#22 – Finland
Looking Back
Songwriters: Joonas Angeria, Whitney Phillips, Connor McDonough, Riley McDonough, Toby McDonough

eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica has begun its Countdown To the now-cancelled Eurovision Song Contest 2020! Over 41 days I’m bringing you all the info on each song this year ranked in order of my personal preference from bottom to top. I’ll give the reasons for my personal rankings, and some background info on the song, artist, songwriters, and such.  Again, these are MY opinions, and I realize that the ESC fan community is a rabid one, and rarely everyone agrees with everyone else, so as they say, your mileage may vary. As of the official announcement on March 20 2020, ALL of this year’s songs are now officially “lost”; Eurovision’s executive committee has stated that all songs in the ESC 2021 contest MUST be new, so there will never be an “Official” winner of ESC 2020 thanks to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak causing the contest’s first-ever cancellation. So this is my only chance to rank them. The songs will all be spotlighted on a special called Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light, which will air LIVE on May 16, when the Grand Final should have been held, so that’s at least SOMETHING…

ANNOUNCEMENT: FANS IN THE USA AND AROUND THE WORLD, GET READY! BEGINNING MONDAY 4/13, COME VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE 2020 EUROVISION SONGS IN THE “TKRUROVISION 2020 CONTEST”! Watch for full details later today, and then click the link to vote on all the ESC 2020 Semi Finalists ALL NEXT WEEK! And there’s prizes, too….:-)

In at #22 this year is the official entry from Finland, Looking Back by Aksel. It is performed in English, and was scheduled to be performed 14th at the second semifinal on May 14th.  The countries’ national final is called “Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2020“, the finals of which were held on March 7. Aksel has not yet been offered the honor of representing the country at ESC 2021.

22-year-old Aksel Kankaanranta shot to national fame in Finland when he was the first runner up on the 2017 edition of “The Voice of Finland“. Aksel and his dog Topi frequently listen to music from his large collection of vinyl records, and he’s been focused on the idea of singing for a living despite his self-professed shyness since he was a teenager.

What I’m thinking about this song…ok, we’ve come to THAT SONG – the song from each year’s competition that manages to make me tear up, if not out right bawl. Aksel has an incredibly beautiful soft tenor voice, perfect for singing this song of longing – from the lyrics and the stage presentation, one gets the feeling he’s singing about more than the official description of the song, which is “a song about world-weariness, love and the feeling of inadequacy.” I feel more that he’s singing about losing a cherished friend to an early grave, having realized what he’s now missing, and that’s conveyed even more powerfully by the ghostly images that appear to surround him in the national finals performance. It’s utterly beautiful. Unfortunately, I think he would have been destined to finish in the middle of the pack, surrounded by so many fantastic songs. But I have a feeling the song is going to be remembered long after the 2020 non-contest. And Aksel‘s “Looking Back” has now officially joined Ryan O’Shaughnessy‘s heartwrenching Irish entry “Together” (2018) and Joci Papai‘s criminally underrated and utterly beautiful Hungarian entry “Az en apam” (2019) as another song with a performance (live or music video) that just cuts right through my heart and starts my tear ducts flowing…:-)

2020 would have marked the 54th year Finland has participated in ESC, having made its EuroVision debut in 1961. Their only Grand Championship finish came after decades of waiting in 2006 with one of the most popular EuroVision winners of all time, Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah. But as I’ve said in previous years, it also should be noted for historical accuracy that they are also part of EuroVision’s equivalent of Dancing With The Stars‘ Kenny Mayne Club, having finished dead last ten times, actually receiving “nul” (zero) points for their song entries in 1963, 1965, and 1982. They failed to qualify for the finals last year.

Here’s the official music video  – check it out…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica throughout the next 41 days as I bring you the 2020 entries, and also updates on the status of the songs and artists for this year. Hopefully the EBU will find a way to salvage this year’s contest – and if you want them to do so, use the hashtag #SaveEurovision2020 in all your social media posts!

Beginning later this week, I will have a status list up over at The Kirkham Report site, with listings of what artists have had their fate decided for next year’s contest –  I am diligently trying to find the full status of each act so we can keep track of it.

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