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When Finns voted on which tune to send to the contest, things were this close between a sugardripping ballad sung in Italian (of all languages), and Lordi. (Finns don't speak Italian, as a rule.)
Lordi won by a few percent, and I was all like, "woot! Hey, Eurovision, here's Finland, and we have balls!" (I expect that most Finns thought that we should get our usual zero points in style this time.)
Lordi made headlines all over Europe just by qualifying, and my British pals (waves) said "woot, Finland has balls, let's vote for them!".
The Eurovision semifinals are for those countries who weren't in the top 10 the year before. Finland is famous for being in the bottom three, about as far from the top 10 as you can get.
And Lordi won the semifinals. (They didn't say that then, they just said that Lordi had qualified for the final.)
Next, the final. We watched the contest that night, but went to bed before they'd tallied the telephone votes from the various countries - we left the sound on though, on the telly, cos you never know.
The Finnish commentators went wild after the first "and 12 points go to -- Finland!", and they were loud enough to get us back out in front of the telly.
See, the last time Finland got 12 points from anybody in the Eurovision contest was in 1977. (12 points is best; then 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1.)
This one was a hoot. Every 12 pointer (a total of 8) got another whoop of laughter, as did the 8 and 10 pointers (lots of either). It's surreal for a Finn to hear "Finland, 12 points", "Finland, 10 points", or even "Finland, 8 points". That never ever happens. Never.
So just for kicks we watched it again the next day - the Swedish channel had a rerun. Their commentator was a teensy bit more subdued than the Finnish ones had been. He said "This is a sensation!", and worried about the Swedish contestant.
Lordi got the most points of any entry ever.
And Lordi's was the first song to win both the semifinal and the final. (They've only held semifinals since 2001 or so, though.)
And of course, Finland will arrange the Eurovision song contest next year. Will I go watch? You betcha. I wanna hear the more normal "Finland: zero points" in person.
Anyway. I quite like the way one foreign Finnish writer put things, before the semifinal: he was worried about the picture that Lordi gives of Finland. "This makes us look like a relaxed open-minded people with a sense of humor. And that's so wrong!".