Finland made their debut at Eurovision back in 1961 and has currently participated a total of 54 times. The nation has a mixed history at Eurovision, however despite their results, the nation adds irreplaceable character to the contest. Finland won Eurovision on one occasion, and that was with Lordi in 2006. Before we get to that, let’s turn the clocks back and rediscover their history at Eurovision!
The Dreaded Nul Points (1960’s)
Finland first appeared at Eurovision in 1961 with Laila Kinnunen. She performed ‘Valoa ikkunassa’, finishing in 10th place. Marion Rung was the next representative with the song ‘Tipi-tii’, which opened the 1962 edition of the contest. Marion fared slightly better, finishing in 7th place with a total of 4 points.
In 1963, Finland achieved their first ‘nul points’. Laula Halme represented the nation with ‘Muistojeni Laulu’. Unfortunately for Finland, this would not be their final experience with the dreaded ‘nul points’…
Lasse Mårtenson performed ‘Laiskotellen’ in 1964, which finished in 7th place, equalling their best result thus far. The following year, Finland achieved ‘nul points’ once again with Viktor Klimenko and his song ‘Aurinko laskee länteen’.
Ann-Christine Nyström and Fredi represented Finland in 1966 and 1967 with the songs ‘Playboy’ and ‘Varjoon suojaan’ respectively. Ann-Christine finished in 10th place, while Fredi finished in 12th place.
Finland finished in last place in 1968 with Kristina Hautala and the song ‘Kun kello käy’, however avoided their third ‘nul points’, achieving one single point. The nation closed out the 60’s with Jarkko and Laura who finished in 12th place with their song ‘Kuin silloin ennen’.
Middle of the Road (1970’s)
Finland missed the 1970 edition of the contest, however returned in 1971 with Markku Aro and Koivistolaiset. They finished in 8th place with ‘Tie uuteen päivään’. The following year saw a 12th place finish with the song ‘Muistathan’.
In 1973, Finland achieved their best result yet with returning act, Marion Rung. She performed ‘Tom Tom Tom’ which finished in 6th place, and marked the first Finnish entry in English.
Following Marion Rung, Finland sent entries in English for the following three years. There was not a huge pay off, with Finland finishing mid to low table. This proved to be a trend during the 1970’s, with Finland not yet in reaching distance of the trophy.
Another Nul Points? (1980’s)
Finland were welcomed into the 1980’s with another last place finish. Vesa-Matti Loiri performed ‘Huilumies’, finishing in 19th place with 6 points. It wasn’t long before Finland achieved their next ‘nul points’. Kojo represented Finland in 1982 with the song ‘Nuku pommiin’ which unfortunately wasn’t a big hit at Eurovision that year!
The 1980’s saw similar results to the previous decade. If the nation did crack the Top 10, it was often on the lower end. Their best result in the 80’s was with Anneli Saaristo and her entry, ‘La Dolce Vita’. The entry finished in 7th place in 1989.
History Repeating Itself (1990’s)
The 1990’s saw Finland achieve more of the same. The nation started the decade with a last place finish with Beat and ‘Fri?’ which was performed in Swedish. Finland saw the bottom of the table again in 1992, where Pave finished with just four points with the song ‘Yamma, yamma’.
Finland’s first bilingual entry was performed in 1994 with ‘Bye Bye Baby’ by CatCat. The entry was performed in both Finnish and English, and finished in 22nd place with 11 points.
In 1996, Jasmine represented Finland with ‘Niin Kaunis on Taivas’, which finished in… you guessed it… last place! The song achieved just nine points.
Hard Rock Hallelujah (2000’s)
Nina Åström represented Finland in 2000 with the song, ‘A Little Bit’ which finished in 18th place. This was the first of a long string of English language songs representing Finland, with mixed results.
Laura represented the nation in the following year with the song ‘A Little Bit’, which finished in 20th place with 24 points.
The following year saw the introduction of semi-finals, and for a nation that often finished towards the bottom of the table, qualifications were bound to be a challenge. Finland failed to qualify in both 2004 and 2005 with Jari Sillanpää and Geir Rönning respectively. Little did the nation know that the ‘arockalypse’ was just around the corner.
2006 is the year that many Finns will remember. Enter Lordi. The rock group performed ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ in their signature costumes and really took Europe by storm. The group finished 1st in the semi-final, a huge achievement in itself, but they went one step further by winning the Eurovision Song Contest with a huge 292 points.
Lordi opened the door to more Finnish rock, with Hanna Pakarinen and Teräsbetoni both delivering strong rock entries in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Waldo’s People represented Finland in 2009 with the pop entry, ‘Lose Control’. The song finished in 12th in the semi-final, which would regularly send the nation packing early. The voting system in 2009 allowed Finland to qualify thanks to the juries, with the 10th placed entry in the semi-final sent packing instead. Despite being saved, Finland finished in last place in the final.
Rock, Pop and Everything In Between (2010’s)
The 2010’s is certainly Finland’s most diverse period, with the nation offering a broad range of genres. In 2010, Kuunkuiskaajat performed ‘Työlki ellää’, which only just missed out on the final, finishing in 11th place in the semi-final.
Paradise Oskar proved to be a glimmer of hope for Finland after finishing in third place in the semi-final with his song ‘Da Da Dum’. Despite the high placing, he fell to 21st place in the final.
Pernilla Karlsson offered a tender Swedish language entry in 2012, however ‘När jag blundar’ ultimately failed to qualify. Krista Siegfrids made more impact in the following year with her entry, ‘Marry Me’, however still only managed to finish in 24th place.
Finland returned to Rock in 2014 with the group Softengine. The youthful group performed ‘Something Better’ which was well received across Europe. The entry qualified in 3rd place in the semi-final, then finished in 11th place in the final. This was their best result since Lordi’s win back in 2006.
The next few years proved to be a struggle for Finland. The nation failed to qualify with Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, Sandhja and Norma John. Finland returned to the final with Saara Aalto, however it was a close call. She qualified in 10th place in the semi-final, and finished in 25th in the final.
International star Darude was internally selected with Sebastian Rejman for Eurovision 2019, however the duo surprisingly finished in last place in the semi-final.
Are the Tides Turning? (2020’s)
The decade is young, but Finland is off to a good start. Unfortunately Aksel did not get his chance to represent Finland in 2020 due to the contest cancellation, but it’s only fair to give a shout out to his entry ‘Looking Back’.
Finland returned to rock for 2021, selecting Blind Channel with their song ‘Dark Side’. The group was a fan favourite leading into the contest, and managed to finish in a highly respectable 6th place, which again is their best result since Lordi.
Want more content about Finland? This article is part of our ‘Good Evening Europe’ series, where we post country-specific content! You can find all our previous posts all about Finland here.