advice for the future UMK 2014 winner in Svenska YLE's De Eurovisa. In the end they also had to do a funny quizz about questions of themselves in Eurovision, of course! And Eurovision songs, if you want to see Krista go crazy for Fångad av en stormvind, Satellite, Euphoria, Lipstick....watch the last minutes.... And what's her response to Ein bisschen Frieden? Check it out!
The Eurovisa panel has judged the Eurovision songs the past few years but they made a special and judged UMK 2014 songs instead with producer and song writer Patric Sarin focusing on hit potential, singer and Euroviisut veteran Susan Sonntag focusing on the artist's vocal capacities and song, and Eurovision specialist David Lindström focusing on the chances in Eurovision. And the result is:

Softengine  26
Mikko Pohjola  25
Hukka ja Mama  24
Hanna Sky  23
Clarissa feat. Josh  23
Madcraft  21
Lauri Mikkola  20
MIAU 19

You can watch the programme here (in Swedish of course). If not for anything else it has cool medleys of practically all the Finnish entries over the years, most of them from the national final footage. And what has the Swedish speaking 3some have been up to? Or rather the other two, we all know what Krista has been doing for a year now: Ding dong! Anyways, she's also writing and recording her second album and will be the guest star in UMK 2014 final with her Ding Dong Girls performing two songs and even more of More is more! Bigger! Too much is never enough! You have been warned....
Axel has been writing a lot of new songs. Pernilla is pretty much done with music, for now. She says she never wanted to be an artist really, the UMK just happaned and then the Eurovision and she just wasn't ready for it, or a musical career.
What do they remember, or would tell to their grand kids one day about their Eurovision experience? Axel says it depends how old the grandkids are, apparently he has something X-rated to tell (Wasn't there a romance in the air with some other singer?!) but he says he will never forget the moments before going on stage with all the other artists and their teams backstage, all in full panic and he started playing with his acoustic guitar the songs by other artists. Blue from UK were nearly sh**ing their pants apparently... And all he wanted to do was have some fun and relax.... The others didn't think so, it seems... Poor guy! Pernilla first of all ended up in Azerbaijan, after only visiting exotic places like Stockholm and Copenhagen. She remembers most a visit to Azeri TV's morning show that was... well, not so organized. They also had the latest equipment there but didn't know how to use them so it was like back to the 1970's. There was also a live orchestra that played everything, even the jingles. And while she was performing her song with her cellist they also joined in freestyle..... Krista? She says she's got so much to tell that if she starts to tell all to her grandchildren they won't even listen to her and go for "Shut up, granny!" option! She advices the new winner to have fun and enjoy it, do your own thing without thinking too much about the others, go and do promotion abroad if possible. It's hard work but it will pay off in the end! Pernilla also tells to enjoy the ride and if the winner is a female, bring her own make up and hair artists! Axel's advice is: Listen to all advice but do not act on them!

#ESC 2014: SWEDEN STARTS MELODIFESTIVALEN 2014

Sweden's national selection for Eurovision, Melodifestivalen, kicks off this Saturday from Malmö, last year's Eurovision venue. Last year's national runner up YOHIO will open the show in seek of a  revenge while Eurovision 2005 winner, Greek-Swede Helena Paparizou will end it in hope to get another go, it'd be her third after 3rd and 1st place in Eurovision - just like Carola! Carola ended 5th with her third go, and surely Helena wouldn't do any worse.... Both are the biggest favorites to make it to the final as well, but let's see how it goes. The Swedes often give us some surprises in the voting!
This is the night of short song titles, and one more Casanova is trying to make it, too... Oh, and the glass box of Azerbaijan's Farid is still left in the arena and Alvaro is using it, it seems! And there's going to be a lot of confetti in various colors. Nose rings! Dancers! Pyros! Burning hands! High heals! Ja, det är Mello! You can listen snippets here.
Yohio - To the end
Mahan Moin - Aleo
Linus Svenning - Bröder
Elisa Lindström - Casanova
Alvaro Estrella - Bedroom
Ellen Benediktson - Songbird
Sylvester Schlegel - Bygdens son
Helena Paparizou - Survivor

