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!

Read more Finland Eurovision news

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Valhalla
Guest
Valhalla

hmm… would’ve loved if Finland did a Internal selection/Mini UMK for one more year, sending Jenni Vartiainen, id love to she her for Finland <3

Kaylie
Guest
Kaylie

I would like to see Softengine come back or just Topi. Please <3

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

They don’t know how to do internal selections, so better stick with the open field.

PACKALEN2020
Guest
PACKALEN2020

comment image
TEAM PACKALEN 2020 from a Huge Fan! <3

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

Something like ”I’ll be with you” would be refreshing from Finland.

Omg
Guest
Omg

Unfortunately he isn’t interested in Eurovision at all

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

he’s too successful in finland to consider eurovision. u don’t think yle has offered him to go ?

Cara
Guest
Cara

My personal favorite National Finals in rank best to worst: 1. Melodifestivalen – Sweden 2. Destination Eurovision – France 3. SanRemo Festival – Italy 4. Festival da Cancao – Portugal 5. Operation Triumfo – Spain 6. Melodi Grand Prix DK – Denmark 7. A Dal – Hungary 8. Melodi Grand Prix NO – Norway 9. Eesti Laur 10. Eurovision Australia Decides – Australia 11. UMK – Finland 12. Vidbir – Ukraine 13. EMA – Slovenia 14. Rising Star – Israel 15. Unser Lied für – Germany 16. Beovizja – Serbia 17. Eurovision You Decide – UK 18. Supernova – Latvia… Read more »

Jake
Guest
Jake

From a British person, our national final is so boring and definitely worse than Latvia’s, Lithuania’s and Albania’s. They have fun and flair sometimes, whereas You Decide just take singers from a talent show and pairs them with a poorly-written, uninspired song.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

FiK that low??? bye

Kredential
Guest
Kredential

you placing festivali i kenges below Belarus and Moldova’s selections is extremely concerning

Colin
Guest
Colin

I’d rank my NFs, but I’d have to decide on what criteria – song quality or overall characteristics (format, songs, pacing, fairness, entertainment value).

Loin dici
Guest

Might be good to rank it from song quality first, Colin.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

I would go the other way as “Zoe”, Colin, and rank it based on “show aspects”, because the songs vary every year (ofc you can see trends), but to rank a “National Final” would be like “how long?, how entertaining?, what type of intervals?, appropiate number of contestants/shows?, presenters?” etc. 🙂

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

You can determine National Finals in two different, overarching ways:
1. How entertaining they are as shows that get local audiences excited about Eurovision
2. Their ability to generate well performing acts in the main contest

Melodifestivalen is the best example of a show that broadly satisfies both criteria well, as well as San Remo, but these are institutions in of themselves that could even be removed from their Eurovision context and still function well.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

I’m very disappointed with the UK’s placing here. It should be much, much lower.

Graph
Guest
Graph

I have come to think that internal selection is better than NF if the broadcaster is genuinely interested in the contest and understands the contest. Sometimes NFs produce entries that have unique local appeal that doesn’t translate to Eurovision well.

However, if a broadcaster doesn’t really “get” Eurovision, then it’s better to do a NF because at least you get the input of multiple jurors and/or the public and a competitive song could emerge.

I’m not sure which group Finland is in right now.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

That’s a good distinction to make- The Netherlands clearly function better with internal selections. I don’t know if they’ll opt for a national selection for 2020, given that nearly all host acts originate from one.

The point on unique local appeal speaks to what happened to Germany this year.

hmm
Guest
hmm

Germany and France

Loin dici
Guest

Germany and France actually has great national selections but chooses the wrong winner or the wrong methods of selection.
-DEU19 feels like a planned internal selection; there’re no use for the artists to enter the songwriting camps if they’ll be thrown up that way.
-with FRA19 we have learned that televote-by-percentage should have a limit of 120 points (or juries’ max of 120 would be useless) + Franchopone juries should have a say in choosing their entry.

hmm
Guest
hmm

Or award only 1-12 points to jury and televote just like other countries. (Seemone would’ve won if they choose this system)

Polegend Godgarina
Guest

nah, it’s the people’s representative. if the french people feel they should be represented by someone even though it’s not the best song then so be it.

