Eurovision 2020

#FINLAND – LIVE BLOG of #UMK2023 from 20:00 CET

Hyvää iltaa Euroopassa ja hyvää huomenta Australiassa! It’s time for the 2023 edition of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu! Whoever wins tonight’s national selection will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool this May!!

Sit back and relax, and let Eurovision Ireland’s own James Scanlan entertain and inform you. As always, feel free to tell me what you think and give your opinions about tonight’s Final and who your favourites are! I might even shout out to you in the blog!

Tonight’s show is the 20th edition of UMK and is coming to us live from Logomo music venue in Turku, western Finland . Hosted by Samu Haber, there are a total of 7 songs trying to win that Finnish ticket to Eurovision 2023 and they will perform in the following order:

  1. Robin Packalen – Girls Like You
  2. Kuumaa – Ylivoimainen
  3. Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha
  4. Keira – No Business On The Dancefloor
  5. Benjamin – Hoida Mut
  6. Lxandra – Something To Lose
  7. Portion Boys – Samaa Taivasta Katsotaan

Tonight’s result will be decided by a mixture of international jury and a televote. Juries from Australia, Germany, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the UK will make up 25% of the result, while the Finnish public’s points will make up the remaining 75% – whoever wins will be the next Finnish representative at the Eurovision Song Contest!

If you want to watch along with all the fun yourself, you can watch HERE IN FINNISH SIGN LANGUAGE or HERE IN ENGLISH or HERE IN SWEDISH or HERE IN UKRAINIAN or HERE IN SAMI from 20:00 CET / 19:00 GMT. The show is scheduled to finish at 22:00 CET/ 21:00 GMT, but you’ve watched enough national selections to know that live TV rarely runs to schedule! 

You know the drill: Just refresh this page to get the comments, points of view and all that Eurovision Ireland goodness you know and love!


Olet liian aikainen! You’re too early! Come back at 20:00 CET to join in the fun from Turku!

You’ve got about 20 minutes till showtime, so get settled in, get your liquorice and pour yourself a Koskenkorva – it’s the best Scandinavia selection of the night starting soon! Lorraine who? 😉

10 minutes till showtime… this is usually the time of night I start wondering if I should learn Finnish… it fascinates me as a language!!

Here we go!

Last year’s ingénue Bess opens tonight’s show with some futuristic leather and TRON vibes with stark red and black colouring – she really is incredible, I hope she gets to represent Finland at the contest in the future, I was rooting for her to win last year! No disrespect intended, The Rasmus!

Speaking of last year, here’s RA PA PAM!! Just listen to that audience sing along! I really do LOVE this song! Such a feisty and fun feel to it! ❤

Looking a bit like Sam Ryder 50 years from now, here is Samu (!!) Haber, our host for this evening and what he describes as “the biggest music show in Finland”

I love the fact that UMK is being broadcast with commentary in so many languages, including Ukrainian and two dialects of Sami! The fact it’s also got English commentary also makes it a tad easier for me to know what’s happening rather than guessing!

These are the numbers you’ll need to vote tonight, though you’ll either need to be in Finland or have a Finnish SIM abroad, which they say “might work”…

This is what I love about UMK and Scandinavian selections in general – no hanging around, straight on with the songs! And first up, it’s Robin Packalen!

Robin Packalen – Girls Like You

Purple isn’t always an easy colour to pull off, but Robin does it well! It’s a slick and well choreographed routine, and I must admit I loved the bounce up with the trampoline – very innovative staging, simple but really memorable! Robin is a confident and likeable performer, and musically it’s very radio friendly – even if it’s a well trodden genre. It’s definitely a great way to kick off tonight’s show, and I’m curious to see what else is on offer!

Kuumaa – Ylivoimainen

Our first song in Finnish of the night, and it’s 80s-tastic! Well, they did say they were inspired by Stranger Things! There’s a real intensity to the way the band perform, and the way the lead singer smoulders down the camera works really well. It’s got that slight electronic/techno edge to it and the “oooooaaaooooh” chant is quite hypnotic combined with the music. I really enjoyed that! Finland could do much worse than sending that to Liverpool! Bravo!

