Saara Aalto UMK 18 Eurovision

Dreams do come true! On Tuesday, during the UMK 18 press conference, hosts Krista Siegfrids and Mikko Silvennoinen revealed a big change to the contest’s usual format. Instead of a number of acts performing for the right to represent Finland, producers have already selected their Eurovision star — and it’s Saara Aalto!

The X Factor UK alum (and previous runner-up at UMK) will be the only act competing at UMK. Saara will perform three songs during the final, and the Finnish public and an international jury will select one for Eurovision 2018.

Saara was all smiles after the reveal, saying:

“I have always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Since I was a child it’s always been my dream to do it. Finally, after all these years, I’ve been chosen to represent Finland. I’m the happiest girl at the moment!”

Producers know they’re on to a good thing with Saara, who has already won over audiences at home and abroad.

“We strongly believe that luminous Saara Aalto, who is building an international music career, is our secret weapon to success,” says UMK producer Anssi Autio.

“We are putting all our best efforts into having three captivating songs and shows to choose from, with the best one staged in May in Lisbon.”

Saara clearly feels buoyed by their support. As she told YLE:

“I know that this journey is going to be fantastic regardless of the results of the actual competition. I’m of course jumping right in with the attitude that I can win the Eurovision Song Contest – or at least finish in second place! That’s something I’ve been great at, no doubt about it.”

Watch: Saara Aalto talks about a UMK return in 2016

The UMK final will take place once again at the Espoo Metro arena, on Saturday March 3.

Saara’s return to UMK comes as something of a surprise. Just a few days ago, Saara said that the BBC had asked her to represent the UK at Eurovision 2018. Either that was a little white lie, or the BBC were simply too late!

It’s also unclear whether this was the original idea for this year’s UMK. We know other artists — such as Emma — applied, and a hard drive of songs was shown off when entries closed in September. But if Saara became available, we’re not surprised that YLE took this option!

As for Saara’s songs, YLE says that the three songs and music videos will be published in the spring of 2018. Saara says that each of them will be incredibly different — and that each will be given a spectacular stage treatment.

“There will not be any of that, ‘Let’s just throw in something’ vibe. Every detail will be thoroughly thought out and delivered to the utmost. This is going to be a great experience for the whole of Finland! I have a strong Finnish and international team with me, and together we are able to make great things happen.”

Saara, of course, has a habit of almost winning. She finished second in Finland’s selection for 2011 with “Blessed With Love”.

Five years later, she again placed second at UMK 2016 with “No Fear”. Now though, there’s nobody in her way to stop her!

There’s clear confidence in Saara, too. Krista Siegfrids, hosting the press conference, perhaps said it best: “We think we can win Eurovision!” It’s a bold statement, given that Finland have failed to make the final for the past three years.

Do you think Saara Aalto can bring Finland back to Saturday night — or even give them their second win after Lordi? Let us know all your thoughts in the comments section below!

Read more Finland Eurovision news here

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Hanna
Guest
Hanna

I’m very happy with this decision. Finally Finland is going to ESC with the attitude that we’re gonna try and win the whole ball instead of wondering whether we are even gonna make to finals.

Oxu
Guest
Oxu

I am really dissapointed about this i am not going to watch this year UMK show and i will close my TV when it is my country Finland ‘s turn in Lissabon. Why? Since i was little kid, Finland choosing the person who represents us in Eurovision has been 1 of the top 5 things i look forward most in a year. I cry tears of joy when we choose artist i like, curse when choice is imo a bad one, but it is still always fair and enjoyable! This year record company made a deal with national televesion (Yle)… Read more »

A. Nonymous
Guest
A. Nonymous

Look at all the comments coming out of the woodwork to claim UMK “used to be a favourite NF” the moment there is even a whiff of controversy.
We sent good songs? Then where were you year after year when we needed your votes?
This is as much on you as it is on UMK/Yle.

HBau
Guest
HBau

I’m disappointed to lose UMK (proper UMK that is), but I’m thrilled that Saara will be in Lisbon. Understandable, and hopefully one-off, choice from YLE.

