Recently we made a list of ten unforgettable songs from the Finnish national selection Uuuden Musiikin Kilpailu — better known as UMK. But the truth of the matter is that you can’t sum up the wonders of UMK with just 10 songs, as, since its inception in 2012, it has featured the great and the unusual, the confusing and the shocking, and everything in between. So, in light of Finland reverting back to a multiple artist competition for 2020, it’s time to go back in time and highlight some of the moments that left us speechless in one way or another.

1. Shava – “Ostarilla”

Welcome to Finndia! Only at UMK would you find yourself some spicy Bhangra beats sung in Finnish. Colorful, addictive and just a bit overwhelming, these artists considered themselves favorites to go to Vienna. Sadly they only mustered eighth place in a nine-person final. And in true Bollywood-style, they blew the six-person limit through the roof by bringing everyone they could muster for the hot dance numbers! How would this have been staged if it were sent to Eurovision will always remain mystery.

2. Norlan El Misionario – “No Voy a Llorar Por Ti”

Way before the “Despacito” craze of the 2017 national final season, we had an honest to God reggaeton number down to every single cue. And it wasn’t from Spain, but rather from the cold, spruce-laden north via Finnish-Cuban sensation Norlan El Misionario with this nostalgic yet danceable tribute to his father. Plenty of acts have tried to bring Latin flavor to the Eurovision stage, but Norlan’s was the most earnest act we have seen in that regard across all national finals. Spanish reggaeton in Finland? Wrap your head around that!

3. Stig – “Laululeija”

There is quite a lot to unpack about UMK 2012’s third place act, which was reportedly the heavy favourite to go to Baku. Was it the backwoods aesthetic? The flannel folk fashion? The lack of eye contact with the camera for the whole number or the extensive Finnish quasi mumbling? I see this as the salty liquorice entry: a delight to Finland, but outside of the border it would be a two-minute-twenty-second eyebrow raiser. After a while it does become hypnotic in a way, though…

4. Club La Persé – “My Little World”

And this one goes to the club kids! In 2017 we saw the four-piece ensemble — consisting of Mr C*nt, Jean Michelle, Miss Anti-Socialite Lili Butterfly Effective 2.0 and Ellen Vivan — do what they do best: create chaos. But catchy chaos nonetheless. Amid all kinds of makeup, colors and thumping beats, this song about longing for love was the one that ingrained on everyone’s mind in the run-up to that edition of UMK. This little world is out of this dimension and it’s still screaming.

5. Angelo De Nile – “All For Victory”

De Nile is not just a river in Egypt, but also the most passionate singer in all of Northern Europe. The seriousness Angelo had singing this theatrical rock number surrounded by the cast of 300 is actually un-ironically admirable. Not every act has the confidence to count with that many sustained high notes in the span of three minutes and not one, but TWO false endings. He lived for victory, but ended up scoring a respectable fifth place. Et tu, Suomi?

6. ClemSO – “Thief”

With a barebones beat louder than his voice and heavily-accented English (and bonus Yoruba, which was difficult for many of us to distinguish), ClemSO brought his own Nigerian flavor to the melting pot that is UMK. It resulted in three minutes of me trying to figure out what the lyrics were, and when I encountered the very flattering line “Your backside like Aso rock, Yepa kileleyi, I go like to preside over it, yeah yeah” I was indeed, sold, that “Thief” is art.

7. Gunther feat. D’Sanz – “Love Yourself”

If you’re going to have a Swedish star in your national final, the only option is the mastermind behind the “Ding Dong Song”…and featuring the Spanish-Finnish D’Sanz to give added kick. Between loving yourself, touching yourself and finding your inner beauty, this is essentially a DIY kit to slaying inside and out. The song reached fifth place, so there are very clearly some Finns who enjoy a bit of self-love every now and then.

8. Aikuinen – “Kyynelten lahti”

Never anywhere else will you find a song that’s this depressing but wrapped in such a bubbly and charming package. A real anthem for the losers of the world, Aikuinen is a DEVO-inspired Stepford Smiler happy to tell you about how he lost the lottery last Saturday, how sorrow will always be his best dance partner and how Sweden will score a huge five-to-one lead over Finland. If we’re talking about the song today, in 2019, it might be prudent to tell Aikuinen that lead has been extended to six to one.

