Finland’s national final, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK), provided one of the more contentious results of the 2020 season when the fan favourite was beaten into second place, despite winning the public vote. The international juries did not concur though. Sadly, much unwarranted vitriol was launched at the winner, and while Finland’s 2020 song was last in my top 41 countdown last year, the spite and nastiness was totally uncalled for. Perhaps reflecting on this, the voting format has changed from 50/50 split between public vote and international jury to a 75/25 split with the public vote the more heavily weighted.
Seven songs will be competing for the right to be Finland’s entry for 2021 and it’s a good mix of musical genres. The show takes place from 7pm UK time and can be viewed on Finnish broadcaster Yle’s website.
The (betting and fan) favourite: Blind Channel “Dark Side”
Finland are certainly fond of their rock and metal and in 2021 the alternative rock/violent pop band Blind Channel have emerged as hot favourites to win the national final. There’s certainly something of the Linkin Park in this song, and it still ticks the Eurovision box of having a distinct and catchy chorus. That said, it’s not my genre of my music, and while I do like musical diversity at Eurovision, I doubt this would find its way high on my top 41.
My favourite (and overall second favourite): Teflon Brothers x Pandora “I Love You”
Second favourite according to the betting and fan polls, this 80s and 90s inspired pop song has had the most YouTube views of the 7 finalists. The Teflon Brothers are actually a hip hop band (and speak-sing the verses in Finnish) while Swedish artist Pandora sings the catchy chorus in English. Pandora was most successful in the 1990s as Eurodance/pop artist and those influences are clear in the song. It’s upbeat, retro, catchy (maybe a little repetitive in the chorus lyrics) but it would be my favoured song to go through by a long way.
The returning 2020 artist: Aksel “Hurt”
Aksel was the 2020 winner and I will admit was not my favourite at all, yet didn’t deserve the vile comments he got after his win. Yle did not invite him back as an internal selection and announced they would be going ahead with a national final again. Aksel had indicated he would not be entering in 2021 but surprised everyone when the list of finalists was released earlier this year. He’s bringing another poignant ballad, not dissimilar to last year, but a much better and stronger song (in my view). It’s third favourite, but it does seem quite a long shot for him to repeat his win of last year.