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!

31 Comments
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Gad
Gad
1 year ago

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

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

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

Karlan
Karlan
1 year ago

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

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago

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
Veta
1 year ago

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
Mallnka
1 year ago
Reply to  Veta

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

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

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
Jessica Mm
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

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
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  Jessica Mm

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

Héctor
Héctor
1 year ago

Gotta love Gunther. Incredible catchy.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

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
Heart of light
1 year ago

Where’s Opera Skaala

Azaad
Azaad
1 year ago

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
Erasmus
1 year ago

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

escfin
escfin
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

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
CookyMonzta
1 year ago
Reply to  escfin

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
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

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

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
1 year ago

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
Briekimchi
1 year ago
Reply to  Erasmus

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

esc1234
esc1234
1 year ago

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
KuhKatz
1 year ago

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.

Veta
Veta
1 year ago
Reply to  KuhKatz

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

Olivia
Olivia
1 year ago
Reply to  KuhKatz

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

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
1 year ago
Reply to  KuhKatz

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
esc26
1 year ago

How do us Finns always get this kind of attention

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago
Reply to  esc26

Good marketing. Simple, and effective.

Trash KAN
Trash KAN
1 year ago

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?

Raf
Raf
1 year ago

Let’s not forget Opera Skaala !

Mr. Vanilla Bean
Mr. Vanilla Bean
1 year ago

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.

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 year ago

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