EF0912
Guest
EF0912

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fbrjY1S73E

Something like that song would be perfect for her I think

Music Is the Key
Guest
Music Is the Key

I am personally very disappointed. Of course, she and the song deserves a chance. And I might like it….but still. Her first UMK song was really boring in my ears, the 2nd on OK though. I think chances are we might get a rather typical “Eurovision by numbers” ballad, quite generic and dull. But hopefully that is wrong! I think she is quite overhyped by many eurofans. She might be OK. But definately not deserveing to go on represting Finland on such “lose grounds”. Not even a real NF. Something Finland usually did with style . with many original quality… Read more »

Bella
Guest
Bella

She’ll never have a song or performance as good as blackbird. I hope she does well though 🙂

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

I can’t describe how excited I am right now!!
She’s so nice and talented with a great voice. With a good song, she can definetely bring Finland to the grand final.
Looking forward to the songs!

Craig
Guest
Craig

This is great news, and I am glad she’s representing her homeland!
Of course, it all comes down to the song!

David Lindström
Guest
David Lindström
Guest

swedish

Me
Guest
Me

Fanwank of Eurovision 2018 is coming

Music Is the Key
Guest
Music Is the Key

Very probably so!

Pablo Nava
Member

Well, that makes it the first UMK in a while that 100% of the acts participating in it arw truly able to sing…

Lazarevfan95
Guest
Lazarevfan95

Not sure. I think Saara is an amazing vocalist but I am not a fan of her music. ‘no Fear’ was awful. I don’t see fame giving Saara any success either if it didn’t help Cascade with her amazing song it won’t help her.

Sentzo
Guest
Sentzo

definitely gonna be a ballad…next

Celeste
Guest
Celeste

For me is a bad choice, maybe i’m wrong. Never liked her songs, and i think she could be the candidate loved by fan, but fail for qualification in final, like Estonia last year or maybe make a brillant victory, but right now, not convincted.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

WOW! I’m really happy for her, and for Finland. 🙂

Kimmm
Guest
Kimmm

Who is it? Next boring talent contestant? Send Nightwish!

Lazerevfan95
Guest
Lazerevfan95

YES! I love Nightwish! One of my favourite bands 😀

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

D’oh! I completely forgot about them! That would have been an interesting move.

PIA
Guest
PIA

Well, they could ask Holopainen to write one of the songs, it would be a winner.

Vanuatu
Guest
Vanuatu

Two words and a number: Kate Ryan 2.0
Saara Aalto is soooo overrated on the ESC scene… and her singing, stage and ways are so 2000… I predict another fail from Finland this year, cuase no matter what song she will sing, she will try to make some over the top performance of it and will look dated and fake.

timo1962
Guest
timo1962

You have something against Saara, in person and personally? But as it will go – you are not the only one who’s going to decide it if she’s going to do well or not – especially when we haven’t heard the song yet. Until then, there will be 42 to equal and possible winners.

Vanuatu
Guest
Vanuatu

“Something against Saara personally”? Jesus, people is just dellusional, man… Do I need to have a personal conection to her in order to be entitled to think about words like “dated”, “out of place” or “over the top” when i think of Saara? Forget about fanatism guys, people can have opinions about their tastes with no need of a personal conection. I don’t know her personally, but i don’t like her style and i predict a dated show from her in eurovision, no matter the style of her song. And i base my opinion in all that i have seen… Read more »

AJ
Guest
AJ

You seriously think her XFactor performances were dated? That team at XFactor made her the best she has ever been and if she recreates that level at Eurovision, Finland have half a chance. Brian Friedman is probably the best choreographer in the UK right now and she is employing him to do the staging. He has worked with likes of Beyonce and Britney Spears, so why not wait and see what she does with the music before writing her off completely. Even on that she is co-writing so there is no reason to expect anything in her previous music style.

Jonas
Guest
Jonas

I’m happy that she will achieve her ambition at last, though slightly confused by her UK comments…she clearly knew about his announcement already, so why play games? In any case, this news illustrates why Wiwi were right to focus on her X Factor appearance last year despite some misguided whinging.

Of course all that said, I can’t see them coming up with a song as good Blackbird which was one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in Eurovision history and would make you despair.

