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Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) Odds Review

The Finnish selection to the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most anticipated of the season - with big hit songs taking part and a betting market that isn’t as lopsided as it may first appear.


The lopsidedness is caused by the appearance of The Rasmus in this selection, and they are best priced at 1.48 at the time of writing. There’s multiple reasons why. While ‘Jezebel’ is lyrically clumsy it is also grandiose and the attention to detail in the production is commendable, one can anticipate a big stage show as well, following the trend of previous Finnish rock groups in the Song Contest. There is a feeling that the Finnish public will want to send this because this is what the Finns send to Eurovision.


While a worthy favourite, 1.48 suggests the Finnish people are that predictable, and I don’t think that is the case here. The show is 25% and 75% televote, and that televote is proportional so a big televote win could do it. The Rasmus are not a Finnish band in the same sense as Teräsbetoni or Blind Channel were - they are infamous - and that is a double-edged sword. The Rasmus were biggest nearly twenty years ago. Their fans are my age and older, would they turn out and vote in the same way in the show any more? And would they be as loyal as they would be ten years prior? It’s one of the biggest conundrums of this National Final season.


The biggest challenger is Bess with ‘Ram Pam Pam’, which for multiple weeks straight is number 1 on Finnish Spotify and can be grabbed at about 6.. Now this is very much in the ‘Cicciolina’ vibe for being a lyrically clever Finnish language female liberation dance floor anthem. Like ‘Cicciolina’ I am suspecting this will work better in music video and streaming format than live, not due to suspect vocals but instead due to the difficulty in building a stage show for this. If there is an anti-Rasmus vote this is the obvious choice, and this style of Finnish pop hasn’t been at the Song Contest for such a long time one can feel that the Finnish population may feel it is time.


However the song 2nd highest on that Spotify list at the moment is ‘Sun Numero’ by Younghearted. This is not a song that I see having that ‘vote-for-me’ appeal that Bess’ music completely owns and the drift of this to double figures is very unstandable. The two longer outsiders to consider are Cyan Kicks, best priced 7.5 and Isaac Sene at 11s. ‘Hurricane’ from Cyan Kicks is a clear Finnish-Swedish hybrid of Eurovision sound and does the genre well, if arguably a little anonymously. I’m anticipating a Bess vs The Rasmus media story to play out, and for this to be eventually sacrificed to be the show opener by the producers, so that would kill some of the hype for a very worthy track down.


Isaac is more interesting at 11s. Another Finnish language track that is also lyrically suggestive with the artist flipping sexuality in the number. There are Michael Jackson vibes here in the sound and Isaac has the potential for this to be a huge moment. However it hasn’t hit the huge heights of the other entries in the line up and, similarly to Bess there’s a challenge here in working out how to stage this that is in keeping with the song’s sexuality but doesn’t alienate Kristiina from Kuopio.


When The Rasmus’ name was revealed the odds on Finland to win Eurovision dropped from 40s to 25. They are now trading over 50 and, while much of that is because ‘Brividi’ is such an impossible number to beat that price is high *if* The Rasmus do deliver life and landslide this show. But that live thing is no guarantee, and Lauri’s vocals in recent years sound like those of an old rocker. Thank goodness pre-recorded backing vocals should mask enough of that. If they do win UMK in well-deserving fashion there will be some interest in Finland in the market to shorten.


But there’s significantly more doubt about this as the market drift suggests. 'Jezebel' is worthy and will get media attention in the build up but a guaranteed winner here it isn't. If the Finnish public want to go against the tide and act a little bit Jezebelian themselves, Bess provides the perfect outlet for that. In-play watch if the first votes are very low (it is proportional) as that could suggest Bess has gathered all the anti-Jezebel votes.


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