Last month Finland‘s broadcaster YLE revealed that seven acts had been selected for national final UMK 2021. And while the broadcaster hasn’t yet released the names of the competitors, it’s now clear that one name won’t be on the list. UMK 2020 winner Aksel Kankaanranta has confirmed that he did NOT submit an entry for 2021, despite earlier saying he was working on something.
The “Looking Back” singer confirmed the news in an interview with Finnish entertainment website Voice.fi. He told the website, “I was about to apply, but then I didn’t apply.”
But Aksel isn’t ruling out entering another edition of UMK in the future. He explained, “Now let’s take a little look at someday when I could apply again. I’m not really saying I would ever want to participate again, but let’s see.”
Aksel also considered the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Eurovision 2021. After the 2020 edition was cancelled, Aksel reflected “Maybe in a way it was whether Eurovision will come next year at all, when the terrible situations are still on.”
Unlike some broadcasters, YLE did not give Aksel an automatic pass to compete in UMK 2021. But Aksel says that policy is for the best. He explained, “It is fair that the place in the competition is not given directly. I don’t want any special treatment.”
Eurovision 2020 acts not returning for 2021
Aksel joins a number of other Eurovision 2020 acts who won’t be returning for another shot in 2021.
Denmark’s Ben & Tan, Norway’s Ulrikke and Portugal’s Elisa have all confirmed they won’t be entering the 2021 edition of their country’s national final. France’s Tom Leeb, Cyprus’ Sandro and Germany’s Ben Dolic also won’t be returning to Rotterdam for various reasons. Belgium’s 2020 act Hooverphonic does have the return ticket for 2021, but they’ll be taking a different vocalist — singer Luka Cruysberghs has been replaced with Geike Arnaert.
However, 20 acts from 2020 will be back for 2021. A number of other acts from 2020 may also return if they manage to pull off a consecutive national final win or if their broadcaster internally selects them.
Seven acts will compete at UMK 2021
Last month, YLE confirmed details of UMK 2021, including that seven acts will compete in the grand final on 20 February 2021.
The broadcaster also hinted that among this year’s applicants were “several Eurovision representatives from past years”. It remains to be seen whether any of these acts have made the grand final, but with Aksel out of the running, the potential lineup just got more intriguing.
The seven competing acts of UMK 2021 will be revealed at a press conference on Tuesday, 19 January. Their songs will then be released on consecutive weekdays.
What do you think? Should Aksel return to UMK in the future? Which acts would you like to see competing in the national final this year? Tell us your thoughts below!