9. Knucklebone Oscar & The Shangri-La Rubies- “Caveman”

Sometimes you wonder how a song could make the cut to the national final in the first place. After much thought and self-reflection, I can confidently say this is not one of those cases, as this is actually brilliant. The level of confidence and showmanship that Oscar displays during the three minutes alongside his Rubies in this rockabilly fantasy is simply epic. From a piggyback ride across the crowd to the smashing of his guitar at the end, this entry really does have it all. Maybe this REALLY is the fried chicken, and in fact, this is the DNA.

10. Pää-Äijät – “Shamppanjataivas”

And we end with what is likely the largest party ever to happen in any national final across Europe. The “Shamppanjataivas” stage performance of UMK 2016 really brought the event to life. Champagne showers, pizza deliveries and guys in fox suits framed our protagonists who sang in a bubble bath, delivering a vibe reminiscent of a house party gone south in record time. And it could not have ended with a more fitting conclusion than the act ascending and being suspended mid-air. Truly outstanding.

What do you think? Do any of these UMK moments bring a smile to your face? Do you think UMK 2020 will have any acts that can top these? Let us know in the comments below!

38
Leave a Reply

avatar
18 Comment threads
20 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
22 Comment authors
GadESCFan2009CookyMonztaBriekimchiRockfan Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Gad
Guest
Gad

Unforgettable were reach out for the sun by Anni Saikku (amazing song) and Paradise, both from 2017!

Karlan
Guest
Karlan

In UMK 2015 had a lot of great songs.I would like to return its participants in 5 years.
Satin Circus
Pihka ja Myrsky
Siru
Otto Ivar
Eeverest
Jouni Aslak
Opera Skaala
Ida Bois
Aikuinen
Angelo de Nile
Järjestyshäiriö

Any of them may return

Rockfan
Guest
Rockfan

Sadly PNK cannot return because they split

Rockfan
Guest
Rockfan

Finland 🙂 A GREAT! NF / ESC country. So many rock songs. And interesting songs in general. Clearly best of the Nordics!

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Definitely could make an argument for it but Norway has also had some amazing NFs. 😉

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

Apart from Club la Persie (of course!!), so many good, original, cool and memorable songs! No wonder that we love UMK. So much more innovative, musically daring and interesting than the ultra-generic MF! BUT there should be more rock / metal songs here. THEY are UMK at the VERY best!!! 🙂

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

Haha, yes, “Club La Perse” was a very interesting act and the “dadadadada” is incredibly catchy, if you want it or not xD
Opera Skaala was amazing! Would have loved to see her at Eurovision, but it would have been as controversial as Kate Miller-Heidke and maybe even as Il Volo (though they won the televote) and Elina N., because I believe that you either love or hate opera xD

Veta
Guest
Veta

The 2d, 3d and 10th songs are really good ones.
Finland is one of my favourite countries in ESC (loved all of their entries of the past 10 years except Marry Me and Look Away) and now I understand why. Because they seem to always have from where to choose, with songs like these in their NFs, the general level of quality of their NF is obviously high, which results in having great entries in ESC.

Mallnka
Guest
Mallnka

they always have good entries in national selections, but never choose the right one ( except 2014.)

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Lots of amazingness. But really, leaving out Opera Skaala? Why?
I too miss the multi-act years of UMK. And especially the music videos to those entries as well – those were often outstanding. 🙂
Okay, if you would like a criticism… I have never been a big fan of UMK’s live sound – it’s past time to sort that out. (But you may already know that.)

Jessica Mm
Guest
Jessica Mm

Opera Skaala is in the separate list of 10 songs that made them fall in love with UMK which is linked at the very start of the story. They probably didn’t want to repeat songs.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Ah, thanks Jessica. That distinction wasn’t clear to me.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

Gotta love Gunther. Incredible catchy.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Shava, Angelo De Nile and Gunther all actually had really good songs and were worthy of at least being in the conversation for ESC. For this type of list, 2016 was my favourite UMK and you could’ve easily included Lieminen, Eini or Cristal Snow in this list as being “unforgettable”.