Katariina
Guest
Katariina

Thank god. Yle really ruined UMK when they changed the format. Saara was understandable because she’s a big artist who very clearly wanted to do Eurovision, but there was no reason to keep it going for 2019. Darude is a meme and a has-been; popular Finnish artists want nothing to do with Eurovision because of how vicious the press is to artists that don’t do well, so this system was never going to work. 2013 and 2014 (and 2015 if there was a different winner) were UMK’s glory days so I’m hoping so we can back to that era.

Skiwalko
Guest
Skiwalko

The most important rule is to take things that are not working out and reshape them into more effective formats. Take notes Lithuania.
That being said I would love to see Norma John come back for UMK 2020.

hmm
Guest
hmm

Lithuania’s format is not that complicated, just heats and sfs and a grand final. Just like A Dal. Maybe just too many competing entries make them ineffective.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

The problem with Lithuania is the amount of songs competing in the televised stage of the process after LRT reviews the submissions, especially for such a small country- meaning that many of the songs that make it to the televised heats are not that good and still have a chance to win the contest, in contrast to other selections where they’d be cut before this stage.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Great news! UMK used to be one of my favorite NFs. They had so many diverse and out of the box songs. Hit or miss, but they rarely played it safe. I am looking forward to this!

Btw, this means we already have confirmed Norway, San Marino, Lithuania, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Finland for 2020. Keep them coming! 🙂

Joe
Guest
Joe

If Wikipedia is to be believed, twenty-one countries (besides our hosts) have been confirmed for next year already: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, Montenegro, Norway, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Sweden, and Ukraine will all be joining the party in the Netherlands.

Kris
Guest
Kris

22 countries confirmed

Joe
Guest
Joe

Well, now Wikipedia is iffier about Estonia, Hungary, Armenia, and Montenegro, but they’re probably gonna be there too.

Bella
Guest
Bella

Norma John is still the best thing Finland has sent EVER. That song was top 5 material, no idea what happened… Hope to see them again at Eurovision!

Puff
Guest
Puff

It’s really promising that they’re working with YLEX again! They were working with them in UMK 2012-2014, and the quality of the song were so much better during that time! YLEX really knows what a quality song is. However, when UMK team’s collaboration with YLEX ended in 2015-2019, we started sending some really garbage songs. UMK team has no idea what a fresh and winning-material song is.

So the collaboration with YLEX is looking really good for Finland! Maybe we can return to the quality of 2012-2014 qualifications, or even better.

Joe
Guest
Joe

2013-2014 you mean. (Pernilla was robbed.)

hmm
Guest
hmm

Pernilla was robbedddddddd

Alex
Guest
Alex

Pernilla’s dancer should have been with her at ESC. The staging was simply too minimal in Baku. It was such a shame – she had my favorite song that year

Sabrina
Guest
Sabrina

Great news! I understand the previous format was useful to attract big names, but it failed to bring strong songs. It can also be a good idea to pick a youth-oriented radio to help, bringing some fresh blood to the process. I hope it works.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

Damn, I wanted a “UMK 2020: Emma Sandström” happen… Maybe Krista Siegfrieds again? I need a glamouros and funny woman to represent Finland <3

Andrea
Guest
Andrea

Saaaaameeee!!!!!!but maybe she will come back this year! Emma Sandström for Finland 2020!

Puff
Guest
Puff

Omg. Why Krista? We have so many talented female artists here in Finland who really deserve to represent us. Why would you want Krista again?

Katariina
Guest
Katariina

Krista barely even sings anymore. She’s really just the UMK host now. And Emma is a no-name who never would’ve gotten her own show to headline.

KESC
Guest
KESC

Finland doesn’t need a glamourous/ funny woman to represent them, they need a good song and a good staging.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

@KESC: Absolutely! But my comment was a bit like a hommage to Saara Aalto and I know that you love her, too 😛 (How about a good song sung by a glamorous/funny woman with a good staging though? 😀 )

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Get Sara Forsberg! She is long overdue! https://www.youtube.com/user/SmoukahontasOfficial

Katariina
Guest
Katariina

I would love her and she’s relatively well-known but she has said she wouldn’t do Eurovision because she doesn’t enjoy competition and wouldn’t want to be competing against other artists in music 🙁

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

🙁 Given what she has posted at YouTube, she quite likely would have given Finland its first quality finish since Softengine finished 11th in 2014.

