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Finnish Eurovision entry ranks 21st as Europe rallies around Ukraine

The Rasmus, who performed with the Ukrainian band last weekend, placed among the last five entries in the ESC final.

The Finnish band's stage set was dominated by black and yellow balloons. Image: Rolf Klatt / Shutterstock / All Over Press

Finnish entry "Jezebel" by rock-pop veterans The Rasmus earned 38 points at Saturday night's Eurovision Song Contest final in Turin, Italy, including 26 points from the audience.

Formed in 1994 in Helsinki, The Rasmus was one of Finland's most internationally successful bands of the early 2000s.

After a five-year recording hiatus, the group has been staging a comeback of sorts this year featuring new guitarist Emilia 'Emppu' Suhonen. However their showing was modest, tying for fourth-from-last place with the Czech entry, out of 25 entries.

"Just making it into the finals has been a pleasure and an honour for us, so we really aren't disappointed with the ranking! We’re happy for the winner, and since we got to experience this whole awesome trip, we can say it went well," the band said in a press release.

"We have a lot more great things in store this year, such as playing summer festivals in Finland, touring Europe, a new record and a book," they added.

The band plays a dozen gigs in Finland and Estonia in July and August. That's to be followed by a European tour beginning in Germany in October, wrapping up in London in early November.

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The Rasmus onstage at last week's semifinal. Image: EBU / CORINNE CUMMING

In an interview with Yle News, Lead singer Lauri Ylönen urged support for the Ukrainian entry, "Stefania" by Kalush Orchestra.

In an unusual move, the two bands staged an outdoor unplugged appearance in Turin last weekend, together singing a mashup of their ESC songs (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

Ukraine's night

Kalush Orchestra went on to win Saturday's final by a wide margin of 631 points, riding a wave of public support to claim an emotional victory that was welcomed by the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The band's frontman made a plea for the city of Mariupol and its Azovstal plant at the end of their live performance.

"Please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal right now," Oleh Psiuk shouted in English from the stage.

The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the contest, said no action would be taken against the band for using the stage to make the statement.

Based partly on popular sympathy for Ukraine after Russia's invasion, Kalush Orchestra was the clear favourite for the annual contest, which draws a TV audience of some 200 million.

The winners traditionally host the event the following year and Ukraine is hoping that it will be in a position to do so in 2023.

This is the third time that Ukraine has won the competition. Kyiv most recently hosted the event in 2017, when the Russian singer was banned from entering the country after travelling directly from Russia to Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Russia was banned from competing this year as well due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Due to the logistical complexity of the event, the 2023 contest may be staged elsewhere, even if Ukraine is at peace by next spring. Second-place Britain and others have already offered to host the competition, which involves around 40 countries including Israel and Australia.