Tonight, at the Helsinki Ice Hall (actually next door to where I live), it will be decided who will be the first ever winner of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (or, as most would have it, what song Finland will send to Eurovision).
The change of selection modus has neither been universally popular nor undisputed in Finland - suddenly both press and viewers seem to miss the old national final that they never seemed to care so much for in the last few years.
However, the new modus has led us up to rather a strong final with songs that quite well represent what kind of music is being made in Finland at the moment.
Last night, one final song was excluded from the running by the jury, which leaves us with the follow six songs in the final (reviewed in alphabetical order since the running order seems to be kept secret for some reason.)
ICONCRASH - We Are The Night
A pale imitation of what The Rasmus looked and sounded like ten years ago, equipped with a hook and a catchy chorus but perhaps not quite the geist needed to break through to the audience. Not helped by the fact that The Real Rasmus will be guesting the show with their new single.
KAISA VALA - Habits Of Human Beings
One of my favourite choruses (the hook sticks like glue in my head) could get a hard time tonight, as it was one of two songs up for elimination last night. Kaisa could very well be a pop star in the making, but when she gets carried away some of the notes go all over the place. Hopefully she will be able to keep the lid on her vocals tonight.
MICA IKONEN - Antaa mennä
By far the most relaxed of the participants, Mica Ikonen is very pleasant to look at and listen to and would have been a good choice for Finland if it wasn't for the song, that has been plastered together by bits and pieces from some of Robbie Willams' greatest hits (most notably "Something Beautiful"). Good performer, disappointing song.
PERNILLA KARLSSON - När jag blundar
The first song in Swedish in a Finnish national final since 1994 is an atmoshperic ballad that seems to be growing into something of a favourite. The choice of language makes it stand out from the others, and this young handball player could go really far tonight, especially if she dares to sing out properly.
STIG - Laululeija
Here it comes - the song nobody outside of Finland would understand. Stig, who cut a name for himself as a local gangsta rap parody, is an odd sight but is equipped with a tender and likeable little song, flavoured with very catchy whistelings. Nobody seems to know if he is serious or not, which quite adds to the entertainment value. I very much doubt that the average Finlandera would want an act like this to represent them, but the song sounds like a domestic hit to me.
VILLE EETVARTTI - Lasikaupunki
Alongside Pernilla, this is my personal favourite tonight. A suggestive rock ballad dressed up in a Coldplay-esque arrangement, and where the Finnish lyrics sound crisp and appealing. The only question mark here is how the performance will come across and what the audience will make of Ville's somewhat peculiar voice.
The jury has been given the boot and tonight's result will be decided by televoting only. Three songs will go on to a super final before the eventual winner is chosen. The final starts at 20:00 CET and will be streamed live here .
My guess, then? It is hard to predict what the audience will like since all judging has been done by the jury so far. It is also hard to tell how many people will watch and how many people will vote.
My gut feeling says that Pernilla Karlsson could be the one to make an impression, the one people will remember in a positive light at the end of the presentation. She is also certain to attract the votes of Swedish speakers (unless they opt to follow Melodifestivalen instead) and she is likeable and down to earth in a way that often appeals to Finns.
If I have to name one probable winner, then it is Pernilla. But there could be many surprises before this night is over.