The Finnish broadcaster YLE is considering changing the format for UMK, the national Eurovision selection show, after disappointing viewing figures this year.
Less than 358,000 viewers watched Saturday’s edition of UMK in which Look Away by Darude ft Sebastian Rejman was selected to represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. This was a significant drop from last year’s figure when 730,000 viewers tuned in to see Monsters selected as Saara Aalto’s song for the 2018 contest.
Ville Vilén, Director of Creative Broadcasting at YLE has expressed disappointment at the viewing figures for the show, according to the Finnish tabloid Iltalehti. Although he did note that viewing habits, especially among younger people has changed significantly since UMK commenced in 2012 with on-demand now being a major part of broadcasting.
As a result, the format for UMK in 2020 is under review. At this stage, changes to the format are not being excluded. Vilén stated that if the broadcaster were to once again approach an artist such as Saara Aalto or Darude to sing a number of songs during the selection, the artist must be significantly well-known. However, if such an artist cannot be found then other options will be considered including, perhaps, a return to the multi-artist format previously used in the competition.
In any case, a final decision will not be made until the result of Darude and Sebastian Rejman’s performance in Tel Aviv is known.
About “Look Away””
“Look Away” was written by Sebastian Rejman and Ville Virtanen, and was one of three songs performed by Sebastian and Darude on Saturday in Turku. Darude has described the message of the song:
Terrible things happen in the world. There are natural disasters, illness, wars and refugees. It’s easier to look elsewhere than to see or think about these things. The message of the song is that you should see, watch and do something.
Darude is a Finnish DJ and producer known internationally for his 1999 trance instrumental, Sandstorm. He will participate in Eurovision alongside singer and actor Sebastian Rejman.
Watch the UMK performance of “Look Away” below:
Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest
Finland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961, they debuted alongside Spain and Yugoslavia. Finland has finished last in the contest on 10 occasions and has received ‘nul points’ three times. It wasn’t until 2006 that Finland won the Eurovision Song Contest. Lordi represented the country in Athens with the song “Hard Rock Hallelujah” scoring 292 points, a record total at the time.