Finland has been one of those countries where I’ve found the entries to be hit or miss, leaning more towards the hit side, and after their non-qualification last year on a song that I reviewed and rated highly last year, I was hoping for yet another good song from Finland that Europe would love just as much as I did. This year they are sending the duo Norma John with the haunting ballad Blackbird.
Rewind back to the national final, where there were 10 songs participating this year. I really enjoyed Lauri Yrjölä, and later on I grew to love the entry by My First Band, and honestly I still think at least My First Band would have been higher on my list than the eventual winners Norma John. I will preface this by saying that the song is beautiful, it’s haunting and the vocals are perfection. Where I lose this song is essentially after the first chorus. Once you have heard the first minute of the song, you’ve heard the entire song, as it merely repeats with no real development. The piano solo and the instrumentation is fantastic, and the solo itself does add for a bit of differentiation in the three minutes, but then it returns to the same chorus which for me makes me lose a bit of interest in the song.
The staging used in the national final was simplistic and dark, which reflects the nature of the song. I can’t imagine Finland deviating too much from the staging used in the national final, although some clever use of lighting could elevate the song in the last minute.
In the context of the first semi-final, Finland do have a chance of qualification. As a ballad, it does have a lot of ballad competition, and I think it could potentially get a bit lost in the mix, although if it is wedged in between two upbeat songs it could provide a stand out contrast.
Overall this isn’t my cup of tea. I can see the appeal in it, and in the context of the ballads released this year I think it’s one that could outdo the others, but I am really unsure at this stage as to whether it will qualify. The voting in semi-final 1 I think will hold many surprises, and potentially this could be one.
Overall, I’m going to give it a 4/10, which sounds harsh, but it’s a song that I can see the appeal in, however I don’t find myself wanting to listen to it, which is a shame because I often do support Finland in Eurovision.