Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Eurovision My-o-vision

Eurovision 2007 made me love Helsinki!

The Eurovision Song Contest is a tradition that started way back in 1956. Some say it was one of the traditions that lead to the formation of the EU, by bringing the war torn European community together. Each country submits a song that is performed by a corresponding singer. Each country selects its own performer, sometimes selected by voting… I think. The overall winner of the Eurovision Song Contest is selected by international cell phone voting. You can’t vote for your own country’s performer, but you can vote for your neighbors. There is obviously some
politicking, especially considering some of the winners. It’s not entirely based on talent. Or maybe not at all based on talent. Last year, Finland won. In accordance with the tradition, this means that it also hosted this year’s contest in Helsinki. This is also the first time Finland has ever hosted because they had never ever won before.

If you really want to understand the contest, check out Lordi’s winning performance from last year. He and his band dressed up like monsters and played a hard rock/metal song called Hard Rock Hallelujah. The funny part of the story is, those monster outfits are the only way that the Finnish public knows Lordi and his band. That’s right; they’ve never made a public appearance without the masks. Aaaaand, the even funnier part of the story is that Lordi was invited to the Annual National Ball at the President’s house on Independence Day last year. He didn’t show up because masks were not allowed at the event (due to security concerns). There was lots of national suspense: would Lordi uncover his appearance and go to the National Ball? We were all left in disappointing wonder when he still hadn’t shown up by the end of the evening. What does his bright, shiny, death metal face look like? Still don’t know. The Finnish territory is covered with Lordi goods and paraphernalia that range from soda to action figures.

Here's their 2006 winning performance:

Most of the performances at Eurovision are very similar sounding pop songs. Lordy was different. Occasionally the winner makes it big. Some examples are ABBA, Olivia Newton John, and Celine Dion. You might notice from these examples that the nationality of the performer doesn’t have to correspond to the country that they are representing… if any of you non-Europeans want to give it a try. Most of the time, nothing becomes of the winner. It’s generally pretty awful music, but it’s incredibly entertaining to know about.

We were not able to get tickets to the actual Eurovision performance in Helsinki because they sold out faster than I could dial the number on my Nokia. However, we went to Helsinki to witness the mayhem anyway. It was nothing less than awesome! There were performers in the street, break-dancers, people displaying their national Eurovision pride by wearing their country’s flags, and free concerts. A whole lot of Europe actually came to Finland. Finland doesn’t get a lot of attention, so it was fun to witness. We also took a trip over to Suomenlinna, Finland’s island fortress, for a relaxing lunch. In Helsinki you can find both mayhem and relaxation on any given day! This weekend, made me LOVE Helsinki!