Finland has spoken and the country has chosen its representative for the 67th Eurovision Song Contest. Käärijä, also known as Jere Pöyhönen, will be performing his song 'Cha Cha Cha' in Liverpool, after winning the national final, Uuden musiikin kilpailu (UMK) on Saturday 25 February in Turku.
Käärijä's victory was no small feat, as he won by a landslide, securing a total of 539 points. The runner-up, Portion Boys, earned the silver with 152 points. In the competition, seven highly-tipped songs were pitted against each other for the UMK trophy. The Finnish public had the majority say in how the voting went, with a 75% weighting towards the final result, while an international jury contributed 25% of the scores.
Käärijä is an artist who defies categorization, loving to break boundaries, follow his own beat and explore new things. His music takes on a whole new dimension live, and his unfettered live performances are what he’s known for. Käärijä's passion for music started with drumming, and after trying his hand at rap, he released his debut single Urheilujätkä in 2016. Since then, Käärijä has combined elements from rap, metal, and electronic music, creating a sound that defies genre constraints.
Käärijä has been interested in UMK for several years and was 150% sure he would submit an entry this year. His winning song, 'Cha Cha Cha,' brings together the best elements of Finnish music. "Finland is a party country, a heavy metal country, and a pop country – this song brings all of those together," Käärijä says.
Finland made its debut at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961, but it wasn't until Lordi's win with 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' in 2006 that the country placed in the top five. The top five finish has eluded Finland since then, though they came close in 2021, when Blind Channel finished in 6th place with 'Dark Side.'
Käärijä's victory at UMK23 has put Finland on track to possibly break that streak. Finland will perform in the First Semi-Final at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. The contest will be held in Liverpool from 9-13 May, 2023.