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Eurovision 2010: Finland

April 26, 2010

Classic Eurovision drips from Finland’s Työlki Ellää.

And whilst most would probably dismiss it as worthless, this flashback makes me think of warm summer evenings in front of a massive TV screen (mine), alcohol fuelling my excitement as I sit rooted to the sofa indulging my one big night of the year.

It’s escapism. It’s fun. It’s inclusive. It’s a party. On that basis the song would sit well in what mainstream audiences consider a classic Eurovision final line-up.

It isn’t a winner for me personally, however.

As perky as it is, there’s a problem with the constantly recurring melody. As with any efficient pop song, the verse should be similar (if not entirely based on) the chord progressions of the chorus. But because this folksy number is so completely focussed on exactly the same material, there needs to be something extra to sustain interest. Because if there isn’t you can be sure this particular number could fall foul of some desperate attempts to tart it up for the stage.

Something distressing happens inside me around 2’30” in. Every time I listen to it, I’m suddenly aware of how difficult I’m going to find the final minute. Aside from the good intentions to build up the tension with a gradually increasing pace, the prospect of hearing exactly the same melody once more when we are back up to speed leaves me feeling a little hollow.

But, there’s an innocence to Finland’s folksy group Moon Whispers which forgives them for the way in which the song leaves me feeling dissatisfied.

The stage act has overtones of Alexander Rybak’s winning hybrid folk act for Norway last year, although the Finns pull off a considerably more relaxed style. The two ladies – Susan Aho and Johanna Virtanen – look gorgeous on camera too, distracting the viewer from the inevitability of the backing track.

I suspect – although I could be wrong – that this could fail in the same way that Austria’s Y’Asi failed to qualify in 2005. I only hope the Finns don’t interpret any failure this year as a cue to depart the competition like Austrians did. Quite apart from anything else there’s something inexplicably alluring about the otherwise impenetrable Finnish language.

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