Over its past two editions, Uuuden Musiikin Kilpailu — the Finnish Eurovision selection known as UMK — has focused on a single artist performing three new songs. But ahead of the 2020 selection, producers have announced they’ll return to their previous format, where multiple artists will compete for the chance to represent Finland at the song contest.

There’s a lot to be excited about. For years UMK was a decidedly more experimental selection than those of its Nordic neighbours. The display of Finnish talent spanned all manner of styles, quality, taste and wackiness. We’re talking fifty shades of zany! Once the show even gave construction workers and taxi drivers seats at the judging table. Amid all that there was never a shortage of songs to play and replay.

With that in mind, we’ve chosen ten songs that we feel highlight some of the best talent Finland has given us at UMK over the years. None of them made it to Eurovision, proving just how deep the well of talent is in Suomi. Anyway, and without further ado, let’s revisit!

1. Siru – “Mustelmat”

We have to start with what is, to date, the highest scoring song in the history of the Wiwi Jury. With a score of 9.7 out of 10, it’s safe to say this Finnish-language ballad was everyone’s cup of tea back prior to the live shows. A heart-on-sleeve performance that spoke to beauty in bruises and pain with booming instrumentals, Siru was the clear front-runner. That made her elimination in the semifinal a shocker that’s still felt in the Eurovision bubble today. Nevertheless “Mustelmat” will remain a high of the 2015 national final season.

2. Mikael Saari – “We Should Be Through”

In 2013, the world was introduced to Mikael Saari, whose heartfelt tale “We Should Be Through” immediately put the Nordic country on the map as a favorite to go for gold in Sweden. The juries ranked him joint first, but he ended as runner-up to Krista Siegfrids’ pop banger “Marry Me”. Saari tried once again in 2016 — and to much acclaim. But he came short once again, and Finnish fans have clamoured for his return ever since.

3. Eini – “Draamaa”

Serving schlager so potent it could make some Melfest divas blush, Eini’s cheeky and booming “Draamaa” delivered a statement on stage. Fireworks, sexy dancers and unabashed fun, this is a diva at her finest. “Even if you’ve made mistakes for decades and forgiven so many things, this is now, and will always be, the same kind of drama.” Queen knows how to keep it real!

4. Opera Skaala – “Heart of Light”

There has been no act more flamboyant to step on a stage than this Opera-EDM crossover queen. The pathos and histrionics that lead singer Essi exuded, the baroque costumes, the flawless vocal flourishes and those LEGS, “Heart Of Light” emerged as a favourite to take it all and fly the flag to Vienna. Coming in third place, Opera Skaala has cemented their status as a UMK highlight we revisit over and over.

5. MIAU – “God/Drug”

In this writer’s opinion, this three-piece girl rock band is the epitome of confusion that leads to addiction. While MIAU could have been seen as underdogs, the fact that they achieved third place in a highly acclaimed version of UMK only gives more power to the point. You made us listen, you made us replay, you made us fall in love. And we’re still not entirely sure why!

6. Mikko Pohjola – “Sängyn reunalla”

And from gold, we go to silver. Mikko’s easy going Finnish tale won hearts and judges from all over, and was deemed a favorite to take it all from the start. Alas, he finished as 2014’s runner-up. He brought a soothing voice, an ethereal feel and major power behind the voice and instrumentals. It all channeled quality. Filled with heart and soul, “Sängyn reunalla” still came just short at home.

7. Jasmin Michaela – “Kertakäyttösydän”

You could argue that 2014 was a fine year for Finland — between having a great winner in the form of Softengine and this pop princess with a tongue-twister of a name. “Disposable Heart” was a fiery, unapologetic piece of pop and a unique way to display the Finnish language. She didn’t make the final, but we encourage Jasmin to keep trying to dance her way into Finnish hearts once more.

8. Lili Lambert – “Let Me Take You There”

We hit 2014 again, albeit with one of their earliest cuts. Lili Lamber caught our attention with the studio version of her track — a hot slice of Scandipop we’re sure that Finland’s neighbours would have loved to get their hands on. A victim of a flimsy live, she can be proud of the finished product. It’s as ready for 2020 as can be!

9. Diandra – “Colliding into you”

2013’s third place finisher brought this modern, mid-tempo piece of R&B ready to storm the Top 40. This Finnish-Chilean diva was not one to shy away, in style or in vocals. There’s only one way to love him, but thousands of ways to love “Colliding Into You”.

10. Lauri Yrjöla – “Helppo Elama”

The only Finnish-language song in 2017, Lauri kept it cool as Lapland with his song “Easy Life”. While not managing to break into the top 5, he was one of the best singers of the night, and won over scores of new fans with his easygoing vibe.

What do you think? Are you excited for UMK’s return? What artists do you want to see in the lineup? Which is your fav song from UMK to date? Let us know in the comments below!

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Cecile Cloutier
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Cecile Cloutier

Send the folk- metal band Amorphiis! Their “Golden Elk” is pop-prog-black metal of the most theatrical order. They could do a three minute edit easy. Or write something equally OTT and amazing. If listeners respond that strongly to KEiiNO, they’re gonna dig Amorphiis.