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ESSENTIAL MARGO MENGONI GOES INCOMPARABLE

Here it is finally, the start of Marco Mengoni'ss Latin market invasion. His Sanremo 2013 winner and Italy's Top-10 Eurovision song L'Essenziale (already 21 million views on Youtube, btw) finally in its Spanish version, Incomparable. For now it's only available in digital form and on Mujeres y hombres y viceversa compilation album. Meanwhile he is working on the full Spanish version of his multiplatinum #prontoacorrere album and also on new tracks to his next Italian album.... 
He's ready to follow other Italian singers who have made it in the Latin American and Spanish market, from Eros Ramazzotti to Laura Pausini, Nek and Tiziano Ferro just to name a few.... And he will be followed by Emma Marrone as soon she's got the Eurovision 2014 out of the way.....

Tonight at 9pm CET a special show dedicated on Marco and his fans is aired on Stileradio. Fans all over the world are taking part, be sure to join in as well. Here.  

UPDATE: Incomparable debuts at number 7 in the Spanish charts!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#ESC2014: HERE ARE THE MOLDOVANS

And the songs keep on coming. Tonight also the 40 (chosen out of 61) Moldovan songs are online here. Included are also the songs that seem to be also in the running in Lithuania, thus breaking the rules over there. Then there's also a Adam what-do-you-want-from-me Lambert wannabe...Let's see how this ends. 
Among the hopefuls there some familiar names and even some good songs! These 40 will have to perform their songs live for a jury that then picks up the 24 semifinalists. This takes place next Saturday, February 1, 2014. The semifinals wil take place on March 11 and 13, and the final on March 15.
Two songs made me listen and enjoy them to the finishing notes, Margarita Ciorici's Vis, and Alina Sorochina's Ascultă-mă tăcere. Both ballads in Moldovan. They showed one can get good results even with that recipe so why not continue also this year? 

UPDATE 30.1.2014:  Moldovan Tv has indeed made some mistakes and therefor accepts the already dropped 21 songs into the live audiences, you can hear these extra songs here. That means also the poor jury has to listen to My lesbian girl by already almost legendary Alexandru Bognibov...Mind you, he's not the worst of this lot!
Also the songs also in the running in Lithuania have withdrawn here in Moldova. They believe they have better chances in Lithuania....

#ESC 2014: LATVIAN SEMIFINALS THIS WEEKEND

Latvia will have it's semifinals this weekend. Two semifinals with 12 songs, and six of them from each semifinal will go to the final of Dziesma on February 22, 2014. With a couple of listenings I shortisted my favorites and at this point they are MyRadiantU, Mad Show Boys, Dons, Rolands Udris and Olga & Ligo. Bubbling under are Markus Rivas, Aarzemnieki, Andris Kivics.... Let's wait and see if they will go all the way to the final, and maybe even Copenhagen - I have no idea how Latvians will vote! Listen all the songs here.

Semi-final 1 - February 1, 2014

DJ Dween & Sabīne Berezina - Dejo Tā 
Crazy Dolls - Bučas
Tamara Rutkovska - I am happy
Niko - Here I am again
Ivo Grīsniņš Grīslis - I've got
Aarzemnieki - Cake to bake
Oskars Deigelis - Just stop
Samanta Tina - Stay
MyRadiantU - Going all the way
Aminata Savadogo - I can breathe
Dāvis Matskins - I need more
Olga & Līgo - Saule riet (Take away)

Semi-final 2  - February 2, 2014

Ralfs Eilands, Valters Pūce & Nelli Bubujanca - Revelation
Katrine Lukins - You are the reason
Mad Show Boys - I need a soul-twin
Markus Riva - Lights on
Anete Volmane - Breathe slow
Rolands Ūdris - What if it was
Katrīna Bindere - Moment and tomorrow
Andris Kivičs - Pa vidu tu 
Dons - Pēdējā Vēstul
Sabīne Vidriķe - Is it possible
Sabīne Berezina - Pressure
Eirošmits - If I could (Get away)

KRISTA SIEGFRIDS NOMINATED FOR EMMA!

