UMK started out really nicely last week with the most good-looking final in years and a breath of fresh air through the new presenters. That was a very nice surprise. This week should have had a surprise as well, but Laura Voutilainen already managed to reveal she'll be a guest star alongside Krista Siegfrids and Virve Rosti.
At least there is always the running order, which will not be revealed until the show starts. So these reviews come in alphabetical order instead.
Jouni Aslak / Lions And Lambs
Sounds like an entry by Swedish State of Drama, processed through a pop filter, but the arena rock approach in the chorus is really effective (and honestly suits this guy better than State of Drama). Join has a personable voice and look but this entry could ultimately prove to be that tiny bit too unexciting to really work.
Eeverest / Love It All Away
Flawlessly produced dance pop, designed to live a successful life on the airwaves without annoying anyone. In Eurovision you different qualities, unfortunately. You need to poke people in the eye - at least a bit - to provoke some emotion in them. This band does nothing of the kind. Everyone will enjoy their song but very few will feel obliged to vote for it.
Otto Ivar / Truth Or Dare
I'm sure this happens to other than me too, that you like a participating artist really much and wish them all the best and wish they had a better song to work with. That's where I stand with Otto Ivar, who seems like a really nice and talented guy. I'd like to like this song a lot more than I do. Not bad but not really engaging either.
Opera Skaala / Heart Of Light
Where do I start? There are so many things I really like here and would want to totally love this. The singing is perfect, just like the aesthetics of the video clip as well as the general sense of madness. Unfortunately the song doesn't live up to the rest of the package - especially in the long and strange bridge between the first chorus and the second verse where the whole thing derails and crumbles to bits. I would have wanted more and heavier beats but secretly hope for this to totally work live.
Shava / Ostarilla
Bhangra in Finnish? Well, why not? Part of me thinks it is charming, part of me starts screaming about cultural appropriation, but in the end the song in itself is too weak. Nothing much happens but the exotic vibe will be more than enough to wake people up and vote this entry all the way to the final.
Siru / Mustelmat
Like a mix between Jenni Vartiainen and Jannika B, Siru emerges with the best song in the entire line-up; an elegant and breezy little pop pearl that surprisingly enough has failed to meet the universal acclaim it deserves. If it fails to reach the final I promise to cry and curse a little bit before falling asleep.
As always I have no idea how these performers will sound and look when performing live, but I predict Shava, Opera Skaala and Siru to pass on to the final. Shava is a sure bet, and I would like Siru to be as well. In the fight for third place Opera Skaala will beat Jouni Aslak with its sheer madness, unless the operatics become too much for the average viewer on a Saturday night.