It would be fair to say that Finland are hit or miss at Eurovision, and that has been consistent through their lengthy history. The nation has only won the contest once, back in 2006 with Lordi, but have since not managed to take the top spot again. This year, Aksel Kankaanranta was set to represent Finland with the song Looking Back, but would they have been looking forward to another Eurovision win?
Anita (Eurovision Union)
Song and Vocals
I personally thought that the Finnish final this year was strong, especially given the previous few Finnish entries at Eurovision. Of course, as probably most of us, I was sure that Erika Vikman would take the crown with ease, and I was excited to see Finland back in the final with such a strong entry. I should have known better, because the fan favourite was topped in the final by Aksel and his song Looking Back.
Robbery aside, Looking back is a decent entry for Finland, but it’s not a stand out. I really like the melody of the chorus especially, as the backing music intensifies from the simpler verses. The downfall of this song is that after the first verse and chorus, we have heard the entire song. Towards the end, the chorus is repeated numerous times with no vocal differentiation. By that point, it’s just a bit bland. There’s so much you can fit into three minutes, and I think that they could have shaken up the typical pop song structure of verse, chorus, verse, chorus x 2. In fact, we don’t even get a bridge during this song, and that feels like a wasted opportunity.
Vocally, Aksel delivered a flawless performance in the national final, which was definitely a redeeming feature. It was never going to be the song that blew us away with insane vocals, but what he does deliver, he delivers well. I would have liked to see his vocals pushed a little during that final minute.
Performance and Act
I really enjoyed the national final performance in terms of the visuals. I think it looked really slick, and well prepared. I suspect they would have carried this over to Eurovision, and I think that was a wise plan, however there was also room to add additional ideas. I like the movement of the backing screens, but I think Aksel was perhaps too static. It was a good concept, it just needed some slight remodeling
Next Up: 2021
Finnish broadcaster YLE has decided that for 2021, the national selection will be used again. I’m unsure whether Aksel will get a free pass to the national final, but I do believe he has at least confirmed his intentions to submit an entry. On one hand, I think it’s unfair to not give Aksel the chance with a new song, but on the other hand, Finland is capable of more. Considering the nation has used an internal selection mixed with a public song selection recently, it is surprising they didn’t give Aksel the same opportunity, but who knows, we might be seeing Aksel after all.
A nice entry, but nothing more. Hearing this song once is enough, and it’s not the type of song I would want to have on repeat, as the song is repetitive as is. Considering Finland in recent years, I feel it was a step in the right direction, but I think the nation would have been better off with something bombastic such as Erika. Let’s see what they have to offer next year.
Song and Vocals
In the Eurovision fan community, a lot of people were disappointed that the schlager Cicciolina was not chosen for Eurovision. But I have to say, after that disappointment disappeared, I started to see why Looking Back was also a very good choice. It’s a song with good reflecting lyrics and I can’t say anything bad about the vocal performance of Aksel. The composition is solid and decent, and I think it would have had a good shot at a place in the final.
Performance and Act
The performance of Aksel was a bit static. Negatively said, one could say it was a bit boring. Of course, this song doesn’t need a lot of fireworks and visual movements. But the story of the song could be translated more in the visual story. There was a next step which the Finns could have taken in May, should the Eurovision Song Contest have been there.
Next up: 2021
Broadcaster YLE has confirmed its participation at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021 and has also confirmed that UMK will be again the selection method Finnish Eurovision entry and act.This means that Aksel will not have a direct pass to Eurovision 2021 and (perhaps) gets to take part at UMK. This has not been confirmed yet. It feels a bit harsh that he would also not be able to at least take part in the preselection again, should he wish to do so. As stated with other Scandinavian nations as well, I kind of understand their choice. The preselections for Eurovision are very popular in Scandinavia and the broadcasters want to have these shows in their air schedule.
This song had a lot of potential. If YLE managed to translate the meaning and story of Looking Back more on stage… Like how the Germans did with a moving some by Michael Schulte a few years ago. It’s sad that such a beautiful song will not be performed at Eurovision, because it will now possibly not get the credits it should have. Aksel deserved better, so maybe he will get his chance in the years to come after all. So that, when he is Looking Back, it will all be alright.
Additional Scores from Eurovision Union and ESCDaily editors:
Average Score: 6.6/10
What do you think of Looking Back? Follow our Eurovision 2020 reviews here.