Earlier this month, Finnish broadcaster Yle announced the seven artists competing in UMK 2023 — Keira, Benjamin, Robin Packalen, Lxandra, Käärijä, KUUMAA and Portion Boys — releasing their songs one by one.
In a new video on the UMK YouTube channel recorded in November 2022, we see the seven Eurovision hopefuls reacting to their fellow contestants and their songs for the first time. You can hear and read some of their thoughts below.
UMK 2021: Artists react to each others’ songs
KUUMAA — “Ylivoimainen”
All round positive comments for KUUMAA’s entry, Ylivoimainen, with artists complimenting KUUMAA’s vocal abilities and production style.
Benjamin: Bloody hell, is it my vocal coach? It’s gloomy but dancey. Ok drama!
Portion boys: This is very Eurovision. It makes me dance. It plays in your head. It’s a good tune.
Lxandra: It’s pretty groovy.
Keira: It sounds like their style. It’s a banger.
Käärijä: I thought it would be an easy win but it’s not. It’s clearly a hit. If I ever took someone home on a night out, I’d play this. The boy sings well. I’m thinking I should have written a better song.
Robin Packalen: It’s sick! It’s also really fast.
Käärijä — “Cha Cha Cha”
“Cha Cha Cha” is a rollercoaster of a song, and so are the artist reactions to it, with fellow artists visibly impressed and full of anticipation as the song progresses.
Benjamin: Oh my god, it’s amazing!
Portion Boys: This is a great one. I’m really confused.
Lxandra: Ooh, all right.
Keira: Pretty scary. Change of genre.
KUUMAA: This is what we listen to on our tour bus. It’s like two different songs.
Robin Packalen: What the hell? Oh, something is happening now.
Keira — “No Business on the Dancefloor”
Not one but two fellow artists mistook Keira for Finnish global pop sensation Alma, with further compliments on the song’s Eurovision potential and melody.
Benjamin: A lovely Eurovision melody!
Portion Boys: A great voice. It think it’s Alma? Is it not? It sounds like a Eurovision winner.
Lxandra: Who is it? The singer has a good sound. It’s nice and groovy.
Käärijä: A great voice with personality. Ohhh, what happened?
KUUMAA: I’m thinking is it Alma? It’s not. It’s good but who is it?
Robin Packalen: Ok! Kind of oriental vibes. I thought it was oriental, here it is!
Lxandra — “Something To Lose”
Lxandra’s ballad left fellow artists much more speechless than others, who can be seen attentively listening to Lxandra’s vocals, the song and its emotional lyrics.
Benjamin: Love it. Goosebumps.
Portion Boys: Ah, it’s so beautiful. I feel like crying. The tune is so good. I love it, I love it.
Keira: I love the sound. I’m speechless. It’s a really beautiful song.
Käärijä: Wow. Who has a voice like this? Not me anyway. Small things can make the song sound really big.
KUUMAA: Is it Lxandra? It’s so nice! It’s amazing. It’s sick.
Robin Packalen: There’s something great about it, I don’t know what.
Benjamin — “Hoida Mut”
Finnish pop sensation Benjamin has had many a recent hit in Finland full of queer pop power, leading to many artists recognising him instantly. “Hoida Mut” was very well received, described by artists a sexy, 80s inspired, Finnish pop banger.
Lxandra: Is it Benjamin? It’s a good dance tune.
Portion Boys: Benjamin Peltonen! Sexy. Dripping with sex. Go!
Keira: I already know who it is!
Käärijä: Oh my. I’d add it on my playlist. Sh*t, it’s sick! Nice little elements.
KUUMAA: It’s Eurovision style. Wow! It could be our song. Let’s swap tunes.
Robin Packalen: 80s vibes. It sounds amazing!
Portion Boys — “Samaa Taivasta Katsotaan”
Also familiar with competing artists was Portion Boys, will more artists recognising their distinct style. Käärijä in particular loved their entry with many positive comments about “Samaa Taivasta Katsotaan” throughout.
Lxandra: Epic. Okay.
Benjamin: It’s Portion Boys! Oh my god!
Keira: I know Kimi Ráikkönen.
Käärijä: It’s so Portion Boys. Next summer, this will blow up the festivals. I can see myself partying to this at midsummer in Kalajoki.
KUUMAA: This track is fire. It’s the bomb. It is.
Robin Packalen: Ooo! Oh my.
Robin Packalen — “Girls Like You”
Last but not least, Robin Packalen has also had many hits in Finland since he was a teenager, leading many artists to recognise him. However, most of his hits have been in Finnish, with artists noticing his entry’s “international sound”. Not everyone recognised him though, with Benjamin calling him the “Finnish Dua Lipa” and commenting “go girl!”.
Lxandra: Isn’t it Robin?
Portion Boys: Why does the beginning have to be so good? It’s Robin! It’s so international, my gosh.
Keira: Great groove.
Käärijä: It doesn’t sound Finnish. The Weeknd vibes.
KUUMAA: Ooh. Here we go. Okay! Yes. That’s good.
Benjamin: I love the intro. Is it the Finnish Dua Lipa? or is it Dua Lipa? So sick!
The UMK 2023 final will take place on Saturday 25 February. The winning act will go on to represent Finland at Eurovision 2023 in Liverpool. The show can be watched live worldwide on Yle’s Areena streaming service with English commentary available.
What do you think? Which UMK act is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.