Back in March, Finland‘s broadcaster YLE was among the first to confirm their national final would return in 2021, with the next edition of UMK. Now the broadcaster has released the contest rules as it looks forward to celebrating the tenth anniversary of its national final.
YLE is sticking with the revamped format of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK). This follows two less successful years where the artist was internally selected and the song chosen via the national final.
As YLE announced earlier in the year, the song submission period for UMK 2021 will open on 1 September. The broadcaster has now confirmed that the submission period will run until 7 September, giving interested artists and songwriters one week to get their entries in.
The UMK entries must comply with the EBU’s standard rules for Eurovision, but the Finnish broadcaster also requires that at least one songwriter and at least one lead vocalist must have Finnish citizenship or permanent residency.
There is no stipulation of what language the song must be sung in. Typically, Finland selects English-language songs for Eurovision, however in the past decade, Finland has also sent a Swedish ballad and a Finnish punk rock song. At UMK 2020, the Finnish-language “Cicciolina” won the televote and placed second overall.
The UMK rules also require that entries must not be sent to song selections in other countries. They’re looking for unique UMK entries, not generic hand-me-downs rejected from other national finals.
YLE are continuing their collaboration with Finnish youth radio network YleX. The station came on board for the revamped UMK last year and following the successful 2020 edition of the national final, the partnership will continue, to help attract top Finnish musical creatives.
Will Aksel return to UMK 2021?
The rules also confirm the selection process of UMK 2021. From the submitted songs, an expert panel led by YleX’s music manager Tapio Hakanen will select a number of entries to compete in the national final. The finalists will be announced in January 2021.
The grand final of UMK 2021 will be broadcast at some point in February 2021. The winner will be selected by a combination of public televote and expert jury vote.
Earlier in the year, YLE confirmed that 2020 winner Aksel Kankaanranta would not be granted an automatic place in the 2021 competition. However, the broadcaster said that Aksel was welcome to submit an entry for consideration. In April, Aksel confirmed his intention to enter, saying he was working on new music for the contest.
What do you think? Who would you like to see enter UMK 2021? What sort of song should Finland send to Rotterdam? Tell us your thoughts below.