It’s only been a bit after the official announcement of singer Saara Aalto as the country’s 2018 Eurovision representative. However, Finnish national broadcaster YLE has already announced that tickets for their national final format Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) are going on sale next Tuesday, 14 November.
About UMK 2018
Finnish national final is going to be held on 3 March at Espoo Metro Areena. The show presenters will be the Finnish 2013 representative Krista Siegfrids (for the 3rd consecutive time), as well as the Finnish Eurovision commentator Mikko Silvennoinen, who will be joining the UMK hosting project for the first time.
UMK 2018 sees Saara Aalto perform 3 songs especially composed for her. Televoting and international juries will have both a stake at the final decision on which of the proposed songs will travel with her to Lisbon. The 3 battling entries will be released before spring 2018, with Saara stating that they will differ to each other, as well as they all are going to get a special stage performance.
Saara’s Eurovision trials and aspirations
This won’t be Saara’s first Eurovision attempt, as she had taken part in 2011 and 2016 Finnish national selections, coming 3rd and 2nd respectively. Giving an interview, she recognizes that she’s been a 2nd placing champion, as apart from being the 2016 Finnish runner-up, she has also taken part and finished 2nd in both The Voice of Finland and X Factor UK. Regarding her Eurovision aspirations, she stated:
I know that this journey is going to be fantastic regardless of the results of the actual competition. I’m of course jumping right in with the attitude that I can win the Eurovision Song Contest – or at least finish in second place! That’s something I’ve been great at, no doubt about it… Saara jokes.
Here is her performance at Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu 2016, with her entry No fear:
You may read the full artist’s interview here (in Finnish).
YLE opts for different selection mechamism
Although YLE has been holding a national final where several artists battle for the golden Eurovision ticket for many years now, it came as a surprise that the broadcaster went internally this year when it comes to the artist selection.
Regarding the chosen act, UMK producer Anssi Autio states:
We strongly believe that the luminous Saara Aalto, who is building an international music career, is our secret weapon to success. We are putting all our best efforts into having three captivating songs and shows to choose from, with the best one to be staged in May in Lisbon.
Who makes it to Eurovision and how to achieve that spot in the Eurovision Final is a mixture of various factors as Eurovision history has shown. We are confident that we now have in our hands the recipe for success.
Finland at Eurovision
Finland debuted in the contest in 1961 and has won the competition once in 2006 with Lordi’s Hard rock Hallelujah.
The country has encountered mixed fortunes in the contest throughout its history in the contest. The Finns have only made it once to the Top 5, namely in 2006 when they walked away with the coveted trophy.
The Nordic country has struggled to qualify to the Grand Final since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, thus missing out 7 times. The last time when Finland were a part of the Grand Final was back in 2014, with the rock band Softengine singing Something Better. Eventually, they finished in 11th place with 72 points.