Heart of light
Guest
Heart of light

Where’s Opera Skaala

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

I wonder if they’ll preserve the novelty factor that was dominant in pre 2018 UMK when they bring back the traditional format, or drop it in favour of trying to do improve their recent performance at the contest.

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

OK these are joke entries, what about Mikael Saari, Emma, Anni Saikuu and so on, such good songs!

escfin
Guest
escfin

I loved Circle of Light as a song but let’s be honest, the live performance was one of the worst I’ve ever seen

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Once Emma lost track of the tempo on stage, she lost the contest and it was Norma John who came through.

As for the trainwrecks, I’m just disappointed that a trance deejay named JS16 (Jaakko Salovaara) had to get himself mixed up with that circus that was Club La Persé. 🙁

Mikael Saari’s time is due, if he tries again. And has Opera Skaala recorded anything since that last UMK appearance?

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Mikael is the winner of UMK 2020, obviously. Or else, Finland can book a permanent semi final exit.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

If he signs up, I’d co-sign in a minute…

…Unless Sara Forsberg changes her mind about the ESC and gives UMK a shot.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

I assure you that Angelo De Nile was in fact, taking this very very seriously. 😉

Robyn Gallagher
Editor
MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

JOKE entries?? None of them are, apart rom the awful kitschy Club la persie. On the contary, they are really cool, innovative, daring and great songs. More interesting than those you mention, I dare say!

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

it would be funny if they got nice results but all these messy acts are a reason why finland struggles in the competition. #sayitlikeitis

KuhKatz
Guest
KuhKatz

UMK 2015 was amazing, so much diversity.
Retrospective, it was a mistake that PKN won (even though I respect their courage), Satin Circus would‘ve done much better.

Overall, Finland still needs some new ideas, one close qualification in the last five years isn‘t enough (although Norma John should‘ve gone through).
Why don‘t try something heavy again? Finland has a wide range of heavy metal bands, and it‘s a pity, that only Lordi and Teräsbetoni tried their luck so far.

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

PKN was just BRILLIANT! A worthy winner. So daring, uncompromised with pure old school punk! OK – I understand someone might critisize them for using the “politically corret-card” (as with Conchita the year before!), but in this care I think it was worth it. Not ESC-friendly, but that’s just good! And with televoting, they would have qualfied. That’s Finland in ESC at their best, just doing their OWN thing, not caring about “right for ESC”. Wish Sweden did the same!

Veta
Guest
Veta

So much agree with every word from your this comment, MusicIstheKey. Loved Aina Mun Pitaa, awesome entry.

Olivia
Guest
Olivia

I hate when people tell us ”You should try heavy/rock again”. We also have another kind of music here in Finland. 😀

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Same here, with regard to PKN; but like I said about 16-year-olds Anita and Michele from San Marino (2015), they were being thrown to the wolves once they qualified for Eurovision.

esc26
Guest
esc26

How do us Finns always get this kind of attention

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Good marketing. Simple, and effective.

Trash KAN
Guest
Trash KAN

UMK has been getting weak as time goes by. Many good acts like the ones mentioned above are getting wasted and this NF will then choose the wrong act to go to Eurovision in the end (except 2017). This has started since 2015. What’s happening to them?

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

2015 was just perfect. 2016, 17 were good too. But 2018 and 2019 were NOT good! But also their NFs were not as interesting in 2018 and 2010 (or even in 2017)

Raf
Guest
Raf

Let’s not forget Opera Skaala !

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Guest
Mr. Vanilla Bean

Still better than UMK 2018 and 2019. Glad the “good, old UMK times” are coming back, there’s bound to be something decent among the freak shows.

MusicIstheKey
Guest
MusicIstheKey

Yep, the two last years have been bad. So much better before.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

UMK 2018 was awesome. With “Queens” and the right staging, Saara would have been Top 5 <3