In June Finland’s YLE revealed that it will keep Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu as an invitation-only contest in 2019, selecting the artist or artists it wants to see compete (and without an open call to the public). Now attention has turned to precisely who YLE will choose and how they’ll stage the competition.
As they think about UMK 2019, it’s clear the broadcaster is looking back at UMK 2018. Over the summer YLE raised a question online, asking viewers to let them know what they thought about the national selection and their thoughts for the future. We’ve gone through the responses and pulled out some clear themes.
Too many format changes
Most of the commenters seem to agree that UMK has lost its original purpose and suggested the ever-changing format of the show is confusing.
User Silja wrote: “If UMK stays as a show that chooses the entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, YLE should absolutely decide some form for UMK and stick with that form for longer than one year at a time.”
“It’s not in anyone’s best interest if people don’t know how the next year’s entry will be chosen by the time the previous contest ends.”
Nostalgia for the old new music competition
Many of the viewers seem to miss the old days, when new artists arrived with incomplete songs that eventually developed into winners. Such was the case when Softengine won UMK in 2014.
The user Ampiainen said: “I liked the way UMK was made in the year when Softengine won. There were a lot of different demos that developed into a Eurovision song during the show. There were so many good songs that year, many of them could have won. The song doesn’t need to be ready in the beginning — instead it would turn into a great song with the help of music professionals during the show.”
Chill out a bit
Many discussed how UMK was more independent and felt separate from the Eurovision Song Contest back then. They suggested that Eurovision is taken more seriously now, adding a huge amount of stress to proceedings.
“For the year 2019 I hope that we learn to take the competition in a more relaxed way and without the stress of success,” writes user Monsteri.
“We have a habit of holding on too tight when we have tried to get a victory. Like Portugal’s winning song showed, small can be beautiful. If we are continuing UMK, it would be great if we could try to find truly good new music instead of trying to find that ‘perfect Eurovision song’.”
Less is more
Many users said that rather than trying so hard, UMK should focus on making the show more simple, and investing in cameras, lighting, styling and choreography.
Viewers also think that stripping things back could give the show a bit more class. Some of them are done with curse words and indecent jokes: ”Entertainment is not a synonym for vulgarity”, a user named Haavisto Simo wrote in the comments.
Mikael Saari, please
Viewers also talked about who should represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Finnish bands like Sunrise Avenue and Apocalyptica drew a lot of comments, but the most requested person to represent Finland next year was UMK 13 and UMK 16 contestant Mikael Saari.
The user Justice said: “UMK 19: Mikael Saari edition: three ballads, the best one wins.”
Should Mikael Saari get his chance now? Do you like UMK the way it is or do you want to see it changed? And how so? Let us know down below!
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Total honour giving my 12 points to @saaraaalto and her (and Joy and @linneadeb’s) song “Monsters” ????? Finland's Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) had epic staging, fab hosts, a killer singer and lots of heart ?? Good luck at #eurovision and thanks for having me! ???? #umk #umk18 #eurovision2018 #esc2018 #AllAboard #saaraaalto #xfactor