Finland picks crooner Aksel Kankaanranta for Eurovision 2020

The singer will perform 'Looking Back' in Rotterdam in May, with hopes of securing a place in the Song Contest final.

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

Televoters and music juries have selected singer Aksel Kankaanranta to represent Finland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Kankaanranta was the only male contestant, and his pop-ballad ‘Looking Back’ scored 170 points at the Uuden Musiikin Kilpaulu UMK 2020 competition on Saturday night in Tampere, ahead of five other entries.

‘Looking Back’ topped the jury vote, and came second in the televote, putting him in pole position ahead of pre-contest favourite Erika Vikman with her campy Euro-dance number ‘Cicciolina’ – which had already clocked up close to 1.3 million views online before the UMK final.

Kankaanranta is a former Voice of Finland contestant, and one of the songwriters behind his track has written for Christina Aguilera and Zara Larsson, among others.

Return to format for UMK

This year UMK returned to its roots with six different acts vying for the Eurovision nomination. In the last few years organisers have focused on one artist singing several songs for voters to chose from.

Since winning the Eurovision Song Contest for the first and only time back in 2006 when Lordi performed ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’, Finland has had mixed results and appeared just seven time in the finals.

In recent years Finland has only qualified once in five attempts for the Song Contest grand final.

This May in Rotterdam the hopes of the nation rest with Kankaanranta’s performance in the second semi-final on Thursday 14th May. The final is two days later on Saturday 16th May.

“Finland’s team aims to get to the final with a positive attitude” says UMK producer Anssi Autio.

“The same top team that was involved in the UMK performance will be responsible for the show in the Eurovision Song Contest, says the happy UMK producer Anssi Autio.”

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