Last time Finland brought monsters to Eurovision, they won.
Saara Aalto was voted “The Most Positive Person in Finland” in 2017 which we suppose means she smiled at one point during that year. Whether it also earned her the right to represent Finland in Eurovision in 2018 we dunno, but YLE didn’t want to risk the chance of her ending as runner-up in UMK for yet another year. Having Saara onboard in Lisbon might not be enough to permanently change our conception of the Finns, but we can’t deny being a tad smitten with her bubbly personality.
Equipped with three rather similar sounding songs, ghastly stage outfits and everything but the kitchen sink choreography, she had plenty of opportunity to shine in the national final. The whole setup cleverly displayed a talented artist oozing of experience, self-confidence and professionalism. In the end, Monsters emerged as a rather clear winner, backed by both the international jury and the public vote.
So far so good, and it seems like nothing can prevent Finland from storming into the Grand Final in May. The whole package ticks off every box in the Eurovision rulebook on what makes a good entry. But can it win, or even make it anywhere near top 10? We are leaning towards a no. The last couple of years’ winners were far from fitting into the proverbial mold, and the left hand side of the scoreboard tends not to be overpopulated with standard Eurovision songs. And as charming as Saara Aalto might be, there’s something mannered about her performance that ends up being quite off putting. Every aspect has “trying too hard” written all over it.
We suppose this is often what happens when an artist is selected internally and heaps of effort is put into tailor an entry that WILL BE THE NEXT WINNER OF THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST. It’s not like it’s doomed not to work, but most of the time we prefer being taken by surprise by something entirely different.