Aksel Kankaanranta won the final of 'UMK', Finland’s national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. After competing against Catharina Zühlke, Erika Vikman, F3M, Sansa and Tika, it was Aksel who took home the honour of representing the Scandinavian country in Rotterdam next May with the song 'Looking Back'.
The show was broadcast live by Finnish broadcaster YLE on their website and people living in Finland could vote for their favourite during the show. A combination of public and televoting determined that Aksel was the winner of the 2020 edition of UMK.
During the final, all 6 finalists performed their song, after which voting opened. An international jury gave their points: Aksel received 73 points and rose for first place. He ended up winning the Finnish national selection after receiving most points from the televote as well.
Check out their performances below:
Aksel - Looking Back (170 points - winner)
Erika Vikman - Cicciolina (157 points - 2nd place)
Tika - I Let My Heart Break (127 points - 3rd place)
F3M - Bananas (84 points - 4th place)
Catharina Zühlke - Eternity (66 points - 5th place)
Sansa - Lover View (36 points - 6th place)
Aksel Kankaanranta took part in The Voice of Finland 2017 and featured in the prize-winning megahit Jättiläinen (Giant) of Finnish artist Pyhimys. Aksel is determined to show that being shy shouldn’t prevent you from performing before an audience. “People ask me why I want to appear before an audience of one million, even though I’m shy. Why should that be a problem? I want to fulfil myself and provoke strong feelings and reactions. I want to transmit emotions with my singing."
Aksel’s piece, Looking Back, is a sensitive song of world-weariness, love and the feeling of inadequacy. “We set all kinds of milestones in our lives. Are they actually of any value and does achieving them really make us happy?,” Aksel asks, describing the song.
What do you think of Finland's choice for Eurovision 2020? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on 31 January 2020, 09:00 CET
Finland releases UMK songs!
This year, 6 artists are competing for the win in Finland's nationals selection show 'UMK': Tika, Erika Vikman, Aksel Kankaanranta, F3M, Sansa and Catharina Zühlke. The winner will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam. Finnish broadcaster YLE will broadcast the UMK final on 7 March.
Finland has now released all 6 of its national selection songs for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. The artists competing for the title are Tika with I Let My Heart Break, Erika Vikman with Cicciolina, Aksel Kankaanranta with Looking Back, F3M with Bananas, Sansa with Lover View and Catharina Zühlke with Eternity.
I Let My Heart Break by Tika
Having told us that Whitney Houston and Celine Dion are her greatest idols, Tika's I Let My Heart Break is described as a song that follows in the footsteps of those artists.
Cicciolina by Erika Vikman
Cicciolina is an energetic Finndisco piece, where no attempts are made to hide female sexuality. With this piece, Erika wants to remind us that a bold female touch and feminism are by no means mutually exclusive.
Looking Back by Aksel Kankaanranta
Aksel’s piece Looking Back is a sensitive song of world-weariness, love and the feeling of inadequacy. “We set all kinds of milestones in our lives. Are they actually of any value and does achieving them really make us happy?,” Aksel asks, describing the song.
Bananas by F3M
Bananas is a catchy and dance-inspired pop song performed with the anarchistic touch of F3M. It has uncompromising tolerance and boisterous partying as its themes.
Lover View by Sansa
Sansa’s entry, Lover View, is a cool and sensual piece of electropop. “It tells about the ultimate connection and love, something that we all need,” Sansa says.
Eternity by Catharina Zühlke
Eternity tells about the power of love. “When this song was born, all the pieces just fell into place. I got a strong feeling that this song has a greater meaning.”
The winning song will be selected on Saturday 7 March in a live UMK broadcast. People living in Finland can vote for their favourite during the live broadcast. The songs and performances will also be scored by an international jury; the combination of votes and scores will determine the winner.
The winner of UMK will represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. Finland takes part in the second Semi-Final on 14 May.
Posted 21 January 2020 at 12:22 CET
Who will represent Finland at Eurovision 2020?
The 6 finalists were chosen from a total of more than 400 entries by the UMK jury of music professionals, chaired by Tapio Hakanen, Head of Music at YleX radio.
The entries will be released, 1 by 1, at midnight on Yle Areena and across various music streaming services like Spotify, Deezer and YouTube:
Friday 24th January: Tika - I Let My Heart Break
Monday 27th January: Erika Vikman - Cicciolina
Tuesday 28th January: Aksel Kankaanranta - Looking Back
Wednesday 2th January: F3M - Bananas
Thursday 30th January: Sansa - Lover View
Friday 31st January: Catharina Zühlke - Eternity
Tika, the winner of the Finnish X Factor 2018, promises to deliver a real power ballad powerhouse with I Let My Heart Break: “I applied for UMK because I love the Eurovision Song Contest and I think that UMK is a great concept. I was given the chance to be a part of this and I really feel fantastic! Whitney Houston and Celine Dion are my greatest idols because they are strong women and they really bring it."
Tika, who was adopted from Nepal at the age of 1, has already taken part in the Swedish Idols and The Voice of Finland. She has also appeared in the Swedish Find my Family series, which helped her to find her brother and other family members living in Nepal. She loves to travel and explore nature and is a fan of crime and murder mystery podcasts.
The UMK jury on Tika's entry: "This would be at home in the latest James Bond movie. A great song! Her magnificent voice and personality combine into a strong performance. The M-Eazy production team knows how to turn out pop hits and this is a fine world-class power ballad."
Erika Vikman’s piece is the boldest entry to this year’s UMK. She sings pop songs in Finnish and even though they are made with a tongue in cheek, they also have a message.
