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!

Read more Finland Eurovision news here

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Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
1 day ago

I never understood the mini fan hype for this entry. The song was not much more than a chorus and while Axel seems very sweet and can sing nicely he also seemed painfully shy, at times crippled by his anxieties, and wholly unready and unprepared for the limelight.

In that case, I think it’s a good idea he holds off from UMK—hope he finds success in other adventures!

Last edited 1 day ago by Jimmy Smit
Fatima
Fatima
2 days ago

The words of ‘Looking Back’ are so achingly relevant in 2020, and it’s also a great song well sung and produced. I think he’s right to bide his time and return with something comparable.

Sniper K-Wolf
Sniper K-Wolf
3 days ago

Like every years, I pray for see Jon Henrik Fjällgren moving from Sweden for send one of his perfect song to YLE SO the question is when ?

Last edited 3 days ago by Sniper K-Wolf
Tom
Tom
4 days ago

Hoping for Mikael Gabriel

ESC8
ESC8
4 days ago

I think YLE should choose Aksel to announce the results of the finnish vote in May. At least he’ll have some connection with the ESC. The same should happen with other acts from 2020 that didn’t make it to 2021, like Ulrikke from Norway. But only if they want to, of course.

Tom
Tom
4 days ago
Reply to  ESC8

Do u think they will want?

Azaad
Azaad
4 days ago
Reply to  Tom

I don’t they’d have a problem with doing it. It’s a good idea, depending on how well the person can speak English/French

ESC8
ESC8
4 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

It’s true that it depends on their english skills, but nowadays they only have to announce the 12 points, it’s not that they need to announce every single point from 1 to 12 like it used to be up to 2005. Besides, I think that those 2 that I mentioned (Aksel and Ulrikke) can speak English quite well..

ESC8
ESC8
4 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

I thought you were replying to my comment and this is why I posted this, I’m sorry

ESC8
ESC8
4 days ago
Reply to  Tom

I honestly don’t know. If I were them however I’d do it tbh

Finnish
Finnish
4 days ago
Reply to  ESC8

Yle had already chosen who will give the results in the Eurovision final for 2020, Katri Norrlin from YleX, and she has said she’s a bit sad for not being able to do it, so it might be her for 2021

Azaad
Azaad
4 days ago

He should come back some time soon. Looking back was a very good song that had the misfortune of competing one of the most inspired NFs in Eurovision history.

Azaad
Azaad
4 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

*inspired songs in NF history

Thanos
Thanos
4 days ago

Always had a soft spot for Aksel, I really think Looking Back is a really decent and melancholic song. It fits the times we are going through right now as well. I am disappointed he won’t be returning to the contest and I am still a bit angry about the way the Eurofan fandom treated him back when he won UMK 2020. I hope that we will get to see him in a future Eurovision and that he will have a successful career in front of him.

Last edited 4 days ago by Thanos
Whisker
Whisker
4 days ago

I will miss Aksel!

Kosey
Kosey
4 days ago

Oh Aksel, he always struck me as the epitome of the underdog. Confidently rough around the edges, which was an endearing quality. He clearly has a good set of chops on him so I’m sure there are great things ahead, I wish him well.

Una
Una
4 days ago

All the best to Aksel then. I will keep listening to “Looking Back”.

Jago
Jago
4 days ago

Why only 7 songs UMK? Hopefully 7 good ones…

Finnish
Finnish
5 days ago

In the interview he said that it’s good that Yle didn’t give him a free pass to the final, because it wouldn’t be fair to the other contestants that will be competing the upcoming year

Great news, and makes it even more exciting that we don’t have a clue on who are the 7 selected finalists! I was already thinking one of them is Aksel tobe honest

Finnish
Finnish
5 days ago
Reply to  Finnish

*to be honest

ESC8
ESC8
4 days ago
Reply to  Finnish

I really believed that this extra 7th spot was created because Aksel was returning to UMK, but now I’m actually wondering why they made this decision.

Finnish
Finnish
4 days ago
Reply to  ESC8

Maybe there was enough good songs that the final 6 was expanded to 7

ESC8
ESC8
3 days ago
Reply to  Finnish

That would be great! Fingers crossed

sam
sam
5 days ago

ERIKA VIKMAN!

Finnish
Finnish
5 days ago
Reply to  sam

Erika has said she won’t be competing in 2021

eurovision suo
eurovision suo
4 days ago
Reply to  Finnish

WHAT????? Where she said that???

Tom
Tom
4 days ago
Reply to  eurovision suo

She also said this after she finished second back in March 🙁