Eurovision 2017 Entry: Finland — Norma John — Blackbird

Will "Blackbird" allow Finland to swoop out of its current Eurovision slump?

Norma John will represent Finland at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine (Photo: Anton Sucksdorff) Norma John will represent Finland at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine (Photo: Anton Sucksdorff)

Country: Finland
Song Title: “Blackbird”
Artist: Norma John
First Semi-Final: Position #7
Last year’s entry: “Sing it Away” – Sandhja (DNQ – 15th Place, SF1)

Finland has found itself in a Eurovision slump, failing to qualify for the Grand Final in its last two attempts. That’s not an indication of song quality: 2015’s entry was a punk rock song that celebrated accessibility, and last year’s song found itself in the unfortunate position of sounding a lot like Spain’s entry.1 How will “Blackbird” by Norma John fare in semi-final?

Here’s the deal. Finland was fourth to choose their song this year, so at the time I was filled with optimism that the songwriting and delivery were going to be elevated, with this song setting the tone. I think that prediction came to pass, but unfortunately left Finland in the dust. “Blackbird” isn’t in my personal top ten, not because I dislike it but because there are so many other songs in the field I like more.

What Norma John have going for them is that the song is so different from most of the rest of the field. Norma’s vocals are the strongest of the female singers, and she proved it on Finland’s national selection. Theoretically, this song should be able to go toe-to-toe with Australia’s entry, but there is some pop element that is missing in this track that makes it more challenging to connect and appreciate it.

I won’t be upset if “Blackbird” manages to sneak into the final, but I would be rather surprised.

Eurovision Song Contest First Semi-Final
May 9, 2017

AlbaniaArmeniaAustraliaAzerbaijanBelgium • Cyprus
Czech RepublicFinlandGeorgia • GreeceIcelandLatvia
MoldovaMontenegroPoland • Portugal • Slovenia • Sweden

  1. A rough performance at the semi-final didn’t help, but the die had been cast at that point.  

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