The first week of UMK felt a bit chaotic, the second week will miss out on its star presenter who is busy cutting a career for herself in the Swedish final. So what is in store for us viewers this week?
There will be some nerve-wracking moments as we will find out if the better songs in the running will survive their live performances. Will the singers deliver vocally and will the stage presentations work in favour of the songs or against them?
Just like last week, I am unsure what the real running order will be so here are the songs presented in the same order as they come on the official UMK website.
Attention 2 / Ready For The Show
It starts out quite nicely, this little pop number. The verse sounds promising enough but then the chorus is too flat and the song lacks any kind of progress or development. Also neither the video clip nor the UMK press conference would suggest that this Finnish equivalent of Tomalchevy sisters would be ready for the big time.
Cristal Snow / Love Is Blind
When an entry has as obvious an agenda as this one has, it really needs to be genuinely strong in order not to become tiresome preaching. This is a powerful song, slightly marred by some lines that seem to contain too many words. My big worry here is the vocal delivery - not so much Cristal's own but whether the backing singers will be powerful enough. Could easily aspire to a higher grade if everyone delivers on stage.
Annica Milán & Kimmo Blom / Good Enough
A classic pop anthem of a kind that thrived in Melodifestivalen some ten years ago. It could be Pernilla Wahlgren and Jan Johansen performing this. It could be Crosstalk. Not my cup of tea really but good voices could lift it into the final.
Rafaela Truda / Rise Up
Snappy production and a good voice are the good signs here. There is a chorus that is easy to retain and hold on to. The problem is that this entry and performance could rapidly find itself being all over the place. Rafaela will need a lot of authority to keep this together, if she does we could all be in for a surprise.
Ylona / Blazing Fire
Maybe I'm just an old cynic but I have had it with young performers singing passionately about how wonderful it is to stand on stage and sing. I can hardly think of a less interesting subject for a song. Ylona does nothing wrong but it would take a close to superhuman force to set this number ablaze.
Mikael Saari / On It Goes
Three years after his first attempt, Mikael Saari has grown from a boy into a rather adorable young man and has a magnificent voice and presence that I look very much forward to. Unfortunately his new song is trying a bit too hard and lacks some of the originality and freshness of his first entry.
Last week all qualifiers were female. This is the time where the boys strike back. My guess is that Mikael Saari and Cristal Snow are the obvious choices, probably joined by the Milán & Blom duet (even if I would personally would prefer Rafaela Truda).
This week's performers almost compete in different contests, though. If Attention 2 would come across as bubbly and adorable they could suddenly find themselves in the final while it's enough for Mikael Saari to slip on a single critical note to make his chances go out the window.