AJ
Guest
AJ

Saara Aalto is far more interesting though. Blackbird was never a Eurovision song.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

So happy for her!
And I hope Finland will qualify as they deserved to in 2017 :/

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

They snatched her before the UK could! She has a lot of potential, she can pull a Dami Im but with a less generic song.

RONOMA
Guest
RONOMA

We all Knew that this was going to happen… Let’s be completely honest.
She’s an amazing performer with a great voice, with the right song she can go straight to the top 10… Winning’s going to be hard so I’m not expecting her to win, but I think that she can deliver something really nice.

VALE
Guest
VALE

Let’s not get too excited. We haven’t heard her songs yet. No fear was a disaster..tbh..

Jo
Guest
Jo

Don’t count on fame to succeed. Still needs a good song.

Denis
Guest
Denis

A surprise but a nice one. Never expected a Nordic country to do internal selection.
It is perhaps a “safe” choice but a good one. Finland will do great.

MiMi
Guest
MiMi

I smell a drama between UK and Finland , let the season of the drama 2018 begin!
Man i hate when people start telling ”o this is easy qualify… Finland 2019” …. hold your horses yo … we have no idea what the rest of Europe is doing or will do .. What if Bulgaria decides to send Azis? Now thats hard to beat 😀

MiMi
Guest
MiMi

Did you know that Saara Aalto tried for Eurovision 5 times allready …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIk3dtTTsic

mad-professor
Guest
mad-professor

Unlikely. Depending on the song, expect Finland to get high marks from the UK (maybe Ireland too).

Janro
Guest
Janro

Sorry but I am not really that happy with this. Finland have some great artists who could do Eurovision and they have scrapped the national final to make sure Saara goes. Saara will probably get quite a few points from the televote but as we have seen juries seem to hate her songs. I know it’s very early days but I can see the juries stopping Finland qualifying for a fourth year running!

Darren
Guest
Darren

Glad she’s representing Finland instead of United Kingdom. She is Finnish after all.

High points from U.K., Ireland and Australia in Lisbon. Finland could do very well. Here’s hoping she has a great song. But yeah, good choice so far Finland.

Liam Lindsay
Guest
Liam Lindsay

She’s a strong choice for Finland and also The UK. (if she had entered You Decide) But if she did represent the UK you hear all of the bitch fall out from it, and you’ll hear stuff like ” She’s not from the UK” and other such balls. Saara is a quirky character and if you watched her on UK X Factor like I did you’ll fall in love with her. She’ll bring imagery and uniqueness to Lisbon and I hope YLE give her all their support and backing. #Helsinki2019 Now a word for The UK, you need to take… Read more »

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

If Belgium, the Netherlands or Australia decided to do something like that, I would totally be on board. But since it’s Finland, I’m not excited. Let’s at least hope that they use the “year off” to shake things up on UKM.

One thing is for sure, Finland will probably qualify to final. So if the intention is playing safe, it makes sense.

Ariso Light
Guest
Ariso Light

Yay!

NickC
Guest
NickC

I do not know if she will win, but for sure Finland will qualify after a 3 year hiatus!

ESCFan
Guest
ESCFan

I am so happy!!!! Go Saara!! This is an amazing news. For the first time ever i am rooting for Finland.

TheStellarSeaCow
Guest
TheStellarSeaCow

So instead of having to go between Sonvekappin, Eesti Laul, Melodifestivalen, and UMK in 2018, I can just drop UMK from the line up… which is unfortunate, I normally like UMK.

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

No you’ll still have that, but instead of three shows there will be just one final with saara aalto

Charli Cheer Up
Guest
Charli Cheer Up

According to an interview with The Sun, she’s going to be working with Brian Friedman!! he’s the American choreographer on X Factor and the genius behind the likes of Britney Spears WOW.

AJ
Guest
AJ

Yes he is probably the best choreographer in the UK at the moment and he will make sure all of the dancers are top notch too. We should expect something spectacular and tasteful from him.

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Well, umk seemed to get worser every year so i’m glad they are shaking things up a bit this year. Also saara aalto has amazing potential!

dissapointed
Guest
dissapointed

Its Finlands last year in eurovision. I liked umk because it was so amateur and everyone could participate.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

You still have Lithuania’s selection for amateur songs.

