In a few days, we’ll know who has made the shortlist to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in May.
Seven acts are set to face off at Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) 2024. Whoever they may be, they will have a tough time topping the standout performance from last year. Jere Pöyhönen, better known as Käärijä, took Finland from European dark horses to fan favourites. Along with some very memorable backup dancers, he won the public vote in a landslide with the song “Cha Cha Cha”.
Käärijä: How the Finnish rapper won the public vote
Käärijä was always going to be different from his European rivals.
“He had no filter in a very charming sort of way,” Matti Myllyaho, the show’s producer, told Wiwibloggs.
That much was clear at their first meeting.
“He walked in basically shirtless underneath his jacket. It was a chilly September day, and it was like 9 a.m., and, you know, a corporate broadcaster office in Helsinki, and we’re like, oh, this guy is interesting.”
Interesting he was. Finnish viewers fell in love with Käärijä, sending him to Liverpool with 72 jury points and a staggering 467 televoting points, leaving his closest competitor, Portion Boys, far behind with 152 points in total.
“We’re aware, as a team at UMK, that we cannot recreate this Käärijä phenomenon,” Matti admitted. “But we’re very focused on gathering all the ingredients and having a different kind of phenomenon, and hopefully, something will happen in Spring.”
In this episode of “What Really Happened at Eurovision?” We delve into the story of how Finland, a nation that very much thinks of itself as the underdogs in the contest, almost snatched the prize from under Sweden’s nose. We learn about the origins of the song “Cha Cha Cha,” the immense pressure that fell on Käärijä and we hear about the plans for this year’s UMK.
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