For the past two years, Finland’s broadcaster YLE has internally selected their artist for Eurovision — with less than stellar results. But for 2020, the broadcaster is reverting to open entry for its national final Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu.
The Finnish broadcaster has announced today that UMK 2020 will be run in conjunction with the youth-oriented Finnish radio network YleX.
The 2020 edition of the national final seems to be getting back to its roots. Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu translates to “New music competition” and the upcoming edition has a focus on the new.
UMK producer Anssi Autio and YleX programme manager Hanne Kautto jointly issued a statement saying, “We want strength and power from collaboration to search for new songs and entries. This also brings new opportunities for participating artists. The role of YleX — which has been awarded Music Media of the Year — includes love for new music. Its important task has always been to raise and support the new Finnish music talent.”
For Eurovision 2018 and 2019, YLE internally select its acts — The X Factor UK star Saara Aalto and international DJ Darude, respectively. In both years, each artist performed three songs at UMK, with the Eurovision entry decided by public and jury vote.
However, this format hasn’t quite delivered the Eurovision results that Finland was perhaps hoping for. While Saara Aalto got Finland back into the Eurovision grand final, her song “Monsters” finished second to last. Earlier this year, Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman finished last in their semi-final with “Look Away”.
YLE notes that the Finnish public are in support of a return to open entry for UMK. In a recent viewer survey, 53% of respondents supported a return to the open format.
UMK was last held with open entry in 2017, when the duo Norma John won with “Blackbird”. While the song was a Eurovision fan favourite, it narrowly missed out qualifying in Kyiv, with a 12th-place semi-final finish.
YLE initially held open entries for UMK 2018. Despite receiving over 300 entries, the broadcaster went onto internally select Saara Aalto and claimed that “there were no suitable candidates” amongst the open submissions.
Previous editions of UMK have been known for their unconventional voting formats. Sometimes the show has included people’s juries, using demographic groups such as taxi drivers, Eurovision fans, YouTubers and asphalt constructors.
YLE hasn’t revealed any further details of the UMK 2020 format, including the number of participating acts or the voting format. However, it has confirmed that entries will open on 1 November, giving potential acts five months to prepare their songs.
What do you think? Are you excited that UMK 2020 will use open submissions? Who would you like to see enter? Share your thoughts below!