The Finnish Grammy or Emma nominations have been revealed today and Krista Siegfrids picks up a nomination as the Newcomer of the year 2013. She's also shortlisted in the People's Choice award for the Best artist/group. Emma Gaala will take place in Barona Areena in Espoo March 7, 2014. All nominees here. Here are the main categories and nominees:

Female Artist:
Erin, Jenni Vartiainen, Jonna Tervomaa, Sanni, Suvi Teräsniska 

Male Artist:
Anssi Kela, Cheek, Ismo Alanko, Jesse Kaikuranta, Juha Tapio, Robin

Group:
Haloo Helsinki!, J.Karjalainen, Michael Monroe, Pariisin Kevät, Sunrise Avenue

Album of the year:
Robin, J.Karjalainen, Cheek, Juha Tapio, Haloo Helsinki!, Jenni Vartiainen

Newcomer of the year:
Isac Elliot, Jannika B, Krista Siegfrids, Lost Society, Sanni

Pop album of the year:
Robin, Haloo Helsinki!, Jenni Vartiainen, Sunrise Avenue, Isac Elliot

Schlager album of the year:
Lauri Tähkä, Juha Tapio, Jonne Aaron, Suvi Teräsniska, Erin

Song of the year:
Levikset repee - Sini Sabotage, Levoton tyttö - Anssi Kela, Mennyt mies - J.Karjalainen, New way home - Isac Elliot, Timantit on ikuisia - Cheek, Vapaus käteen jää - Haloo Helsinki!, Viheltelen - Stig

Video of the year:
Boom kah - Robin, City of sin  - Alex Kunnari & Heikki L feat. Joel Madden, Clouds - Redrama feat. A.J. McLean, Enkeli - Tuomas Kauhanen, Flowers and rust - Von Hertzen Brothers, Huuda - Haloo Helsinki!, Levikset repee - Sini Sabotage, Minä toivon - Jonna Tervomaa, New way home - Isac Elliot, Timantit on ikuisia - Cheek

#ESC2014: HERE ARE THE DANISH!

After Norway and Iceland yesterday, today the Danish Eurovision names and song titles are out. Denmark sticks to its good one off formula like the good old days: ten songs, one show and that's it. How I like that! Anyways, who is going to follow Emmelie's bare feet on the stage o B&W Hallerne? Nice to have Bryan Rice and Danni Elmo trying again. At first there were 872 songs, now ten and several writers got more than one song in.... The Danish final will take place March 8, 2014 in Odense.

Sonny – Feeling The You
Anna David – It Hurts
Basim Cliche – Love Song
Rebekah Thornbech – Your Lies
GlamboyP – Right By Your Side
Bryan Rice – I Choose You
Nadia Malm – Before You Forget Me
Michael Rune feat Natascha Bessez – Wanna be Loved
Emilie Moldow – We find home
Danni Elmo – She’s The One


#ESC 2014: SWITZERLAND WHISTLING IT AWAY?

Switzerland is staging its final this Saturday and we have six finalists chosen late last year with three different selection processes by three different broadcasters. The final comes from the Arena of Kreuzlingen, and there will be 50-50 televote-jury vote.

3ForAll - Together forever
The song is kinda nice accordeon driven happy little song taking a lot of ideas from the Balkans, I'm not just sure if the performers are right for it? I would have put one single performer and turned up the beat. Then - it could be a winner.

Christian Tschanz - Au paradis
Lovely voice, beautiful French ballad. Maybe not instant enough for Eurovision but a classy one. Old fashioned but in a good way. 

Natasha & Stéphanie - Une terre sans vous
Another French ballad. But this one sounds a bit tired and uninspired. The girls sing nicely but this makes me only think of the contents of my fridge and other things. Concentration gone in like 30 seconds which is not a good sign.... And the new version still sounds like a demo.

Nino Colonna - La luce del cuore
Middle of the road pop-rock. Only in Italian that makes it a bit more interesting. If sung in English I might have switched to the next one in less than a minute. Shame because I'd like to like this one....

Sebalter - Hunter of stars
The most instant and annoyingly catchy this one. Everybody whistle now! Here he tells how the song was born and a bit of the video. If he and his band get it right on stage this could and should be the winner, and might do well in Copenhagen as well. The song itself has a story, too:
Sebalter, or Sebastiano Paú-Lessi (28) is a lawyer with a passion for music. This song was born in Kansas City in pullman during his coast to coast trip. He had to run to the toilets to record the whistling part into his cellphone. He has also studied in Cairo and lived in Netherlands. He's prepairing his debut album.

