He’s the 22-year-old singer that was supposed to represent Finland at Eurovision 2020. However, Aksel’s dreams were dashed in March when the contest was cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
He received a further blow when Finnish broadcaster YLE confirmed that its UMK selection format would be returning and Aksel, while welcome to submit a song, would not be guaranteed a place in the TV spectacular.
But the lyrics of his song “Looking Back” are all about living in the moment and not dwelling on the past.
And, taking his own advice, Aksel has confirmed that he will enter UMK 2021.
Aksel will enter UMK 2021
Aksel revealed his intention to compete in the Finnish selection in the second episode of Eurovision Home Concerts on Friday 10 April.
After dialling in performances of his own 2020 entry along with Alexander Rybak’s 2009 winner “Fairytale”, Aksel said:
“Even though I’m sad that Eurovision was cancelled, I am happy to announce that we are working on new music and we are going to audition at UMK. Let’s see where that goes.”
Skip to 57:43 in the episode to hear the comments for yourself.
Finland at Eurovision 2021 — UMK will return
Broadcaster YLE has confirmed song submissions for UMK 2020 will open as normal on September 1.
In the announcement, YLE also said that UMK 2020 winner Aksel Kankaanranta is welcome to submit a song, but a pre-jury will decide which songs make the live stage of the competition.
UMK Producer Anssi Autio is clear from the outset:
“A year is a long time for any song and Eurovision has new music. Aksel may choose to participate in UMK next year, but the jury of professionals will select the contestants and ultimately the voters will make the selection.”
But the decision has also clearly been influenced by UMK’s success this year.
“The finale attracted the largest UMK audience for years, with a record number of young people in particular. Similarly, the public vote was the liveliest since 2015. In addition, the interest and positive reception towards this year’s competition reinforced our view that open competition will continue.
“We also received positive feedback from the finalists after the competition, which we are particularly pleased about. Next year is the tenth UMK and I believe it will become a state-of-the-art contemporary music show.”
The competition drew over 400 submissions for the 2020 edition and featured contributions from Finland’s top songwriters.
It came after two years of the show acting as a single artist, multi-song selection. That format produced mixed results. Saara Aalto did make the final, but placed 25th overall. Last year’s duo Darude and Sebastian Rejman ended last in their semi-final.
Are you happy that Aksel is trying again? Are you excited to hear his new entry? Let us know in the comments.