Up next we have, according to some, the winner of tonight’s show – I’ve deliberately avoided listening to it until now so you get my first reaction! It’s time for Käärijä!

Käärijä – Cha Cha Cha

Oh blimey… where do I even begin to describe this! The close up camera work with him staring down the camera (more desperate than loveable, but still!), the acid green sleeves, choreography that would make Iceland’s Paul Oskar blush… it’s an all out assault on the senses in the best possible way!! It’s a bizarre hybrid of cha-cha, techno, punk, rap… and it’s in Finnish!! The audience are going wild for him and it’s obvious why, it’s just so much fun!! OK, I get the hype… I can see why earlier in the week he was 70% odds on winner of tonight – think that would go down really well in Liverpool!!

Keira – No Business On The Dancefloor

This was one of the few songs I heard before tonight and I enjoyed the studio cut, and live it’s got some nice touches to it. Dancers don’t always add to a performance like you’d expect them to, but in this instance it totally works. Keira’s vocals feel like they’re not quite there tonight as she’s difficult to understand at certain moments and if this gets selected to go to Liverpool, I think she needs to up her dance energy to match those around her. That being said, I love the flute breaks, makes it feel a little traditional as well as really dancy. A solid addition to the UMK line up, well done Keira!

Can you believe we’re well over half way through tonight’s songs already? I think poor Bogdan has 22 songs for San Marino tonight… as for anyone live blogging Sanremo, you have my deepest sympathies…

Benjamin – Hoida Mut

“Hoida Mut” translates roughly as “Do Me” – not sure if that’s imperative or merely a suggestion… though Benjamin is beckoning the camera towards him in his sleeveless leather vest, I suspect it isn’t a request… this has a fantastic beat and Benjamin performs with a confidence in himself and his voice that is phenomenal. There’s something incredibly sensual about his performance that could easily slip into being vulgar, but I feel like he’s treading the line well – and the moment his dancer held the microphone for him could have easily been an OffCom nightmare, but it works!! Wow… Finland, you’re really not making this easy, that was AMAZING!

Lxandra – Something To Lose

The only ballad in an 80s electronic sea (which sounds dangerous, water and electricity…) Lxandra immediately stands out as it’s such a change of pace. I love the staging with the silk fabric screens that obscure her just enough to add to the feeling of mystery and to the songs deep and poetic lyrics. She sings well and connects to the camera throughout, and I appreciate the beauty and message in the song’s lyrics. I’m wondering if I’m a little underwhelmed purely because of the fact it came after such an in-your-face number… running order really plays a part. Still, a solid and meaningful entry.

And now back to this burke… Sweden has never seen Finland as competition… bah… I know who I’ve liked more of their songs over the last 20 years…

I’ve been blogging for an hour and 5 minutes and we’re on to the last song of the night… definitely not hanging around in Turku!

Portion Boys – Samaa Taivasta Katsotaan

I liked the beginning with the postcard images from around Europe – and I know a certain Finn watching tonight who will really appreciate that too! 😀 There is a lot going on here on stage and though I’m tempted to say it’s bordering on too much, it sort of works… the band are hyped up on coffee and redbull, flying around the stage and having the time of their lives, which it’s impossible not to be swept up by and feel their enthusiasm. The drummer on a hoverboard, the high camera angles, the twirling and jumping and general going wild… it’s a lot, but it’s cohesive, so I’ll forgive it that. Portion Boys (por-tee-yon, not por-shun) are infectiously bouncy and happy, and that is how you end a live show – fantastic!

So there we go! 7 songs, 7 potential entries for Finland in Liverpool. While voting gets underway, I’m going to compose some thoughts about what I expect to happen going forward – brb!

As always, YLE have put on an incredible selection and reminded me why UMK is easily one of my favourite national selections in all of Eurovisiondom!! Even though there are only 7 songs, it’s still hard for me to choose who I think will win – there are at least 4 I see as viable winners!