Yasmina Hunzinger - I still believe
She offers as a big ballad with lovely country flavored guitars and vocals, LeAnn Rimes anyone? The live performance will be crucial, me thinks. If she realy delivers she could blow the competition away and end up packing her bags for Copenhagen.....



Monday, January 27, 2014

#ESC2014: GERI HALLIWELL, YES OR NO?

The rumours about Geri Halliwell representing the United Kingdom in the coming Eurovisin song contest 2014 in Copenhagen have been all over the internet for weeks if not months already. Certainly she hasn't done anything to stop them, on the contrary. If chosen - or it seems rather if she accepts the job - she kind of continues the BBC trend, The Hump was big in the 70's, Bonnie in the 80's and Geri along with the Spice Girls in the 90's. In a couple of years BBC might give us something from the 2010's if we are lucky....
Anyways, Geri would be just taylor made for Eurovision in many ways. She could have an instant pop song, fabulous over the top staging and a house hold name in the most parts of Europe. And a lot of adoring (gay) fans, likable and funny enough personality to keep the media busy and entertained. The only excuse and fear she might have to face and not to accept the job is the possibility of bombing in Eurovision (too). But as her come back with Half of me last year, and her first single since 2005 failed completely (charting only in Australia as #281) she hasn't got much to lose, does she? She couldn't do any worse in Copenhagen really, only to gain....
Her career has been rather solid while she was active with it, even if slightly going down. The debut solo album sold millions all around the world giving us hits like Look at me (UK #2), Mi chico latino (UK #1) and Lift me up UK (#1), two more number ones followed with Bag it up and It's raining men. Next singles Scream if you wanna go faster (UK #8) and Calling (UK #7) of the second album were still Top-10 hits even if the album sold only 1/3 of the previous one, yet over a million worldwide. The last single, re-release of Calling aka Au nome de l'amour charted in France at #22. Third album sold only half a million wordwide and the singles Ride it (UK #4) and Desire (UK #22) didn't bother the charts much anywhere. And then she disppeared from the music scene until late last year and Half of me..... 
Which brings us to the question: Does she need Eurovision more than Eurovision needs her? Or is it a win-win situation for both? I think so.... Anyways, it'd be great to have her in the line up and writing this post was a great walk down the memory line... it's raining me, hallelujah!....
BAG IT UP, GERI!

#UMK14: MIKKO POHJOLA VS. SOFTENGINE IN MY POLL

UPDATE 30.1 11.30am: Nearly 500 votes, thank you all! Mikko has taken a clear lead over Softengine and this couple has left the others far behind. Do you agree? If not, change the situation by voting, the last 24h to vote are here!

When writing this a few votes are missing from the 400 votes and Mikko Pohjola has catched up Softengine, who have been ledding the poll for ages. Clarissa and Josh are already far behind and then there's another gap where MadCraft, the early leaders of the poll are with Jasmin Michaela and Hanna Sky. You still have a few days to vote or change your vote on the right hand side of this page ->
This is the situation right now, January 27 at 5.23pm:

Mikko Pohjola   104
Softengine   104
Clarissa ft. Josh    92
MadCraft   75
*Jasmin Michaela   74
Hanna Sky   72
Hukka ja Mama   52
MIAU   47
Lauri Mikkola   46
*MAKEA   34
*Dennis Fagerström   31
*Lili Lambert   26

Use your power and vote and change the situation!

#ESC 2014: HERE ARE THE ICELANDERS

UPDATE: All songs available now here.

After Norway also Iceland makes its hopefuls knows. The first five songs are also online here. As usual the Icelandic offerings are a rather weird mix of songs and styles that somehow feel odd and strange but at the same time likable and you have no idea who's going to make it. At least this is how this blogger feels every year at first. Then, sooner or later some song(s) emerge as a favorite and then fails to win. But then I find myself liking the winner anyways. Must be the geysir effect.

