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.

You can listen on YouTube, Spotify or wherever else you get your podcasts. 

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BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago

Anyone have ideas for subjects of future episodes? I was thinking about the four way tie in 1969, Serbia and Austria winners in 2007 and 2014 respectively, the Dutch Renaissance of the 2010s, the history of the controversial relegation system, and how it led to the big five and semifinals later on.

Badwoolfgirl
Badwoolfgirl
1 month ago

Off-topic, but the songs for Ireland’s Euro song will be revealed this week and it will take place on 26 January on the late late show. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (obviously I’m being sarcastic here).

The Voice of Reason
The Voice of Reason
1 month ago

I think it WILL inevitably happen again, whether it be Baby Lasagna or Joost Klein…but that’s a GOOD thing.

Yuarith
Yuarith
1 month ago

Käärijä was a nice phenomenon and what he achieved in Liverpool was incredible and unprecedented!
I’m glad that YLE are having a sobre approach about it by not trying to repeat that, though

Bandido
Bandido
1 month ago
Reply to  Yuarith

Actually we don’t know yet, if 2024 UMK has similar act? Moreover hope Finns don’t fall for that, just because it worked 2023.