Debut – 1961
Current Broadcaster – YLE
National Final – Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu
Best Result – Winner (2006)
Highest Score – 292 points (2006)
Worst Result – 18th in Semi-final (2005 – 50 points)
Finland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961, and have taken part almost every year since with the exceptions of 1970 (due to a Nordic boycott of the Contest), 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003 (all due to relegation). They have won the Contest once, but have also come last nine times (three of which scored ‘nul points’).
Whenever the free language rule has been in place, traditionally Finland send their entries in English, although there have been a couple of exceptions in recent years.
Finland’s debut Eurovision entry was “Valoa ikkunassa” (performed by Laila Kinnunen), where they scored a middling 10th place. They improved on this the following year in 1962 by finishing 7th, with Marion Rung peforming “Tipi-tii”. They would finish in the top 10 again during the decade by repeating that 7th place result in 1964 with “Laiskotellen” (performed by Lasse Mårtenson).
However in 1963, Finland found themselves propping up the scoreboard with ‘nul points’. They would end up with two more last place results during the decade in 1965 (again scoring ‘nul points’) and in 1968.
Finland had a mainly middling set of results during the ’70s. In 1971 they came 8th with the song “Tie uuteen päivään” (performed by Markku Aro & Koivistolaiset). Two years later in 1973, Marion Rung returned to the Eurovision stage and earned Finland their best result at that point, finishing 6th with “Tom Tom Tom”.
They reached the top 10 again in 1975 with “Old Man Fiddle” (performed by Pihasoittajat) finishing 7th. Their last top 10 result of the ’70s came in 1977, with Monica Aspelund finishing 10th with “Lapponia”.
The 1980’s got off to a bad start for Finland, as they came last in 1980 with only 6 points. It got worse in 1982, when they came last again, but this time scoring the infamous ‘nul points’.
The rest of the decade generally saw a mixed set of results, including three top 10 results: in 1984 with “Hengaillaan” (performed by Kirka) finishing 9th, repeated again in 1985 with “Eläköön elämä” (performed by Sonja Lumme), and in 1989 with “La dolce vita” (performed by Anneli Saaristo) finishing 7th.
Finland were one of the most affected countries by the relegation mechanisms employed in the Contest during most of the ’90s, with poor results relegating them from the Contest three times during the decade. This poor run included last place results in 1990, 1992 and 1996.
By 2006, Finland were the nation that participated the longest without winning the Contest, with the Finns themselves joking that hell would freeze over before they saw their country win Eurovision. That year that run didn’t look like coming to an end when the costumed metal band Lordi was selected with the song “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, an act completely removed from the novelty acts and mainstream schlager traditionally associated with Eurovision. Against the odds, the band proceeded to smash Contest records on their way to victory with 292 points, a record that stood until 2009.
Aside from their victory, Finland haven’t fared too well results wise since the turn of the century, including a last place result in 2009, only qualifying from the Semi-finals via a jury wildcard. Finland have also qualified on four other occasions in 2008, 2011, 2013 and 2014.