How to Eurovision: Finland 🇫🇮19 February 2021 at 17:00 CET
The 'land of a thousand lakes' joined the Contest in 1961 and ever since they've gifted viewers an enviable amount of pyrotechnics, bags of attitude and a lot of hard rock - hallelujah! What other country has the audacity to put Santa Claus and a band named Apocalyptica on the same stage during a Grand Final interval, as Finland did when they hosted in 2007?
Now, let's take a closer look at how Finland typically competes in Eurovision!
Finns bring the heat
Saunas are an integral part of Finnish culture, but when it comes to Eurovision they like to turn up the temperature in a slightly different way: pyrotechnics!
Take 2006 champions Lordi for example. With flame-like visuals in the background and shooting red and white fireworks throughout the chorus, no other entry is quite so emblematic of Finland at Eurovision.
Waldo's People continued the theme in 2009 with flaming bins and enthusiastic fire-dancers barely leaving singer Marko Reijonen without a singe!
And just when we thought Finland were going to cool things down with their 2018 entry Monsters, Saara Aalto let off a flare atop her mountainous stage as fire drizzled down like rain in the dying seconds of her performance.
Finland has finished last in the Contest 11 times, have received the dreaded "nul points" in 1963, 1965 and 1982, and since the introduction of the Semi-Finals in 2004, Finland has failed to reach the final 8 times.
However, it's not all doom and gloom for the Finnish. They've also achieved top 10 finishes on 10 occasions, albeit more so in their earlier years, but top 10 nonetheless.
You do have to give the country credit though. Despite not having the best track record when it comes to results, they've always come in with creativity and diversity - the many reasons why we all love the Eurovision Song Contest. Let's have a look at some examples!
For those about to rock...
When it comes to hard rock, the Moomin-loving Finns don't mess about. They've provided some of the most metal moments in the Eurovision Song Contest, from Hard Rock Hallelujah to Teräsbetoni's Missä Miehet Ratsastaa in 2008.
After Lordi brought the Contest to Helsinki in 2007, Finland's finest, Apocalyptica, featured as an interval act during the Grand Final. Another opportunity for the Finns to showcase their deep love of distorted guitars, emphatic rhythms, and vigorous vocals.
'Looking Back' at poppier moments
The Finns weren't always so fixated with rock and metal, offering a variety of pop and schlager tunes in their earlier years in the competition. This includes their first entry Valoa Ikkunassa (Laila Kinnunen, 1961) and Muistojeni Laulu (Laila Halme, 1963), before later moving towards the more upbeat styles of Carita's 1974 entry Äla Mene Pois (Keep Me Warm) and Monica Aspelund's 1977 Lapponia.
The 1980s sparked the beginning of their more adventurous years. In 1989 they entered with an Italian named song La Dolce Vita by Anneli Saaristo which landed them a 7th place finish in the Final. Perhaps more surprisingly though, the country went with a reggae tune in 1981 with the aptly named Reggae O.K. by Riki Sora. It did not do OK, finishing 16th in a field of 20.
There was also their 1985 entry (Eläköön Elämä, Sonja Lumme):
And 1986 act (Päivä Kahden Ihmisen, Kari Kuivalainen):
Which we included here for no other reason than for you to admire their hair.
In 1998 pop group Edea took their song Aava to Birmingham, noted for containing the fewest different words (just 6) of any Eurovision entry ever.
More recently Finland turned to Sandstorm-hitmaker Darude for inspiration, which he provided in the form of EDM banger Look Away, featuring vocals from his good pal Sebastian Rejman. Unfortunately they failed to qualify for the Grand Final.
When it comes to Eurovision, the Finns dare to walk on a different path - but we have to say that we love them all the more for it!