Jak
Guest

That’s a good move, Finland, yet surprising. I would never expect an internal selection from a Nordic country…it just doesn’t fit with their mindsets.
But in this case, it may be even better than having a dull national final. I always do think investing on the song and promotion is a winning formula anyway. For me, there is only one odd part and that’s having a national final with several songs by the same artist. Just let them/their label pick the right song.
Finland comes strong this year, and let’s hope that it’s going to work for them this time.

Charli Cheer Up
Guest
Charli Cheer Up

Perfect choice of singer for Finland 2018. Saara’s got the whole momentum behind her already(runner up on UMK16 and X-Factor UK 2016, international label, etc). Also 2018 would be a good time for UMK to take a step back and reassess how they select song entries because for the last two years they haven’t produced great results. I’m sure they’ll go back to the original format again in 2019.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

What is the point of the final?
Georgia 2016 and Greece 2017 did not seem to produce anything worthwhile.

It is a shame. I enjoy UMK. Going to miss out on artists I would not normally hear like Lauri Yrjölä and Lieminen.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

The purpose is to build hype and nothing else. Greece’s was a tragedy so the effect was the opposite.

Music Is the Key
Guest
Music Is the Key

I agree with Greee 2017. But Georgia 2016 was brillaint. 5 amazing indierock songs. Including the winner. Georgia qualifying in 2016 was the best ESC-memnt of the year to me.

Nobody
Guest
Nobody

It seems Finland will be runner up next year.

NickC
Guest
NickC

Great comment 🙂

Étoile
Guest
Étoile

And another artist confirmed, Youpi! 🙂 I don’t know her at all but I’m happy that she can realize her dreams to go to eurovision. There was an article about her recently and I’m pleased she’ll represent her mother land, the Uk should prioritize its subjects, they have good gems, just need to find them. 😉 I hope her 3 songs will be good. Good luck Finland.

AJ
Guest
AJ

The problem for the UK is that no credible artist will go near Eurovision. We would need to send Adele to have any chance of winning anyway 😀

Geo
Guest
Geo

So the announce on late August was a scam? “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… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

It sounds like YLE accepted UMK submissions in good faith, but they were looking for a really high-quality act that could get a good result for Finland. The entries received weren’t up to a high enough standard so they turned elsewhere.

More here (in Finnish): https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2017/11/07/nain-umk18-on-uudistunut-lue-tarkeimmat-kysymykset-ja-vastaukset

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

I like the idea of Saara representing Finland in Lisbon. I wanted ‘No Fear’ to win back then, but the staging was a bit chaotic for me.

I would really like to know how all of this selection has happened, because the YLE made a public submission like every year. That’s something I find disrespectful and negative for other artists that have been preparing their songs and performanced for UMK 2018. They need some answers, I think.

Hope the three songs made by Saara aren’t a big let down as happened with Greece and Demy last year.

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

I forgot to say that maybe the YLE made contact with Saaraa when the rumours of her representing the UK started.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Today’s press conference was announced two weeks ago, the Sun article came out a few days ago. I want it to be that Saara was just trolling in that article! 😀

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

The Sun aren’t exactly reliable, anyway.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

You beat me to it, regarding Demy. If the songs they put forth for Saara are anything like Demy’s, they could be in for another big letdown.

I would rather they had gone with Sara Forsberg or Mikael Saari.

D
Guest
D

Well this was unexpected. I like Saara, but I don’t like how they completely took away the Finnish people’s right to choosing the artist without giving any warning. She’s still a really talented artist though, and with the right song she can do great things.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

The UMK submissions were underwhelming so they just went for her.

Christian
Guest
Christian

Do they want to go safe and hope to get points from the UK?

zheng
Guest
zheng

I’m so happy ! Go Saara!! FINLAND 2019

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

Go Saara! I like it when countries do a national final like this! Helsinki 2019, anyone?

olvr20
Guest
olvr20

COULDN’T BE HAPPIER

L'oiseau
Guest
L'oiseau

Really?… This X-factor/talent show singing whatever they are fed is so “passé”…