There’s an audience quickly growing outside the window of the press centre.

All along the street, onlookers are beginning to notice that something must be happening inside London’s Outernet — a massive entertainment district, bedecked in the vibrant yellow of the Eurovision 2023 branding.

Most of the crowd are here for the London Eurovision Party, queueing around the corner despite the event still being several hours away. They’re carrying flags, or wearing colourful t-shirts — Who the hell is Edgar? asks one shirt as a fan peers in through the window. Some bystanders, however, are simply pausing casually as they walk past; noticing the commotion and the palpable air of excitement.

Käärijä will represent Finland with ‘Cha Cha Cha.’

Inside, the atmosphere is much the same. Many of us here are fan press, and thereby we are also united in enthusiasm for the Eurovision class of 2023. Laptop buttons click clack — cameras are twisted onto tripods — and we all crane our necks to see who the next act to come through the door will be.

In the case of Finland’s enigmatic artist, he is truly impossible to miss. Wearing his now-trademark bright green bolero, the Finnish rapper — 29 year-old Jere Pöyhönen, better known by his stage name Käärijä — immediately grabs the attention of both the room and the observers outside.

He needs no introduction to Eurovision fans, of course. With his eclectic track ‘Cha Cha Cha’, Käärijä is currently estimated by the odds to be a serious challenger for the Eurovision crown, clashing with Sweden’s returning winner Loreen.

Käärijä himself is anything but serious. Grinning from ear-to-ear as he hustles between press outlets, not even a grueling schedule of pre-parties, promotion and performances seems to have dampened his energy.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with him for a quick four-minute chat amidst the chaos. Check out our chat below, where we talk about his packed timetable, being himself, the funniest moment of his journey so far, and learn how to say his trademark catchphrase in his native tongue.

Thank you for joining me, I’m a huge fan, you’re my winner this year!


Yeah, I love the song!

I appreciate that, thank you so much.

So, the first thing I’d love to ask you, is — well, first of all, how are you managing because you’re so busy? 

[Laughs] Yeah, I don’t have any time to rest, [it’s] so busy now, but I’m so exciting and so happy, waiting to go to Liverpool.

Your song is all about letting go and relaxing, so I hope you find the time to relax! 

[Laughs] Yeah, I think so, first when I go to Liverpool I have three days to rest. I need it.

[Laughs] Have a good sleep!

[Laughs] Thank you.

So — I think you’ve said before that Käärijä is your kind of outgoing side. The song speaks about coming out of your shell and embracing going wild a bit, is that something you’ve had to deal with yourself, like pushing yourself to do that?

No, I’m that guy who do something crazy things and do what I wanna do! I don’t care [about] anything.

You do it [what you do] very well.

Yeah, thank you! I don’t care what people are thinking about it or say, “okay Käärijä do something crazy,” it’s okay for me. I do only my thing.

Yeah, you really don’t like to take life too seriously which I really love. 


Käärijä performing at Finland’s national final, UMK. Image: Miikka Varila

So, I just want to ask, what’s the funniest thing that’s happened so far on this whole journey, would you say?

Ahh, funniest things, many funny things happen, [laughs] give me a second!

[Laughs] I’ve put you on the spot.

[Laughs] Yeah, no worries! Ah! I met in Madrid some guy, who [knew] how to sing all of ‘Cha Cha Cha!’ He practiced for two days! And this guy, I’m watching this guy and he’s singing my song and it’s great.

It’s so impressive and also it really speaks to how popular the song is. It’s all over Europe!


The last thing I want to ask you is kind of like that. I wanted to know something in Finnish, because you’ve had to do all these English interviews and I feel bad!


Is there something you could teach us?

What do you wanna know?

I suppose “it’s crazy it’s party.” 

Se on hullua, se on bileet! [Laughs]

That’s wonderful, thank you so much.

Yeah, thank you so much.


As we wrap up our conversation, I’m struck by what a genuine guy he is.

“It’s meaningful,” he says sincerely as we switch off the voice recorder, thanking me for calling him my winner. Despite the tiredness that all of the artists must be feeling at the close of the pre-party season, his enthusiasm remains completely authentic. He was kind enough to stop to take a photograph afterwards — and countless more with the fans waiting outside.

Käärijä will represent Finland with his song ‘Cha Cha Cha‘ in the First Semi-Final of Eurovision 2023, on Tuesday the 9th of May.

Are #YOU a fan of Käärijä’s entry this year? Let us know in the comments below, on our forum, our Discord, or on social media, @ESCUnited!

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