Before the 2006 victory, Finland was considered by many as the ultimate under-achiever of Eurovision. It has placed last a total of nine times and scored "nul points" (zero points) three times. Finland's entry in 1982, "Nuku pommiin" by Kojo, was one of only fifteen songs since the modern scoring system was instituted in 1975 to earn no points. (Norway has placed last eleven times and scored zero points four times, but it has also won three times.)
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Finland was arguably the country most affected by the various relegation schemes designed to limit the number of participants allowed to participate in each year's contest. Due to low results, Finland was excluded from the contest in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003. Before 2006, there even was a popular joke circulating in Finland, where a man frees a genie from a bottle:
Genie: Thanks for freeing me! I will now grant you one wish.
In 2006, Finland finally gained victory, with an entry radically different from the mainstream europop that dominates the competition: a hard rock song, played by a monster band in an over-the-top fashion. The band Lordi and its song Hard Rock Hallelujah broke records scoring the highest number of points in Eurovision Song Contest history (292) but its title was taken by Norway in 2009 (387).
In voting patterns, Finland has traditionally supported and been supported by the other Nordic countries. In recent years also the Baltic nations, such as Estonia and Latvia have been favoured by Finland, and the other way around. In 2004, Finland's first-place vote went to Sweden; in 2005, it contributed 12 points to Norway; in 2006, it was Russia's turn to get the 12 points, but it was Serbia who got their top score in 2007. The first time in Eurovision history that Sweden gave Finland 12 points was in 2006 for Lordi's song "Hard Rock Hallelujah". In 2007, they repeated this, giving 12 points to Hanna Pakarinen with "Leave Me Alone". Finland has also given notably high points to Italy, a country that had not competed from 1998 to 2010, but returned in 2011.
a. ^ In 2009, Finland qualified through the back-up jury selection.
b. If a country had won the previous year, they did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. In addition from 2004-2007, the top ten countries who were not members of the big four did not have to compete in the semi-finals the following year. If, for example, Germany and France placed inside the top ten, the countries who placed 11th and 12th were advanced to the following year's grand final along with the rest of the top ten countries.