UMK 2018: Finland’s YLE launches search for its next Eurovision star


Blackbird, blackbird don’t sing to me. But do spread the word: YLE is launching its search for its Eurovision 2018 star on September 1!

As in previous years, they’re sticking with the Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu selection format. The exact details of the show are still under wraps, but the UMK 2018 song submission period runs from 1 September at 09:00 to 4 September at 21:00. That’s four days for Finland to keep its fingers crossed that a magical song lands in the YLE inbox.

So, what are the rules and regulations? In addition to the standard Eurovision guidelines, UMK has some rules of its own. At least one of the songwriters and the lead singer(s) must be a Finnish citizen or live in Finland permanently. Singers can send only one song as a solo artist, but can be part of more than one group.

After receiving the submissions, YLE’s expert panel will determine which acts advance to the UMK selection show. Once again the winner will be chosen by a mixture of public televote and juries. It’s still unknown whether we’ll see panels of road workers or taxi drivers once more, or an international panel of music professionals as last year.

This will be the seventh edition of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu. Since 2012, it has helped Finland qualify for the final twice. Alas, the country has remained in the semis for the last three years.

The show is always filled with surprises, with pre-contest favourites (like Satin Circus, Siru and Emma) frequently coming up short on the night.

The contest mixes serious and outlandish. Last year Emma sang in a circle of fire, while Club La Persé delivered a memorable performance that pulled the 80s club kid into today. Günther, along with singing partner D’Sanz, wore a pornstache as his provocative dancers slid down slides. An LOL and WTF moment for the ages!

Norma John ultimately won in a landslide with their touching and atmospheric ballad “Blackbird”. To the shock of many, it failed to reach the Eurovision final in Kyiv.

Norma John at Eurovision 2017

Are you excited for the return of UMK in 2018? Who would you like to see enter? Let us know in the comments below.