Finns have a love of hard rock and metal, but this year, they have gone for Something Better, a more palatable option performed by rock outfit Softengine. They won their national final convincingly but would they be able to convince those watching their first rehearsal today?
The staging for Finland’s Softengine is minimalistic with few effects, and a mostly black backdrop to begin with. There is however a ton of lights on stage which almost blind the viewer at times.
Lead singer Topi Latukka is wearing a silver jacket over a black shirt. He is very much the anti-performer, keeping his eyes closed and failing to connect with the camera for much of the rehearsal. Perhaps he too was blinded by the light? There were some fantastic close ups of Topi but these were mostly wasted due to his eyes being firmly shut most of the time. As the song picks up, the backdrop changes to a deep, dramatic red before rotating beams come into play, which look spectacular on screen.
With him, Topi has a drummer, a pianist, two guitarists and a keyboard on stage; all members are smartly turned out. His first run through sounded as if he was somehow holding back vocally; there wasn’t the same drive and power in his expression as witnessed in the national final. This however improved significantly from the second run through.
This is vibrant, youthful, energetic and melodic rock at its best that leaps ot of the screen, almost punching the viewer. We have seen contemporary adult rock at Eurovision before, with the likes of Swiss Lovebugs failing to connect or make any impact with viewers whatsoever. The boys made a good first impression, and hopefully those watching semi two will consider the finnish offering as something better and vote it to the final.