UMK seems to be changing every year and this year a lot of questions has risen why there are no semifinals, why only ten songs, why so many singers are from talent shows, and most of all: why there are the international juries and will tv audience understand something about the voting this time around? UMK producer Anssi Autio sat down with Sanna Vilkman from YLE News to clarify ten facts and gives us insight to UMK's future plans.
1. Why there are no more semifinals?
We dropped the semifinals as we want to concentrte on one amazing show. The final show in Metro Arena in Espoo January 28, 2017 will be massive compared to the previous ones. The atmosphere will be something else in the fully backed arena and professionals like Live Nation taking care of the show with UMK team. The entries will be presented in bigger stagings and shows, planned for the big stage. They will be more like they would be at the Eurovision, on that scale of stage. (in another interview it was also said YLE's budget cuts has something to do with ti. Ed.note)
2. Why the Finnish juries have been replaced by the international ones?
Once again the winner will be chosen by 50-50 televote and juries. Last year's Finnish juries have been replaced by ten international juries. The reason for this is that we are indeed interested what "they" think about us. The juries will vote in the live show and they will remain unknown, but they are music and media professionals mixed with some random citizens.
3. Why people can vote only ten entries?
Judging the experience in the past few years it felt like ten is the optimum number. Hardcore Eurovision fans would of course like to have 40 songs but thinking of common people, ten is the number they can deal with - it's easier to get to know the artists and the songs.
4. How can you vote?
One can start voting on New Year's even when we will have a preview show (And the videos will be revealed, Ed.note). This vote is on YLE's website where you can register. This runs until the day before the final. During the final show one can vote by phone or SMS.
5. Last year's UMK was critzised for a confusing voting system. Has this been fixed?
Last time Saara Aalto who got the most televotes lost to Sandhja who was favored by the juries (The same system is in use in the Eurovision. Ed.note) People didn't quite get how their votes were trasnfered into points (The same way as used in the Eurovision, and Meldoifestivalen. Ed.note). The voting system wasn't the problem but the way the votes were displayed on television. Now this has been changed andd fixed.
6. How can you get into the mood beforehand?
Something is going on in the web all the time. All sort of pre-shows will be both in web and television. New social media platforms are being used like Snapchat. The best way to stay updated is to follow yle.fi/umk and #umk17 in social medias.
7. What kind of music was on offer this year?
The 90'smusic is really popular right now. As usual there were a lot of female singer-songwriters. The most surprising thing was the increase of foreign songwriters. It's forbidden in the UMK rules to send the same song to other countries' selection so it can't be they sent them everywhere. You'd be caught sooner or later. Maybe the other countries selections aren't just as good?
8. Why so many singers are from the Voice and Idols?
They are many as they have proved their singing skills. Also many writers search for suitable singers from this kind of contests. (Emma, Anni and Daniel are from the Voice, Zuhlke from the Idols and Daniel has even done Spanish OT, Ed.note)
9. How the finalist were chosen?
Over 400 demos were sent to UMK, and the first jury chose 100 of them. They were sent to various music business professionals and producers and some UMK people were also involved in this. It was a long process. The top 30 were interviewed and auditioned live. The final cut was made considering various musical styles and performances. UMK is a show for the whole family and every taste.
10. Will UMK change again next year?
Our aim is to make it bigger and bigger, a bit like Melodifestivalen in Sweden. There it is a real tour around Sweden. Maybe in the future we will have several shows as well. UMK develops and transforms every year.