Krista
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Krista

Oh god! MIAU! I forgot this crazy thing… I mean I love it! I hope we send some metal to the plate next year! Something like Amaranthe, and I Know them to be swedish. 😀 Can’t wait to see what will it be!

Karlan
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Karlan

Can Topi Latukka solo in 2020? Softengine songs are pretty good.But no means no. Finland has a lot of talent

Maya G
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Maya G

“We Should Be Through” is such a missed opportunity for Finland. It would have made an amazing impression at Eurovision.

ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

In a world full of justice, Saara Aalto would have won the Eurovision with “Blessed With Love” 2011, “No Fear” 2016 AND “Queens” 2018 😀

Katariina
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Katariina

As much as I love Krista, “We Should Be Through” and “Colliding Into You” were both MUCH better than her entry.

Geo
Guest
Geo

Mikael Saari is pure gold, the juries will adore him (look at North Macedonian massive jury votes). Even though he’ll try to compete again I’m sure Finland will pick another radio trash song (like the awful Krista Sigfried, Sandja, Darude…and so on. Even for Saara Alto they’ve picked a horrible song, not suitable with her amazing vocal range)… Pick wisely this time, Finland!

Peti
Guest
Peti

as usual Finland hav alot of good songs in the NF that could have done good in ESC. Instead they usually send something mediocre or so local that no one outside of Finland can appreciate it.

Cedric
Guest

I would have added “Good Enough” by Annica Milan and Kimmo Blom as well. I also love “Mustelmat”, “Heart of Light” and “Draamaa” <3

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Good things come in threes: Mikael Saari, Mikael Saari, Mikael Saari. It should have been him in 2013, it should have been him in 2016 and damn sure should be him in 2020.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

This is most welcome news. 2015 and 2017 were two of my favourite years by Finland. I like music that is thought-provoking and challenging (I know not everyone does), and both those years achieved that in different ways. I have nothing against Saara Aalto or Darude (indeed I found neither of their songs offensive to my ears), but this is a once a year event, I want to hear something different and interesting – I trust Finland, probably more so than a lot of Countries, have the capacity to deliver!

Kris
Guest
Kris

I also liked Arrows from 2017 , Alva

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

UMK is two words for me: terrible decisions. There are great entries in the selection each year, but they manage to pick terrible entries most of the times. 2015 and 2016 (and 2017 to some extent) are PRIME examples of terrible choices.

Kris
Guest
Kris

Crossroads from 2015 was really good too !!
And I liked that hold your Colors song – the best of the twin writers’ entries who wrote songs for ESC selection all over , Lynda and Ilva

Sam
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Sam

Another of my favourites from UMK history is Satin Circus, but for the coming edition I hope they bring ‘Something better’, something more Softengine-style.

where are my dragons?
Guest
where are my dragons?

No fe he he here , no fe he he he heeeeeere
No fe he he here …

Kris
Guest
Kris

Yeah , that was good too

Fania
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Fania

Where is ”No fear” by Saara Aalto? O.O

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

the way y’all completely erased the memory of the late emma sandström… rip

Kris
Guest
Kris

Late ?

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

Pretending this train wreck never happened is actually doing her a big favor. Even dead it still has the power to haunt and torment.

andrea
Guest
andrea

I’m sorry… but seriously how can you be so rude? It’s been 3 years, she might haven’t live up your expectations that night but that’s not an excuse to spread all this hate about her. She is still in the Eurovision bubble for a reason, and you cannot judge an artist by only one single performace

esc_jonathan
Guest
esc_jonathan

All good acts but you forgot the best (Emma – Circle of light)

Dutchiee
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Dutchiee

They forgot Circle of Light – Emma

insalata di cesare
Guest
insalata di cesare

Fortunately

CookyMonzta
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CookyMonzta

They need to consider rocking again, and get serious with it, like they did with Softengine (2014), and unlike the tragedy that was PKN (2015). Consider that Iceland went dystopian industrial, and broke a 4-year slump and finished in the top 10.

Who would the Finns send, if they went hard-rock again? And if not rock, will Mikael try for the 3rd time?

Doriee
Guest
Doriee

Mikael Saari – “On It Goes”, what a great miss.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Aye! He would have qualified, and quite likely finished in the top-half. The sooner it went to Sandhja, I knew their goose was cooked. Will Mikael try again at UMK 2020?

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

#1 and #6 are serving.
Not jamming the others tho.

KESC
Guest
KESC

I need an entry like Circle of Light. 🙂 Hopefully, Finland won’t let is down this year.

And.195
Guest
And.195

Same! I just need an Emma Sandström all the way for Finland for 2020 or in the future year, not matter what the others say, she is an amazing singer and a devote hardworker… If she wins in the future years,I could easily sell my house to have enough money to vote for her

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

The 2 of us really have the same taste 😀 (except for “Tempo” 😛 )

KESC
Guest
KESC

You mean Margaret’s?

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

Exactement, Monsieur 😉

KESC
Guest
KESC

Alors, merci!
I don’t remember if I liked the song or not tbh 😀 I think it was a good song, but In My Cabana was much better.

Latvian
Guest
Latvian

I knew that Finns had made some weird choices, but some of these are top 15 worthy