Speaking of which, where are the rockers? Have they ever approached Nightwish to sign up?

Joe
Guest
Joe

Nightwish did, in fact, compete in the 2000 national final. They finished second.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

I didn’t know that.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

I don’t think Finns will ever choose Krista to represent them. I heard this year she was really annoying as a commentator, she started a live on instagram telling people to join in during Latvia’s performance because that song was boring and said similar disrespectful things about other songs.

ESCFan2009
Guest
ESCFan2009

I’ve written a second comment about Krista, to explain, but it got filtered 2 times XD I didn’t say sth bad, I swear! Ah, maybe cause I said her song title of 2013 and it is too offensive XD So basically I wanted to say: I always thought many people in Finland would love her cause of her 2013 entry. No?

Gin
Guest
Gin

Krista’s gone full diva. She has redirected the focus from the contestants to herself.

She has got to go.

esc26
Guest
esc26

No. I absolutely loved Circle of Light in the studio version, but Emma’s live performance was one of the worst I’ve ever heard

Kris
Guest
Kris

UMK , if they have a jury then it should be one of music related professionals and not random people , whether to use international jurors should be their choice. Also the tel vote should be based on percentage points and not predetermined scores for highest placed act and so on……. Most importantly , don’t have random songs on the selection just to create a show. If you have only 3 gold songs you think are capable of doing well , then have a NF with 3 goo songs . If you have 20 goods songs , all of which… Read more »

Tora
Guest
Tora

Maybe Robin Packalen For 2020,
A new 20 y/o fresh guy with great music taste!

olvrfin
Guest
olvrfin

He has been asked to do Eurovision many times but he isn’t interested at all.

Tajikistan
Guest
Tajikistan

From what I heard from Finnish friends, Finland is a lot like the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Germany (exceptions Michael Schülte and Amir to an extent I guess), where the most popular singers won’t go anywhere near the contest because they know it will negatively affect their career, therefore they’re stuck with singers who are in a huge dry spot in their career (like Darude) or unknown singers (ike Sandhja, Norma John). Saara’s “failure” (depending on how you view it) probably did even more to put their big stars off, since she’s the first famous Finnish singer to go… Read more »

Eurovisionfan12
Guest
Eurovisionfan12

He was asked to take part this year but he declined

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

I always look forward for Finland because it is so unpredictable. They come with hard rock/metal or pop or EDM or a ballad. For Finland it’s either way songs that are my favourite which I still search for, or songs which are cringy and bad.

Lordi is surprisingly good. I also love 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018. I really dislike 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2019. But I’m not worried about Finland, it is inconsistent, but even though their last entries were not ranking that high, they will do well maybe next year and the years after again.

Eurovision fan
Guest
Eurovision fan

I’m Eurovision fan from 2017 and I didn’t know that Finland pretty struggles to qualify on Eurovision. I thought they had many victories before and they are successful esc country. Anyway I hope the song will be better than this year and at least UMK will be more interesting and last longer. Just don’t send the entry like the one from 2015, it was really terrible

Loin dici
Guest

Finland has entries that are either questionable, or good, but forgettable/gets old real fast at the end of the day. Running this selection with YLEX is probably a good step forward: they can put more attention to fresher, youthful entries. I hope that I can see some fresh bops from Finland in this year’s selection.

Pancake
Guest
Pancake

The only thing I’d wish from them is that they’ll allow foreign acts to enter, under the condition that their song should at least have a Finnish songwriter or composer.

Katariina
Guest
Katariina

Absolutely not. We don’t want anyone but Finns representing us.

silly
Guest
silly

….or monsters. Do you know their heritage?

Dani
Guest
Dani

Yess, one of my favourite preselections is back!

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

For the voting they could do a 50% televote and 50% panel of Eurovision fans, much like Germany this year. The televote would make sure the whole process is democratic and the Eurovision fans panel would vote for what works in Eurovision rather than for the best song or artist per se.

