Norma John Brings The Drama for Finland

Norma John will represent the United Kingdom at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. (Screenshot: YouTube)

Is Finland doing okay, y’all?

Finland tends to be the wildcard of the Nordic nations at Eurovision – I’ve jokingly referred to them as being the most hipster of the Scandi-bloc (given the more ridiculous outfits their judges panel tends to show off), but their taste is actually pretty eclectic – we’ve had everything from Softengine’s alt-rock “Something Better” (which placed 11th, their best since 2006) to last year’s more disco-inflected “Sing It Away” from Sandja…which didn’t make the finals.  I’m starting to get concerned that it’s getting to Finland, since they eschewed some lighter entries for a more dramatic entry this year, Norma John’s “Blackbird”:

There were other entries I liked better in their final (“Helppo Elämä” from Lauri Yrjola stood out, in particular, and would have been my pick), but on re-listening, it’s easy to see why this one. Leena Tirronen’s vocals throughout are strong, and there’s a nice moment for pianist Lasse Piirainen to show off his skills as well.  There’s a dark drama to the full performance, and I’d love to see them find a way to make the staging bigger in Kyiv – at least get some more fog in there!

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