As the drama unfolded at the New Music Competition (Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu) on Saturday night, there was a growing sentiment that something special was afoot at the YLE studios in Helsinki’s Pasila’s district.
Helsinki played host to the event, which saw nine artists competing for a coveted spot at the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.
The line-up couldn’t have been more varied, with Finnish-language Bhangra from Shava, Opera Skaala’s techno opera, theatrical rock from Angelo De Nile and Reggaeton from Norlan El Misionario alongside more traditional pop and rock performed by the likes of Solju, Satin Circus, Jouni Aslak and Järjestyshäiriö.
But the show, presented by Rakel Liekki and Roope Salminen at the studios was stolen by the emotional scenes, while Pertti Kurikan Nimpäivät (PKN), the band living with learning disabilities, was announced as the winner.
It was dramatic and unpredictable right to the end, with Satin Circus’ popular ‘Crossroads’ heading up the leaderboards until the results of the public vote were added to the scores.
The weight of public support for the eventual winners became clear at that moment, and the colourful green room audience erupted into a heartfelt roar, with the other contestants gathering around the four-piece punk band to congratulate them.
It certainly hasn’t been an easy road for Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät.
All four band members have struggled with various disabilities, a fact that brings their achievement into focus and no doubt intensifies the public’s affection for them – there’s something about seeing others come through difficulties to succeed that tugs on the heartstrings and rings true for all of us.
It’s onwards and upwards now for PKN, with the next stop the Eurovision semi-finals in May.
We wish them all the very best in their adventure!