Traditionally, Finland has opted for a multi-artist national final, where each artist has the competing song they hope to take to the Eurovision stage. As such, we tuned into the press conference live stream expecting the artists to be named for the Finnish national final, UMK, however instead we got an artist announcement – in the singular form!
This year, Finnish broadcaster Yle have decided to shake things up by choosing their representative internally, and leaving the song selection up to the public. There’s one artist that comes to mind when we think of a Finnish turned international star, so it comes as no surprise that Saara Aalto will be representing Finland at Eurovision 2018! Saara will be participating in UMK (and she’s not going to come 2nd this time!) where she will be performing three songs that were composed for Saara. The winning song will be chosen by the viewers and an international jury, and this is the song that will go on to represent Finland in 2018. The show will take place live from Espoo Areena on the 3rd of March!
Why the change in the national selection process?
For the last six years, Finnish broadcaster Yle have held a national final with various artists, and the 2018 contest seemingly started off in the same way, with the broadcaster holding an open call for submissions. Instead, the broadcaster has decided to capitalise on Saara’s growing popularity since her appearance on the X Factor UK. They believe that Saara is the right fit for Finland in order to bring the nation their next Eurovision win!
UMK producer Anssi Autio has commented on their choice, saying, ‘We believe strongly 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’
These three songs and music videos will be published before Spring 2018, but the exact dates are still not set. It’s been said that the three songs will all be different but each spectacular in their own way. Finland is also priding themselves on the fact that each detail for this Eurovision bid will be well thought out, ‘There won’t be any of that “let’s just throw in something” vibe. Every detail will be thoroughly thought out and delivered to the maximum. This is going to be a superb experience for the whole of Finland! I have a strong Finnish and international team with me, together we’re able to make great things happen,’ Saara says.
Of course this is not Saara’s first time in UMK. You may remember her from 2011, where she took part in the national selection only to come second behind Paradise Oskar. She returned to the pre-selection in 2016 with the song No Fear, and once again she ended up in 2nd place behind Sandhja. She has also participated in The Voice of Finland, where surprise surprise, she finished in 2nd place! Her latest journey has been in the UK where she participated on the X Factor. She was hugely popular, and history sure does repeat itself as Saara placed second behind winner Matt Terry.
Read more about her X Factor journey here. Watch her 2016 national final performance here: