Helsinki rockers The Rasmus are to represent Finland at this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy.
After delivering a rendition of their song Jezebel on Saturday night (February 26), the band were crowned winner of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK), a Finnish competition which decides the artist that will represent the country at Eurovision.
The track itself – co-written by frontman Lauri Ylönen and American producer Desmond Child – will bring a healthy dose of electric guitar to this year's competition, with a expansive, reverb-soaked solo courtesy of Emilia "Emppu" Suhonen, who joined the band earlier this year.
“We did it!” Ylönen says. “We are so happy. It was a super tough competition, all the other songs were very good. We were preparing so hard for this for six months. We are really taken and honored and we will be working like pigs to represent Finland in the best way in Turin.
Founded in 1994, The Rasmus are one of Finland's most commercially successful rock outfits. They have released nine albums in their near-30-year career, their biggest song being In the Shadows, which at the time of writing boasts over 120 million streams on Spotify.
Finland's place at this year's Eurovision Song Contest was, until recently, up in the air. YLE, the country's public broadcaster, said Finland was ready to withdraw from the competition if Russia was allowed to compete. Finland's stance was in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began Thursday (February 24) last week.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – which produces the Eurovision Song Contest – initially permitted Russia to take part, saying it is a “non-political cultural event” (per Eurovisionworld).
But after nine countries – including Finland, Ukraine, Sweden and Denmark –demanded Russia be removed from this year's competition, the EBU changed its tune.
“The EBU has announced that no Russian act will participate in this year's Eurovision Song Contest,” the EBU wrote on Twitter on Friday (February 25).
“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year's contest would bring the competition into disrepute.”
The EBU has issued the statement below regarding Russia's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022Find it online here➡️https://t.co/5xXIYUNmXO#Eurovision #ESC2022 pic.twitter.com/OGjQKtiZfmFebruary 25, 2022
Regarding the Ukraine crisis, Ylönen recently said at a press conference: “What is happening feels very wrong. I watched the news on TV in my hotel room and cried. It felt twisted and wrong to go to the UMK rehearsals after that. It was like being on an emotional roller coaster.”