Pandaman
Guest
Pandaman

Germany this year did 1/3 televote, 1/3 Eurovision panel and 1/3 jury panel.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

Sorry, I probably wasn’t clear enough. What I meant is that YLE should introduce the Eurovision panel just like Germany introduced it this year in its NF.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Fans panel vote for what they like just like Televote or Juries. Fans don’t know what will work in Eurovision. It could go well like Norway 2019 or it could go bad like Cyprus 2019 or even Finland 2018.

Daggu
Guest
Daggu

I don’t see how This years Cyprus was bad. I mean, the staging wasn’t good, and the outfit was terrible, but this is not what the fans were judging. The song itself had potential. Besides, it finished 15th (or 16?) which is a score that many countries can only wish for (Georgia, Montenegro, UK) Same can be said about Finland 2018. When fans first saw Monsters, they mostly said that they hope that the next songs are better. Well, they weren’t, and even then Monsters qualified for the final. Final is an objective that Finland struggles with already, so it’s… Read more »

Marcos
Guest
Marcos

Cyprus came 13th — so left hand side of the scoreboard.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Tamta only got points in televote from Greece, Georgia and San Marino. That’s it. To me this is a flop based on its expectations. Same with Finland 2018 and Saara. It did more or less fine in the SF but then in the final she got a poor result with televote and juries. Both songs were Top 5 with OGAE and got a lot of support from fans. Also at some point were Top 10 with bookmakers. On the other side, Fans would have never guess and support entries like Poland 2016 and Moldova 2017 or even Italy 2018. And… Read more »

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

Well, the same could be told about the televote and the juries. Obviously everyone votes for what they like, but someone who likes and follows Eurovision every year will most likely have a “Eurovision taste”, if you get what I mean.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

This is good news, I never liked these half-baked selections where there’s nothing to really choose from if you don’t like the preselected artist.

Idksmth
Guest
Idksmth

They should do the 2016 format. They have a bigger and hopefully better selection to choose from and artists have more chances and time to improve their final product, but the never ending continious problem with Finland is that the winner almost always is incorrect, someone whose package isn’t able to bring amazing results, which is what they hope for, rather than sending a package that is more competitive.
And YLE should seriously think about what songs they are sending through to the live show or shows whatever the format they decide because some acts have been quite questionable.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

“Some acts have been quite questionable”
Club La Persé *cough cough*

Azaad Sadiq
Guest
Azaad Sadiq

The acts in UMK 2017 were either great (Norma John, Emma, Alva) or just wtf awful

Stardust
Guest
Stardust

Personally I think they should return to the 2014 format. The songs that year were absolutely awesome and the 4-headed judging panel actually knew what they were doing (or at least it looked like it).

Idksmth
Guest
Idksmth

That was just an example because usually I don’t watch UMK so I meant the format like 2016 – multiple shows and 50/50 jury and televote.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

If that was the format they had in 2014 it should be upheld for all future UMKs. In an otherwise poor showing this decade, their 11th place finish with an alternative rock song glimmers against scrapes into the finals and NQs.

hi guys
Guest
hi guys

so we will get songs like sing it away and aina mun pita again, cool

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

If they are tying up with a youth radio station, I very much doubt they will send an aina mun pita again as punk music is not very popular at all with the younger generation.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

I would love to see another throwback punk song in the competition.

Denis
Guest
Denis

I wouldn’t call Saara Aalto a flop. She managed to qualify to the final which for Finland is major success. Before her, last final was 2014. The result was indifferent because that is the usual spot Finland ends up in whenever they are in final.

American ESC FAN
Guest
American ESC FAN

Considering her career status, it is still considered a failure compared to the 2014 act who almost landed in the Top 10

Sinna
Guest
Sinna

Yes! Why isn’t anyone talking about Softengine? They are Finland’s second most succesful entry ever! And they were great!

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

Blackbird was such an emotional song. If they unearth something even half as good, they will be on the right track.

Tanja Kaitila
Guest
Tanja Kaitila

I loved it too. But for some reason Europe did not. It does not matter how good or bad quality songs we bring to Eurovision. People do not vote for Finland. Sad but true.

Meliris
Guest
Meliris

just send some metal, you are great at metal. 🙂

magic esc
Guest
magic esc

oh no, another one complaining like UK. half of countries never won, for North Macedonia was the best result ever. nobody likes cry babies.

