Seven acts will compete at Finland’s upcoming Eurovision national final UMK 2021. And today broadcaster YLE confirmed that they’ll make the big reveal of the artists on Wednesday, January 13 at 13:00 local time. Because of ongoing pandemic concerns, there won’t be a glitzy meet and greet as in recent years. Instead, YLE will release a video that reveals the identity of the seven finalists.
As in recent years, the winner will ultimately be decided by a mix of public voting and an international jury.
The number of competing acts was whittled down from 278 entries. And while fans will have to wait until January to find out exactly who is competing, YLE promises a versatile lineup.
The songs were selected by a jury of industry professionals, led by radio YleX’s music manager Tapio Hakanen. He had praise for the applicants, saying, “The level of the songs and artists was incredibly strong and I am confident that we have coming in the spring of 2021 the toughest UMK of all time. I’m really happy and grateful to each and every musician who sent a song to Yle.”
The broadcaster notes that UMK 2021 has attracted both new and upcoming acts, as well as established artists.
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.”
Are you going to have your phone at the ready on January 13? Who are you hoping for? Let us know down below!