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Finland pins hopes on metal act in Eurovision song contest

Metal band Blind Channel has won Yle’s Contest for New Music (UMK), which selects Finland's Eurovision representative.

Blind Channelin laulajat lavalla
Blind Channel won the 2021 Contest for New Music (UMK), which is the Finnish national final for the Eurovision Song Contest. Yle selected seven entries for the competition from nearly 300 submissions Image: Miikka Varila / Yle

Metal band Blind Channel will represent Finland in the Eurovision song contest (ESC) after winning Yle’s Contest for New Music (UMK) on Saturday night.

The metal outfit’s song 'Dark Side' was the overwhelming audience favourite, drawing 551 points, while second runner-ups Teflon Brothers and Pandora attracted 180 points.

The winner was selected by a combination of votes from the public (75 percent) and an international jury panel (25 percent).

Metal heritage

Reacting to their win, the band said, "Finns have understood the country’s DNA," alluding to Finland's reputation as a 'major metal nation'.

In May, the group will compete against 40 other acts in Rotterdam, where Blind Channel said they hoped to see at least some people in the audience.

"It’s a lot cooler to perform for an audience than just the cameras," singer-guitarist Joel Hokka said, as Saturday’s qualifying competition in Tampere had no onlookers owing to the coronavirus situation.

Historically Finland has rarely done well at ESC and has only won the longest-running annual international TV song competition once.

The monster-costumed metal band Lordi made Eurovision history in 2006 when it became the first hard rock act and the first Finnish entry to win the contest, with its song 'Hard Rock Hallelujah'.

In 2020, organisers of the pan-European song contest called off the event due to coronavirus.

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