Semifinal 1 - February 1, 2014
Sverrir Bergmann - Dönsum burtu blús
Greta Mjöll Samúelsdóttir - Eftir eitt lag
Gissur Páll Gissurarson - Von
Ásdís María Viðarsdóttir- Amor
Vignir Snær Vigfússon - Elsku þú

Semifinal 2 - February 8, 2014
Sigríður Eyrún Friðriksdóttir - Lífið kviknar á ný
 Guðrún Árný Karlsdóttir - Til þín
F.U.N.K -  Þangað til ég dey 
Guðbjörg Magnúsdóttir -  Aðeins ætluð þér
 Pollapönk - Enga fordóma

 

#ESC2014: HERE ARE THE NORWEGIANS

We are heading to the busiest six months of the year in the Eurovision world outside the contest itself in May and today Norway has made public its 15 semifinalists and here they are:
Semifinal 1 - March 7, 2014
Hilda & Thea Leora - Best friend's boyfriend
Mo - Heal
Dina Misund - Needs
Linnea Fale - High hopes
Timbre & Fikk Heide-Steen feat. Ida Stein - Frozen by your love
Semifinal 2 - March 8, 2014
Cir.Cuz - Hele verden
Martine Marbel - Right now
Oda & Wulff - SIng
Knut Kippersund Nesdal - Taste of you
Charlie - Hit me up
Semifinal 3 - March 9, 2014
Moi - Bensin
El Cuero - Ain't no love in this city no more
Ilebek - Who needs the universe?
Elisabeth Carew - Sole survivor
Carl Espen - Silent storm

You can listen very short snippets of the songs here.  Three somgs from each semifinal will go to the final on March 15, 2014 in Oslo Spektrum. In the semifinals footage of their journey to the final from the moment their song was selected is shown and there's also a jury commenting their song and performance. Hmmm, sounds a bit UMK-ish, doesn't it?



Sunday, January 26, 2014

#ESC2014: THE FRENCH THREESOME

The three French entries have been presented tonight in telly and here they are. Destan offers a true boyband ballad with medicore vocals and a very loooong three minutes. Joanna sings well and offers a Matese interpretation of a French Eurovision ballad. French Eurovision ballad is something I have been waiting for many years now, but this one isn't exactly what I ordered, I'm afraid. Twin Twin offer more of what we've been getting from France recently instead. This will be labeled as a joke entry if chosen whoch is shame as if you listen to it only it's not bad at all.... Ok, a bit childish but kinda fun. Anyways, unfortunately very weak offering from France. Once again. The best part was to see lovely Marie Myriam again ...

Joanna - Ma liberté

#ESC14: THE LITHUANIAN NEVER ENDING AFFAIR...

The Lithuanina selection has been going on forever and I have lost track of what's going on, but it seems there are only six singers left and... 16 songs? Justinas Lapatinskas and VIG Roses are already out of the race. I really haven't listened all the songs and none well but I kinda enjoyed Dying in some weird way.... Thought it would propably be more like Suicide in Eurovision..... Meanwhile the Lithuanian selection process continues until March.....

Vaidas Baumila - Worlds Apart / Dying
Monika Linkytė - It's All About A Boy / Breakaway
Vilija Matačiūnaitė - You Found Me / Attention
Martynas Kavaliauskas - New Beginning / It's not too late
Mia - Let's Share That Love Tonight (Map) / Take a look at me now
Ieva Zasimauskaitė - Blowing Out Cobwebs / One

*Justinas Lapatinskas - Is This The Way (You Want Me) / Last date
*VIG Roses - Silent Tears / In the rain

#ESC14: A DAL IN HUNGARY HAS STARTED

Hungary is using the good old A Dal to select their entry and the procedure is the same as previous years. Three heats with ten songs each. The jury, including last year's winner ByeAlex, first sends three acts to semifinals, and the televoting audience another three of the remaining seven.  The remaining four acts are out. Hungarian TV has once again done a great job giving us a good looking show and pretty good mix of songs. But who's going to win? You never know, it's Hungary after all! And apparently the artists are allowed to sing in English already at this stage this year?!
The first heat took place yesterday with following acts, including familiar names Cserpes Laura and Király Viktor.: 

