The six acts hoping to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam have been unveiled by public broadcaster Yle.
Among them are an X Factor winner, a couple of former Voice of Finland contestants, and a girl group, as well as some established artists who already enjoyed brushes with chart success.
This year marks a return to the traditional Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu UMK format where a selection of artists perform their songs which are then voted on by the public and a jury of music experts.
In 2018 and 2019 Yle selected the artists directly – Saara Aalto; and Darude and Sebastian Rejman – who each offered three song choices.
Who are the contenders?
Singer Tika was the winner of Finland’s X Factor reality competition back in 2018 – and before that appeared on Swedish Idol and Voice of Finland. Her song ‘I let my heart break’ is a power ballad. Tika, who was adopted from Nepal aged one year old, says that Whitney Houston and Celine Dion are her greatest idols. “They are strong women and they really bring it” she adds.
Pop performer Erika Vikman‘s entry ‘Cicciolina’ is described as energetic Finndisco with a feminist message. “I really believe that my song conveys an important message and I believe it 100%. I hope that this will also empower the listeners and make them think” she says.
Another TV singing competition contestant Aksel Kankaanranta took part in the Voice of Finland 2017 and his song ‘Looking Back’ is a sensitive track about love and inadequacy. The Turku singer says that being shy shouldn’t prevent anyone from performing in front of a huge global audience. “I want to transmit my emotions with my singing” he explains.
Girl group F3M wants to be the Spice Girls of the 2020s and their track ‘Bananas’ is a dance-inspired pop song with catchy hooks. The group consists of Viv, Baby O and Miara who say they decided to take part in UMK “to show everybody what we can achieve as a band.”
Sansa brings a club sound to the competition this year with her electronic pop track ‘Lover View’. The Ostrobothnia singer says that she is influenced by Sia and Robyn and has dreamed about taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest since she was a little girl.
Singer Catharina Zühlke is a UMK veteran, coming second in the 2017 competition; she also placed fifth in Idols 2013. Her song ‘Eternity’. “I always admired female artists with a powerful voice and this has greatly influenced my own singing style” says the Vantaa singer who counts Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson among her influences.
When can we hear the songs?
The six songs will be release each Friday starting on 24th January and then every every few days until 31st January ahead of the live UMK 2020 show in Tampere on Saturday 7th March.
The event will be hosted by previous Finnish Eurovision contestant Krista Siegfrids and commentator Mikko Silvennoinen.
People living in Finland can vote for their favourite act during the live broadcast and there will also be an international jury giving their scores.
The winner goes on to represent the nation in Rotterdam in May – and Finland will have to qualify from one of the semi finals to get into the Eurovision final, something that’s happened infrequently in recent years.