No automatic second chance for Aksel Kankaanranta at Eurovision 2021

The singer doesn't get an automatic free pass to next year's Song Contest after this year's event in Rotterdam was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

File picture of Aksel Kankaanranta, Tampere, 7th March 2020 / Credit: UMK

Finnish singer Aksel Kankaanranta won’t be getting an automatic berth to represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021.

This year’s event was supposed to take place in Rotterdam in May, with Kankaanranta selected by a public vote and music industry jury earlier this month to be Finland’s entrant.

His ballad ‘Looking Back’ would have been performed in one of the semi-finals, with hopes of making it through to the grande finale.

However with this year’s contest canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and performers unable to have their three minutes in the international spotlight, many countries are giving their artists a second change to represent them next year instead – albeit with a new song.

Finnish organisers say that Kankaanranta is welcome to submit an entry, like anyone else who wants to go to Rotterdam 2021.

“A year is a long time for any song, and only new music features in the Eurovision Song Contest” says Anssi Autio, producer of the New Music Competition UMK staged by public broadcaster Yle.

“Aksel is very welcome to take part in UMK with a new song next year if he wants to. However, the UMK jury of music professionals will select the competitors, and voters will make the final decision regarding Finland’s representative” he adds.

This year’s UMK cycle say more than 400 song submissions so it’s likely Kankaanranta will face some tough competition in 2021 if he decides to participate.

Watch Aksel Kankaanranta’s 2020 Eurovision entry ‘Looking Back’