Talking about her entry, Erika explains: "When we made this song, I instantly felt that this would make a great entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. In a fantastic coincidence, I then heard that UMK is reinstating the open application process. We first thought that this is a crazy idea, but then we realised that this is how it should be."
Cicciolina is an energetic Finndisco song where Erika reminds us that a bold female touch and feminism are by no means mutually exclusive: "I really believe that my song conveys an important message and I believe in it 100%. I hope that this will also empower the listeners and make them think."
The UMK jury: "This song may very well become a pop hit that will still be played at Finnish bachelorette parties ten years from now. The songs of Mökkitie Records are in many ways at the heart of Finnishness and with her charismatic artist personality, Erika is the right person to perform it."
Aksel took part in The Voice of Finland 2017 and featured in the prize-winning megahit Jättiläinen (Giant) of the Finnish artist Pyhimys. Aksel is determined to show that being shy shouldn’t prevent you from performing before an audience. “People ask me why I want to appear before an audience of one million, even though I’m shy. Why should that be a problem? I want to fulfil myself and provoke strong feelings and reactions. I want to transmit emotions with my singing."
For Aksel, The Voice of Finland was a great learning experience and the best thing was the chance to perform before large audiences. "It was like a baptism by fire. I realised that I’m not nervous almost at all when on stage. I’m also looking forward to UMK and expect that it will be an equally great experience. There I’ll have the chance to concentrate on my performance; in fact, I can be the personal radio beacon of my song," Aksel explains.
Aksel’s song Looking Back is a sensitive song telling about world-weariness, love and the feeling of inadequacy. "We set all kinds of milestones in our lives. Are they actually of any value and does achieving them really make us happy?" Aksel asks, describing the song. When not working, Aksel listens to vinyl records and spends time with his dog to whom he also sings.
The UMK jury: “Looking Back could very well be an international top 10 hit by Sam Smith or James Arthur. A really great piece from Joonas Angeria and a fantastic interpretation by Aksel Kankaanranta. Aksel is a fine personality and it is great to see him at UMK."
F3M wants to be the Spice Girls of the 2020s. Their music is full of wild energy and with their highly distinctive personalities, the members of the trio show that we are all great in our own way. Bananas is a catchy and dance-inspiring pop song performed with an anarchistic touch. It has uncompromising tolerance and boisterous partying as its themes.
Viv, Baby O and MIARA, the members of the band, describe themselves as walking jukeboxes. "We decided to take part in the UMK because we want to show everybody what we can achieve as a band. And of course, because this is what we want to do: sing and perform. We are really looking forward to showing our talent in the Eurovision Song Contest."
The UMK jury: "F3M is a combination of the early 2000s power pop á la Gwen Stefani and Britney Spears and the super-energetic bands of today, such as Blackpink and Little Mix. The positive energy of the trio is reflected in the song itself and the Kaiku Songs team has ensured that each second is packed with strong pop hooks."
Sansa, a long-term musician, is bringing a touch of club atmosphere to UMK. After a love affair with indie folk, Sansa has adopted a more electronic style and is now writing timeless pop music. Her cooperation partners include the EDM artist Kaskade, a far cry from the days when she was performing warm-ups for Bryan Adams and appeared in Provinssirock Festival. Sansa names Sia and Robyn as her main musical influences at the moment.
Representing Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest would be a dream come true for her: "I have always been fascinated by this event and I have dreamed of taking part since I was a little girl. I now feel that the time has come and that I finally have the right song," Sansa explains.
Sansa’s entry, Lover View, is a cool and sensual piece of electropop. "It tells about the ultimate connection and love, something that we all need" Sansa says. She values a healthy life, which means that when she's not writing and performing music, she spends time with friends, does physical exercise or enjoys books and television series.
"This is the UMK 2020 finalist who would be a perfect fit for the Helsinki's Flow Festival. Sansa’s voice and the way in which she performs are classic Nordic pop at its best and the production of Yotto and Anton Sonin, two of Finland’s top DJs, could well be from Robyn’s latest album." – UMK jury of professionals
Catharina Zühlke, who came 2nd in the Contest for New Music UMK in 2017, is an experienced artist: She has loved performing since she was a little girl and has worked as a professional musician for many years. In 2013, she came 5th in Finnish Idols. Catharina is known as a performer of melodious and empowering pop music. She has German roots, but grew up in Vantaa, Finland, listening to Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. "I have always admired female artists with a powerful voice and this has greatly influenced my own singing style."
Eternity, the song Catharina performs, tells about the power of love. "When this song was born, all the pieces just fell into place. I got a strong feeling that this song has a greater meaning," Catharina explains. In addition to singing, Catharina also likes dancing and spending time with her friends.
The UMK jury: "A touching story, a dynamic song and a great interpretation by Catharina all make this a potential world-beater at the Eurovision Song Contest. Henrik Tala, the Finn behind the successful Norwegian entry in the 2019 contest, has again shown that he is a world-class writer and producer of pop music."
The final of UMK will be broadcast live on Yle TV1 and in the free Yle Areena streaming service, starting at 20:00 CET. The international public can also watch the final online.
The event will be hosted by Krista Siegfrids and commentated on by Mikko Silvennoinen. The YleX radio's morning show's hosts Viki and Köpi will be hosting the Green Room and the Swedish commentaries will be by Johan Lindroos and Eva Frantz.
People living in Finland can vote for their favourite during the live broadcast. The songs and the performances will also be scored by an international jury. The votes by the public and the scores given by the international jury will determine the winner.