Finland’s turn tonight, a veteran entrant, having participated 45 times. They only have one win to show for it, from 2006, with perhaps one of the most infamous winners the show has ever seen. Lordi’s “Hard Rock Hallelujah” was a pretty full-on thrash rock song, complete with hellish monster outfits. It was essentially a novelty track, albeit one that drew on Finnish folklore about ogres and trolls for inspiration. Personally it wasn’t my cup of tea at all, and while it drew a lot of attention to the show, the ripples from this event inspired novelty entries for the subsequent years.
Lordi was a gamble that paid off, but more often than not Finland have had a less than stellar record in the contest, coming last 8 times. Perhaps this rivals Norway’s track record in tragedy, since even Norway has won three times. Finland takes some solace now from being well placed to get points from the Nordic block and her Baltic friends from the former Soviet Union, such as Estonia and Latvia.
It’s difficult to pigeonhole a Finnish entry, they tend to be quite laid-back and folkish in nature, but then next year they’d come out with some hi-NRG eurodance, or some monster rock.
The adorable Paradise Oskar was the talk of the contest last year, but despite finishing 3rd in his semi-final, he came a lowly 21st in the final. I suspect they will have even less luck this year with a non-English entry (typically not a winning formula for them), though curiously they have sent a Swedish-language song for the second time in their history, from a seemingly-unknown singer Pernilla Karlsson.
It’s actually a rather lovely waltzy song, no big notes, no big hooks, it’s just a beautiful little folk song. The stage production is curious, with a sole dancer on the stage, doing a striking bit of interpretive dance that is totally lost on me. The Swedish language is utterly beautiful to listen to, perhaps more palatable to me than the tricky Finnish tongue.
I only really noticed at the end that the gentle orchestral accompaniment swells quite a lot towards the end, it’s really quite a grower for me. With the right visuals this could just about squeak into the final, but without many of Finland’s allies in the same semi-final, I fear it might flounder.