Suomi has a winner! After a bloody battle for the all-expenses paid trip to Rotterdam, it was Blind Channel who won Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2021 in Tampere, Finland, beating six worthy opponents in one of the best-staged editions of UMK ever. They’ll sing “Dark Side” at Eurovision 2021.
Blind Channel wins UMK 2021 with “Dark Side”
Blind Channel stole the night, finishing first with both the international jury and the televote. They made the stage look enormous, giving it the feel of a proper rock concert with strobes and plenty of on-stage charisma. Rock on!
“Dark Side” is an anarchic anthem to parties in the dark, so say Blind Channel before adding that it perfectly condenses the core of the group. “We want to show that even if life is darker and harsher, you can still have fun. This song is for all those who feel outward and inadequate, who have sometimes made up their minds to raise the middle finger and shout. We claim that there are many such people in the world, and Eurovision is a celebration of unity, in whatever form!” There won’t be a live audience at UMK, but Blind Channel created the track with one in mind. “We wanted this song to hook me up immediately and get the listener to the fair”.
The group describe the sound as “violent pop”. And indeed, “Dark Side” is littered with many disturbing references. The most notable is the 27 Club. This is a list of notable musicians, artists and actors who have died at 27. It includes Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.
The field of competitors was diverse, as to be expected. Teflon Brothers X Pandora opened the show with a bang, microwaving a set of dishes that resembled an alien spaceship before performing euro-pop on a spacecraft of their own. Last year’s golden boy, Aksel, changed the pace with an emotional song called “Hurt”, singing in front of a rocky landscape and accompanied by slow-moving dancers (who didn’t particularly dance, but walked). And Estonia decided to outsource their Eurovision queen Laura Pöldvere over to their neighbours. She straddled a giant golden chess piece, a playful take on her song “Play”. Not like we’re complaining!
Finland, as per usual, offered us a glamorous show. Even without regular host Krista Sigfrieds, who just had a baby, the show was warm, bright and filled with gorgeous musical moments. Finland’s most popular pop star Antti Tuisku — loved for his occasionally raunchy flair — stepped up to host, proving once again to be performer par excellence. One of our favourite moments was when he oversaw the points segment wearing his own take on Dana International’s bird-of-paradise encore look from Eurovision 1998. With the help of UMK´s queen of 2020, Erika Vikman, he opened the show with a magnificent mash-up song performance, of course including the ever so unforgettable “Cicciolina”.
UMK 2021 – Grand final results
- Blind Channel – “Dark Side” (551 points)
- Teflon Brothers x Pandora – “I Love You” (180 points)
- Ilta – “Kelle mä soitan” (149 points)
- Oskr – “Lie” (115 points)
- Aksel – “Hurt” (108 points)
- Danny – “Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua” (60 points)
- Laura – “Play” (13 points)
UMK 2021: Jury results
International juries from seven countries outside Finland contributed to 25% of the overall score. Each national jury consisted of four people. Their individual points were added together to determine the country’s overall points, which their head juror then read out on TV. The jurors included Klemens from Iceland’s Hatari and our founding editor William Lee Adams for the UK. Here is how the jury ranked the seven songs.
The seven international juries were: United Kingdom, Switzerland, United States, Poland, Iceland, Spain, and The Netherlands
1 Blind Channel – “Dark Side” (72 points)
2 Oskr – “Lie” (62 points)
3 Aksel – “Hurt” (56 points)
4 Ilta – “Kelle mä soitan” (48 points)
5 Teflon Brothers x Pandora – “I Love You” (30 points)
6 Danny – “Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua” (22 points)
7 Laura – “Play” (4 points)
UMK 2021: Public vote results
1 Blind Channel – “Dark Side” (479 points)
2 Teflon Brothers x Pandora – “I Love You” (159 points)
3 Ilta – “Kelle mä soitan” (101 points)
4 Oskr – “Lie” (53 points)
5 Aksel – “Hurt” (52 points)
6 Danny – “Sinä päivänä kun kaikki rakastaa mua” (39 points)
7 Laura – “Play” (9 points)
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Photo: YLE / Miikka Varila