Jaakko Laajava the Finnish Ambassador to Britain has
admitted to having a taste for heavy metal music. Commenting on
his country’s amazing victory in the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday (20th
May 2006), he told the BBC that there was “an element of heavy
metal in me too”, and that he was “thrilled” and “encouraged” by his country’s
first ever Eurovision Song Contest success.
The winning song, “Hard Rock
Hallelujia” sung by the heavy metal band Lordi, featured performers dressed as
monsters wearing grotesque masks, and has
appalled some of Finland’s cultural elite, with many feeling
outraged that such an horrific act should be
allowed to represent their country, potentially damaging it’s
However, the Finnish President, Mrs. Tarja Halonen quickly congratulated the
band in a telegram after Lordi won, and they have now become
national icons. Culture Minister Tanja Karpela said Lordi's
victory proved Finnish music could be successful abroad.
In the Finnish capital Helsinki, traffic ground to a halt,
with police intervening to clear the jam, as hundreds of people
celebrated in the streets, waving flags and singing Lordi's song.
One fan, Erkki Turunen, said Finland won "because it put on a genuine show".
"This wasn't some sort of rubbish. This was really cool," he said.
In London there were celebrations amongst Finnish
ex-patriots, one Eurovision fan, Dr. Jussi Kalkkinen said: "I
hate heavy metal, but when we saw those guys, you just had to vote for them."
Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat proclaimed: "It's
official: Hell has frozen over. Finland has won."
The song was given the highest ever score in the Song Contest’s history and
gained the maximum 12 points from voters in Britain who phone
in with their scores.
Britain, which takes part in the contest every year only
achieved 19th place out of a total of 24 other European countries. Critics
suggest that the sentiments of the UK song, Teenage Life by Daz
Simpson, would not have been understood outside the UK, whilst the performers’
costumes, school uniform, would have mystified
most, as it is a mode of dress generally unknown on mainland Europe.