Úgy szállj Cserpes Laura 
*Csak a zene – Depresszió -televoters
Help Me! - Extensive 
*Retikül – Group’n’Swing -televoters
The Way I Do - Hien 
*Running Out Of Time - Király Viktor - Jury winner
Break Up – Lil C 
*Morning Light – Marge - Jury 2nd
*Egy percig sztár – Oláh Ibolya - televoters
*Hogy segíthetnék? – Szabó Leslie - Jury 3rd

You can watch snippets of all entries here.  I was surprised Laura didn't make it! Now that she's out my favorite out of this was maybe Leslie... A Dal continues next Saturday and includes this.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

KRISTA SIEGFRIDS - ARTIST OF THE YEAR FOR QX GAY GAALA

The first annual QX Gay Gaala was organized last night in Helsinki and Krista Siegfrids won the award for the Best Artist of the year. Elias Koskimies, who has directed her videos among others, and directed the fabulous I've only just begun was voted the Homo of the year. Congrats to both!
That's Elias in disguise with Krista and the Ding Dong girls, who also performed last night in the gala. 

#UMK14: WE HAVE FINALISTS - JASMIN AND DENNIS OUT

The semifinal from Peacock Theater is over and we have finalists. Some artists did better, some not so. Jasmin Michaela all of sudden was rather bland and televoters kicked her out, which is a surprise anyways. Dennis Fagerström still didn't manage to make anything out if his bland yet cute and sweet song an out he goes. MIAU and Hukka ja Mama really shined, whether you like or not their songs. Mikko Pohjola further secured his favorite status.... Clarissa feat. Josh still didn't make it on stage and vocally. The fans like the studio version and it works, like a song that's 13 in a dozen works. Live and on stage less so. Next week the final will take place in Barona Arena in Espoo, and Krista Siegfrids will be the guest star, obviously! Anyways, here is the final list. It's far from said and done deal, I still think any of these 8 could end up winning, but of course I have my favorites and dislikes, but I guess I could be more or less happy with five of these even if one stands way above the rest:

MadCraft - Shining bright
Hukka ja Mama - Selja
Lauri Mikkola - Going down
MIAU - God/drug
Mikko Pohjola - Sängyn reunalla
Clarissa feat. Josh Standing - Top of the world
Softengine - Something better
Hanna Sky - Hope

#UMK2014 - THE SEMIFINAL - LIVE

This is it. The crucial semifinal. The remaining eight acts and songs are battling it out with televote only for the six places in the final. So far we have only known the jury votes and the result of 50-50 televote-jury vote. Tonight we might be in for some surprises.... We are back in Peacock Theater in Helsinki, for the last time, and Anne Lainto and Ile Uusivuori have been styled by the winner of an online contest (Helena Pirhonen) instead of the usual YLE's stylist, will they look different? 
UMK+ will start online already 19.30 CET while the live show starts at 20 CET. Brädi will be the guest star performing together with UMK judge Toni Wirtanen. It will be also interesting to see if this semifinal manages to attract more viewers in front of TV as the previous shows have all got less than about 250.000, none of them entering the Top-20 most viewed programmes of the week iin YLE2.
As always, I'll be here blogging it live for you so join in and enjoy the ride!

20.25 Here we go again.  First we have a chat with one of the judges, Redrama. About the fact UMK goes against some very heavy competition on tv, and his own musical career. Then we talk with another judge, Toni Wirtanen and Brädi who perform tonight as guest stars. And let me remind you tonight the judges have no power, but they will comment anyways....
Olavi Uusivirta analizes the lyrics of the semifinalists. He likes lyrics where something goes wrong or weird or turns it all upside down. One good example is Mikko Pohjola's song. And indeed it has a great lyrics, thinks this blogger! He also likes Hukka ja Mama's lyrics and out of those in English, and in Eurovision where one must be remembered instantly he thinks MIAU has what it takes. And he thinks Loreen's Euphoria is one of the best pop songs of the last ten years or so.... even if the yrics aren't that original. The  we go to Jasmine sporting a red lacy dress and a lot of skin..... Hukka ja Mama's Mama tells she had terrible nightmares last night. I rather not describe them here..... But now she's feeling goood! Next MIAU also having new outfits. Self-made. Hmmm... And now Josh and Clarissa telling Clarissa kicked Josh out because he's too messy! Josh is looking for a rental flat. Anyone? And he's got golden Hammer pants, it looks. Mikko Pohjola is working with Jannika B, who happens to be Toni Wirtanen's newly wed wife and she has apologised for Toni's behaviour. She's a fan! MadCraft is apparently having some acrobatics in their performance, including black eye and stuff... Lauri Mikkola spoke "Danish" - not. Then we try to find out what Dennis is like really. The mystery reminds. Or he's a nerd that likes monsters.
Then we talk with Helena Pirhonen; the winner of "Style Anne and Ile for the semifinal" contest. And they look like that...
20.55 We move on the live TV-broadcast and we have a look like the media has handled UMK this week. Almost 10.000 tweets so far and MadCraft is the most tweeted, followed by Mikko Pohjola. He has surpassed Clarissa.  MadCraft's website also crashed during their performance last week.... too many visits at the same time!
21.00 Showtime! Anne and Ile welcome the audience and tell who are performing tonight and remind the jury has no power tonight, only televote and the voting that has been going online since Monday. The jury will comment but give no points. Toni says tonight's the night to take sides, so get ready for some harsh comments and shameless praising!

1.MadCraft: Shining Bright
MadCraft was very confident in the postcard about their fan base power. The show's energetic and genereic to this kind of bands and music. They do get the audience waving their hands along though and most likely will be strong with televote. Toni liked, nothing bad to say, he says it's wonderful to see them in final. Aija thinks they have worked, it shouws. More relaxed with added details and she wonders if it's enough to take them to final. Tomi talks about their injuries, there was blood on stage in dress rehearsals. He wonders if their fans will vote for them now, or are they only chatting in SoMe. Redrama thinks they have even more energy now but he's afraid it won't take them to final....
2. Hukka ja Mama: Selja    
Hukka ja Mama were really pleased with their previous performance and wee very happy to see smiley faces in the audience and people screaming for them. They were touched. They have kept their staging the same as before starting from a flower print sofa. Martina sings very well, audience is screaming at times. Fantastic stuff. One of this bloggers main favorites. They're adorable. And the song is very soothing, great lyrics, catchy. Love it. They have also signed a recording deal. Huge applause from the audience. Looking good! A domestic hit for sure but UMK14 winner? We'll see. Aija thinks they're wonderful, more relaxed performance and sure finalist. Tomi thinks they have grown so much since six months ago, they don't apologize their existance anymore, they're great and he wishes they go to final. Redrama confirms once again this is one of this favorites, he fell in love the first time he heard the song. he can see they enjoy performing and their song. Toni confirms all the others have said. He says Mama has really blossomed. Fantastic!
3. Lauri Mikkola: Going Down
Lauri thinks his performances so far have been maybe a little static and too calculated. He hopes to be more relaxed and spontaneus and as only the televotes count tonight he wants to win over tonight. He wants to win! He has dropped the red jacket and performs in a white t-shirt instead and the most famous chesthair of the winter 2013-2014 makes a welcome return to the screen. He gives a hint of the stage animal we have seen in the Voice and moves more. Vocally great as always. The song is good and the choir fantastic. Must be in the final. Tomi thinks he hypnotized the ladies in the audience. He sung much better than a week ago, there was feeling finally! Redrama thinks he did amazingly, much better than before. The singing was effortless and with more emotion. Much better than before. Toni says Lauri finally found the dynamite, finally he touched him. If he goes to final this is the right way to go. Aija is also pleased with the improvement. Thank you, Lauri!
4. Jasmin Michaela: Kertakäyttösydän
Jasmine said the last performance was the first time she was singing and dancing at the same time and she will take back a little now. Less dancing, more vocal control but always a lot of sensuality! And indeed she looks stunning in her little red dress. And pretty as can be. Singing well, but is this song losing its charm? Redrama thinks it was great. He thinks this UMK has already been good for her. He's afraid she might lose the fun of it by new styling and choreography every week. She's an artist with a future, work for it. Toni thinks he is already a bit tired of it, and if this goes to the final there's a danger it gets even more boring. Aija thinks she has gone from something great to ordinary and downhill. She's not impressed with her dress either... Tomi more or less agrees with the others, she is losing her personality..... Hmmm.... But hey, so it seemed to this blogger, too. 
5. Dennis Fagerström: My Little Honey Bee 
Dennis said he will bring more of his personality to the performance, accused by many being a bit bland, without taste and smell (hey, a bit like The Herrey's but did it stop them from winning?) Well, I have never got a taste for this little number. Dennis is ok, but ok is not enough if the song isn't a killer and this is more like an elevator music. Besides this must have the worse camera work ever, and it's not all Dennis fault. Totally wasted on TV. Toni thinks this is 1990's boyband stuff and in tis genre ok, but nothing special. He thinks Dennis sung better than ever but ... it may not be enough. Aija agrees and thinks Dennis did very well tonight. Tomi is pleased he is in UMK but Dennis is not one of his favorites at this point anymore. Redrama thinks this was the first time it looked like Dennis was enjoying performing this song, but he still doesn't get it.... 
6. MIAU: God/Drug
MIAU says they will rethink their outfits and staging mainly. The fact that this is televote only is very interesting to see, as they have known only the jury votes so far. They do have new outfis that are rather fabulous, and the two Dead or Alive meets Marilyn Manson lookalike dancers are there, too. I kinda enjoyed this :-) Crazy, different, original. And they get better with each performance. Aija likes them and thinks the Finnish music business and this UMK needs bands like this. They must be in final. Only beware of not overdoing it and she's got an idea but she will tell in private... Tomi says this could be like Stig a couple of years ago; the social medias are on fire but the fans don't vote when it matters... Redrama thinks they were good but the song's just not good enough still... Toni on the other hand thinks the song is good, and he hopes they will win the whole damn thing! 
7. Mikko Pohjola: Sängyn reunalla
Mikko says he has been on many occasion and stage but nothing compares to this UMK experience. He also says it's great how supportive the artists are to each other, and the audience's reaction. He only wants to do his best, be present and hope people will vote him to the final. Identical staging with black and white start before the colors turn on. Very well song, more relaxed that fits the sng better. Great! My favorite! Tomi thinks he almost has tears in his eyes, Mikko managed to silent the whole theater to listen. The song's "kotii-ii-iin" has become already a slogan. A good sign. Redrama thinks this is perfection; his vocals, lyrics, music, presence. A song that gives you cold shivers. Toni thinks the song just gets better and bettr, and as we know he's really taken by the lyrics. A killer song! He thinks he may not win UMK but this is going to be a domestic megahit. Aija says a song like this is very difficult to sing live and in a contest under pressure but she is sure we will see him in the final. 