Camilleeeeoon
Guest
Camilleeeeoon

This is great. Three songs from the same artist, it’s so bad. You end up choosing the least bad.

debanaderemiwiwibloggsdotcom
Guest
debanaderemiwiwibloggsdotcom

saara’s songs were pretty good

Tomato
Guest
Tomato

The question is, will they have 2 or 3 semifinals first, or only the grand final?
In 2012-2016 they had semis but in 2017 they had only a final.
Hopefully with semis

E.Zz
Guest
E.Zz

I absolutely think this is the best approach for Finland to use, considering last time they used a NF and had great results, resulted into them winning 13 years ago. So overall it seems they would be better off using a NF vs picking internally.
anyway good luck Finland, and hope you pick something fresh and new for next year.

Loin dici
Guest

Good news! More countries reverting to the classic national final format!

Anyways, I’ve made a to 41 video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpGNS1Xjhy8

Pandaman
Guest
Pandaman

Good, good. Turns out that sending an established act doesn’t necessarily mean success, if the song isn’t that great (strange, isn’t it?).

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Good.

Justice
Guest
Justice

Thank god. They clearly suck at picking internally, proven twice in a row.

Vlad
Guest
Vlad

As if 2015-16-17 didn’t prove the same

esc26
Guest
esc26

I’m from Finland and I actually think our 2017 entry was pretty good. Yes, it was a bit boring but it was the best overall package we’ve sent in years. It was something for us to be happy with, even though it didn’t qualify.

2015-2016 is a completely different issue…

But I agree with you, Finland pretty much sucks at everything. But what can you expect from a country that has competed in this contest since 1960-something and has only had ONE top 5 result…
Thank God we have Lordi.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

I find it odd that you openly say your entries suck and then celebrate Lordi? They were probably the most embarrassing entry of the lot with their monster-themed derivative rock song. Have more faith in yourself, I actually quite look forward to Finland’s entries as they are often not what you would expect, which is why the last couple of years have been a bit disappointing because they have been predictable.

Puff
Guest
Puff

Lol most people love Lordi. They were really refreshing and they proved that you can win Eurovision with some other genre than ballad or pop.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

As a rock fan in my spare time, calling Lordi a rock act is one of the most offensive things you can write! It’s like saying Madonna is a really modern, urban pop act!

esc26
Guest
esc26

My point was that if we didn’t have Lordi, we wouldn’t have a single good result 😀 And I actually love the song, a lot of people here in Finland do. It was a deserved winner as it was the most memorable song that year. And, I feel like we Finns have the right to look the year of 2006 through “Finland-glasses”: looking at our results through the years, we’re pretty much the very worst Eurovision country. Let us be happy that we succeeded for once 😀

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

That’s fair, and sorry I didn’t mean to poo-poo your parade. Winning is not everything though, I just hope you don’t go back to Lordi in future years. Blackbird was so much more authentic – I would go down that route.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Lordi was amazing, one of the best Eurovision winners ever. The Finns should always feel proud of that one.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

Just to be clear, I didn’t mean to demean Finland’s win – they should be proud of their winner. I just object to the notion that Lordi falls into the genre of “rock”. For me, it was more of a fun, joke entry (ie, as if San Marino won this year, we wouldn’t be calling it the definition of a classic pop song – so the same goes for Lordi and it’s place in “rock”). I don’t think you can say that Lordi’s win shows Eurovision is open to different genres. Acts like AWS are a much more authentic version… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

I think it’s kinda snobby to say any kind of Rock is more legit than another. It’s just a different kind of rock (and more than that, a completely different kind of rock than AWS – it’s like comparing Nirvana to Slayer, you can’t judge them on the same criteria). Lordi’s brand of rock is more theatrical, along the lines of Gwar or Kiss. If those aren’t your thing, they aren’t your thing, but they’ve made a lot of records and have a ton more songs than just their Eurovision entry. I think they’re legit, just a different kind of… Read more »

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

I just think it is a massive shame that many Eurovision fans’ experience of rock music is Lordi. Ok, they have guitar-riffs and heavy sounding drums, but it is a fairly weak version of what rock music means to me. I would love to see an act like Nirvana or Slayer win Eurovision, but something tells me that is unlikely to happen, which kind of proves my point about Eurovision’s openness to rock music.