27 February 2022
The Rasmus ran away with an impressive victory in Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2022 with the powerful rock song, Jezebel. Icons in the Finnish music industry and together for almost 30 years, they were always favoured to win, and scooped the top places from both the international jury and the public vote.
The jury was only worth 25% of the total vote, so were always unlikely to be much of impact. Even if The Rasmus got zero points from them, they still would have won such was their popularity with the public. They finished with a total of 310 points ahead of fellow rock entrant, Cyan Kicks, on 221 points. The upbeat, rock-tinged rapid pop entry from Bess was third on 204 points.
01 The Rasmus – Jezebel
Unusual for such a big favourite to kick off a national final. It was probably to give others a fighting chance. The band and stage looked great, and that was accompanied by a solid performance with powerful vocals and a driving beat. My sense of this song all along was the chorus needed a bit more, and that sense remained. Still enjoyable and should do well in Turin. 7/10
02 Isaac Sene – Kuuma jäbä
Isaac seemed to be whispering the vocals. They could be barely heard at times and, overall, it was a bit too self-indulgent. Was boosted to fifth place with solid points from the public. The question is: Why? 4/10
03 Olivera – Thank God I’m An Atheist
Not as captivating as hoped. A fairly standard presentation that didn’t enhance the song as needed to achieve a higher place. It stood on its own strong legs and fourth from the public and overall is a good result in this hot field. 7/10
04 Bess – Ram Pam Pam
Another that needed more. Bam Pam Pam never stops yet it was accompanied by rather sedate dancing and choreography in general. Where was the chaos? The dancing should have been furious. Other than that, Bess’s vocals rocked and I still love the song. I just wanted more. 8/10
05 Younghearted – Sun numero
I really warmed to this in the preview, and at UMK 2022 it had been in tears. I’m talking serious tears. While still dealing with the loss of my mother almost 3 years ago was no doubt a contributing factor, the reality is Younghearted seemed to have everyone in tears. The commentators, the hosts, the arena, and the other artists. Curiously, it started as a demo written in English by the group’s lead singer, Reeta, before being sent on to other contributors and eventually changed to Finnish. It just shows you don’t need English to feel and appreciate a song. The music and vocal expression is sufficient for it to grab you at your core. When Reeta turned around to an arena full of people with their phone lights on, and then the song transitioned to its powerful soft-rock finale, it was magic. A moment I will never forget. Ever! It’s stunning Finns are so shy about embracing their own culture and language on an international forum. This masterpiece was rated last by the public, while the international jury actually had some sense with it as their fifth placed song. 10/10
06 Cyan Kicks – Hurricane
On the same record label as last year’s UMK winners, Blind Channel, it repeated many of the hallmarks that made Dark Side so great. Except, with the female lead, it had a new dimension to it. In direct competition with The Rasmus, not only was it superior with it never wanting to shut up and epic guitar solo (apparently the first ever for Cyan Kicks), it was presented much better. A shame it had to deal with The Rasmus this year. Australian fans might see many similarities in this to The Veronicas. In fact, they should cover it. 9/10
07 Tommi Läntinen – Elämä kantaa mua
This seemed more like a tribute entry for this Finnish music legend of 40 years. Nothing wrong with it. It was serviceable and Tommi got another stage performance to add to his thousands already. It was just that it was out-classed by nearly all the others. 6/10
My Top 7
01 Younghearted – Sun numero
02 Cyan Kicks – Hurricane
03 Bess – Ram Pam Pam
04 The Rasmus – Jezebel
05 Olivera – Thank God I’m An Atheist
06 Tommi Läntinen – Elämä kantaa mua
07 Isaac Sene – Kuuma jäbä
The big change from the preview is Younghearted jumping to the top from third. Cyan Kicks stays second, while Bess drops from first to third. Really, any of the top 4 would be worthy entries at Eurovision and, as I say often with some of these national finals, it’s a shame only one gets to progress. The average score of 7.3 makes it a very good UMK and compares well to the stellar 2021 edition that scored 7.6.
Finally, thank you Finland for another outstanding show and being the template for others, notably Australia, in regards to content and support for artists prior to and following the show.