8. Clarissa feat. Josh Standing: Top Of The World
Clarissa says they have practised mainly the singing, and says she's living a very stressful times and has tried to relax and get away from the song and UMK when possible. And Josh has finally learned two words of Finnish: Rakastan Suomea. Yeah right. This is wrong in so many ways; Clarissa's outfit, and Josh's. The staging, camera work.... a mess. Redrama thinks they have progressed but it's still not there, they sing badly all through the song and he hopes they won't make the final. Studio version is good, but it doesn't work live. Toni thinks it's entertaining and sounds like Eurovision, in good and bad. It'd be nice to have it in final, but it's up to people to vote. Aija sees they have worked hard but somethings can't me bettered. Unfortunately she's not goo enough. Yet. Tomi says all the judges picked this up in a very early stage but live singing is crucial in TV. It's a shame as the rest is ok. Not working on TV and live, simple as that. 
After voting instructions and recap we enjoy some guest musicians, Brädi rapping and featuring  Toni Wirtanen.... 
22.19 Televoting is closed. Last words by the judges. Toni thinks Hukka ja Mama, Mikko, MIAU and MadCraft ....
Aija thinks tonight was a real competition and all did better than before, but.... MIAU, Lauri, Mikko are her top-3. Tomi is happy with the progress of all artists but Mikko, Hukka ja Mama and Lauri, who has done a great job in a week. Redrama says he rather thinks about the song, and not yet Eurovision even if it's already lurking there behind.
First finalist is Mikko Pohjola! Then MIAU! MadCraft! And then ... Hukka ja Mama! Lauri or Jasmine? Lauri Mikkola! Jasmin is out! Then Dennis or Clarissa ft Josh! Dennis is out....

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