Finland: Aksel Kankaanranta will not return to UMK for Eurovision 2021
Aksel Kankaanranta who won the Finnish national final, UMK 2020, and was set to represent the nation at Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam, will not return to next year's national selection for Eurovision 2021.
Due to the corona pandemic, the Eurovision Song Contest had to be canceled for the first time in its history, and under the competition rules, all competing entries selected for this year were pushed aside as unfit for next year’s competition. Aksel had won UMK 2020 with his song 'Looking Back' and was set to represent the country in Rotterdam.
After the unprecedent cancellation of the contest the countries had to choose between their Eurovision 2020 hopefuls or a new national selection for ESC 2021. YLE decided to hold a new national final, but did not offer a direct spot in the final for Aksel. In the interviews, Aksel himself indicated that he was going to apply for the next UMK. Now the act says in an interview with Voice.fi that he did not end up in the competition .
Aksel states on the matter:
I was about to apply, but then I did not apply. Now let’s take a little look at when someday you could apply again. I’m not really saying I would ever want to participate again, but let’s see sometime then. Maybe in a way it was whether Eurovision will come next year at all, when the terrible situations are still on.
While some countries selected internally their ESC 2020 hopefuls for next year's contest, other opted for a new selection providing a direct place in the final for this year's representative. However, Aksel has mixed feelings on that saying:
Maybe in that case I would have participated if I had automatically got a seat. On the other hand, it is fair that the place in the competition is not given directly. I don’t want any special treatment.
Howevr Aksel feels no disappoitment from not advancing straight to the next national final and considers his UMK experience something poistive no matter what has happened.
Lets remember the entry 'Looking Back' that won the UMK 2020 national final :