Aksel Kankaaranta, the winner of UMK 2020, has confirmed that he did not submit an entry for UMK 2021, and therefore will not represent Finland at Eurovision 2021.
In an interview with voice.fi, Aksel explained that he was working on an entry before but decided not to go through with it:
“I was about to apply, but then I didn’t apply. 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.”
The potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Eurovision 2021 was also a factor in Aksel’s decision:
“Maybe in a way it was whether Eurovision will come next year at all, when the terrible situations are still happening.”
The EBU’s announcement about Eurovision 2021 taking place under one of four scenarios came after the UMK 2021 submission window was opened.
Aksel also commented that his overall UMK experience was positive despite not going to Eurovision. When asked about him not getting an automatic place in UMK 2021 or not being directly selected to represent Finland in 2021, he replied:
“Maybe in that case I would have participated if I had automatically got a place. On the other hand, it is fair that the place in the competition is not given directly. I don’t want any special treatment.”
The seven finalists of UMK will be revealed on January 19. Like last year, the entries will be released one at a time on consecutive weekdays. The final of UMK 2021 will take place in the Mediapolis Studios in Tampere on February 20.
Aksel Kankaanranta was set to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam. He won UMK 2020 with the song “Looking Back” and had been due to compete in the second half of the second semi-final.
Image Source: YLE / Source: Voice.fi
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.