UMK, the Finnish national selection for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest started off today with the first semi-final. Three out of the six participating acts qualified for the final on the 27th of February.
This year's Finnish selection consists of three semifinals on the 6th, the 13th and the 20th of February with the national final taking place on the 27th of February. All the shows are hosted by Krista Siegfrids and Roope Salminen in Helsinki.
A total of six participants were featured in tonight's semi-final and these three qualified for the final after the online votes and those of the TV viewers:
- Saara Aalto - No Fear
- Stella Christine - Ain’t Got Time for Boys
- Eini - Draamaa
The rest of the line-up included:
- Mikko Herranen - Evil Tone
- ClemSO - Thief
- Pää-Äijät - Shamppanjataivas
About the artists in Semi-final 1
Saara Aalto - No Fear
In 2011 Saara Aalto finished second in the Finnish national ESC selection but, at the same time she melted the hearts of the Finns with her enchanting voice and appearance. Since those days she has released five studio albums, one of which was sang in Mandarin Chinese and released in China. She’s performed on big venues worldwide and starred in musicals. No Fear is Saara Aalto 2.0 and and she’s ready to conquer the world.
Stella Christine - Ain’t Got Time for Boys
A young lady with a deep, powerful voice and a guitar - that can be quite a compelling mix! Stella Christine comes from a musical family, has studied music for many years and is inspired by soul, r&b and jazz. This talented beauty wants to create music on her own terms which means she’s written most of her songs by herself, including Ain’t Got Time for Boys.
Eini - Draamaa
If UMK were about longevity of career or the amount of hits, there would be no contest. Eini’s first hit was a cover of Baccara’s Yes Sir, I Can Boogie back in 1978! Often also referred to as ‘The Finnish Queen of Disco’, Eini is still as active and as brilliant as ever and about to release a brand new cover album this January.
Mikko Herranen - Evil Tone
Mikko Herranen is a singer, songwriter, musician, sound engineer, producer and a real DIY man. For the past 20 years he’s been involved in such bands as Velcra and RUST, played over 2000 gigs, been a contestant in The Voice of Finland and released many albums. There seems to be nothing he cannot do, which really is quite impressing considering he’s also visually impaired.
Pää-Äijät - Shamppanjataivas
The fusion of northern madness, reckless machismo, dance pop and a dash of country music may not sound like everyone’s cup of tea but you shouldn’t find this tune hard to digest. Champagne Heaven (Shamppanjataivas) awaits Julmari and JaBa a.k.a. Pää-äijät when they sail the seven seas – of at least a small slice of the Gulf of Botnia hoping to reach Stockholm this spring!
ClemSO - Thief
Nigerian-born ClemSO is the stylistic ambassador for afrobeat rhythm and groove, colour and shine. His songs are rich in the imagery of love and humanity. His song Thief ties together afrobeat, modern pop and Yoruba language in an interesting and international way. ClemSO has been making music for a long time and he has, for instance, previously sung in a Nigerian boy band (LOG2G1 Boys). The man of many academic degrees came originally to Finland to study, but now is the time for afrobeat.Gallery: Finland's UMK 2016 line-up of the first semi-final