Benjamin, Käärijä, Kuumaa and Portion Boys all strike me as having what it takes to claim victory, even though the bookies seem to think it’s a done deal for Käärijä. Robin Packalen clearly has a lot of support in the audience and across Finland, so I haven’t discounted him as a dark horse either. Keira;s performance needs a bit of polishing, but all the building blocks are there, and of course some would argue Finns have a natural propensity to ballads, so they may gravitate towards Lxandra… uff… I’m not sure… my head says Käärijä, my heart Benjamin…

I’ve noticed all the songs I’ve picked are quote upbeat and 80s, so it will be interesting to see both who the juries and who the public back. UMK, you’ve made this really hard to call, but I’m thrilled!

While Finland votes, we’re treated to some footage of the UMK class of 2023 listening to each others’ songs for the first time – I love how supportive they all are of each other and seem genuinely excited to hear each other! 😀

As the voting continues, here are last year’s UMK winners The Rasmus – these guys are incredible and I’m enjoying “Live And Let Die”! Jezebel was also a personal favourite last year, expected it to score a little higher than it did!

FINLAND, STOP VOTING NOW! Have you made good choices?

It’s time for the international juries to give their points, starting with the UK

Mr Eurovision himself? Urgh… when did our beloved song contest become the Wiwi Contest?

The UK give 10 to Kuumaa, 12 to Keira

Germany gives 10 to Lxandra, 12 to Käärijä

Spain also gives their 10 to Lxandra and 12 to Käärijä

A familiar face from Sweden, Miss Cornelia Jakobs giving out the points – Richard chatted to her last year in Turin, make sure to check that out on our YouTube channel!

Sweden gives 10 to Käärijä and their 12 to Benjamin – surprised he hasn’t picked up more points so far!

Poland up next, plugging their own national final tomorrow night! They give 10 to Käärijä, and 12 to Benjamin – that surprises me, thought Benjamin would be a bit risqué for Poland!

Australia are next, where you can see it’s already Sunday morning…

Australia give 10 to Lxandra, 12 to Käärijä – making 3 sets of 12 for Käärijä now

Last to give their points, last year’s Eurovision winners Ukraine – listen to that crowd cheer ❤

Unity, solidarity and humanity – Timur, you’re so so right!

Ukraine give 10 to Käärijä and 12 to Robin Packalen

So that’s the last jury to declare, meaning Käärijä is currently in the lead with 72, Lxandra in 2nd with 42 and Kuumaa 3rd on 44… it’s quite a substantial lead for Käärijä, but can he hold on to it? After all, we still have the Finnish public results, and they have more points to award!

There seems to be a bit of a delay with the results of the Finnish televote, so Samu is on to his third costume change of the night and is going to perform for us while we wait.

Do not adjust your sets…

I was just saying how much I love the sound of Finnish, and it always amazes me how it suits so may music rhythms like country here, but also tango if you remember Finland’s La Dolce Vita from Eurovision 1989… it’s so versatile and sounds so cool!

We are moments away from the result according to our commentator – Finland, who is going to Liverpool? Just as at Eurovision itself, the lowest scoring jury song will receive its points first, which in this case is Portion Boys

124 additional points for Portion Boys, bringing them to 152

Robin Packalen gets another 81 extra points, bringing him to 109

Another 32 points from the televote for Benjamin, giving him 66 overall… he looked a little stunned…

Keira gets 91 from the televote, brining her to 2nd place with 133… 2nd place for now, I should say!

63 for Kuuma, giving them 107 overall… seeing these numbers, I’m confident whoever has won the televote has done so by a landslide!

24 points from the televote for Lxandra… that just confirms my theory, I think!

It’s either Käärijä or Portion Boys going to Liverpool… this is tense!

It’s 467 points from the Finnish public for Käärijä, meaning 539 overall! Käärijä is off to Eurovision!

Told you it would be a decisive televote winner! Below is the full table of results!

Congratulations Käärijä! We will see you in Liverpool at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023!! 🇫🇮🇫🇮🇫🇮🇫🇮🇫🇮

Thank you for reading along tonight, kiitos! I hope you’ve enjoyed my thoughts on goings on in Turku!

Thank you Europe and good night!

Author: James Scanlan
Source: YLE

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