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Mikael Gabriel-nublu collab takes third in Finland's Eurovision entry race

Estonia's nublu and Finland's Mikael Gabriel in the music video for their 2024 UMK entry
Estonia's nublu and Finland's Mikael Gabriel in the music video for their 2024 UMK entry "Vox Populi." Source: Nelli Kentta/Universal Music Estonia

Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) decided in Tampere on Saturday that representing Finland at Eurovision this May will be Windows95man. Third on the podium, however, were Mikael Gabriel and nublu with "Vox Populi," the latest in a string of cross-gulf collaborations between the Finnish-Estonian duo.

In a seven-entry competition with the vote decided three-fourths by the Finnish public and one-fourth by an international jury, Windows95man's "No Rules!" featuring Henri Piispanen secured its spot in the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö this May with a combined total of 313 points.

Sara Siipola's "Paskana" came in second with 273 points, and Mikael Gabriel and nublu's "Vox Populi" with 178 points.

Among the top three, nublu and Mikael Gabriel had come in third in both the public and the jury vote.

Siipola, meanwhile, scored highest with the jury while Windows95man had actually scored the lowest, however the UMK winner's entry was propelled to the top spot by an overwhelming public majority.

Finland's Mikael Gabriel and Estonia's nublu performing in the UMK finals in Tampere on Saturday night. February 10, 2024. Source: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/LEHTI/SIPA/Scanpix

'Everyone's opinion is equally wrong'

In an eight-minute interview with the two released the same day as their Finnish Eurovision hopeful entry track three weeks ago, UMK music journalist Katri Norrlin spoke with Mikael Gabriel and nublu about their respective work, how they ended up working together as well as their previous collaborations.

Asked by Norrlin, they also commented on the central message behind their track "Vox Populi" – that everyone has opinions, "about everything and about everyone," but that everyone's opinion is "equally right."

"Or wrong," nublu corrected.

"Or wrong," Mikael Gabriel confirmed.

Watch the official video for Mikael Gabriel x nublu, "Vox Populi" below:

Finnish act still in, Israel or no

In 2022, the Eurovision-organizing European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced Russia's ban from the popular song contest a day after the latter launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

That spring, "Stefania" by Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra won Eurovision with overwhelming public support in Turin. The runner-up U.K. hosted the 2023 contest in Liverpool on Ukraine's behalf as Russia's aggression against the latter continued.

More recently, calls for boycotts and controversies over participation in the song contest have continued in Finland and several other European countries as the EBU has reaffirmed as recently as January 30 that Israel – whose public broadcaster KAN is a member of the union – would be allowed to participate in the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest.

The calls center around Israel's actions in Gaza, which have been addressed in a preliminary ruling and corresponding provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on January 26 as "acts within the scope of Article II of [the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide]."

Finnish winner Windows95man – real name Teemu Keisteri – and Henri Piispanen have confirmed that they will compete in this year's Eurovision Song Contest even if Israel should participate.

Who will win this year's Eesti Laul competition and the right to represent Estonia at Eurovision will be determined in the finals taking place in Tallinn this Saturday, February 17.

The 2024 Eurovision Song Contest will be held on May 7-11 in Malmö, Sweden.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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