Saturday, December 30, 2006

HAPPY TRUE FANTASY 2007

With these words sung by my Tarja Turunen of Nightwish fame I want to wish a very happy new year to everyone reading this. I hope to see many of you in Helsinki in May and let's make fantasy come true together! xxx

Tarja Turunen Henkays Ikuisuudesta Commercial

Monday, December 25, 2006

*It Snows In Hell* - Lordi

When Albania got it right

Here's a girl that would be a world star if she came from anywhere else but Albania. She surely won me over in Istanbul. She really had presence on stage one could feel even where I was sitting and waving the Albanian flag like a madman. It was also touching to see the huge number of Albanians in the semifinal - I was practically surrounded by them - who were all gone in the final. They didn't believe they would reach the final or couldn't afford the tickets or get them anymore. So, the aforementioned flag I was waving was given to me by a lovely Albanian woman after the semifinal when I told her I was from non qualifying Finland "Aww honey, take my flag and wave it for me then!" I want Anjeza back!

Anjeza Shahini - Image of You

The stone ballad for Albania


Albania has chosen. The country that usually starts the season managed only being the second song chosen and only the sixth artist known. It doesn't look very promising for them this year either. "Balada e gurit" or "The stone ballad" is a heavily ethnic sounding piece without much of a hook, sung by Aida & Frederik Ndoci (does Aida the woman sound like she's in pain in it?). Albania started its Eurovision adventures with a bang in 2004 and it has been going downhill ever since....

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Artist number 5 out, Kenan!


And so we thought Albania would be once again the very first selecting its next Eurovision artist and/or song. Boy were we wrong! While the Albanian festival is being prepared Turkey came out with Kenan Dogulu, apparently a megastar in his homeland and who is eyeing the international market. Kenan, 32 from Istanbul, released his first album in 1993 and this summer his latest and 10th album "Festival" was released. Often compared to Tarkan or Mustafa Sandal - I'd love to see Musti in Eurovision! - he declares he has his own style and seems to be a rather professional musician and guitar player besides being a singer.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lordi and Finnish Post







A must for all Lordi fans: Lordi boxes to mail gifts to friends! Available only at Finnish Post offices. They also sell a special Christmas cards: Lordi's latest single "It snows in hell" , comes with a Christmas card and envelope! Merry Christmas week everyone!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Lordi's Rocktaurant


Lordi's restaurant, or Rocktaurant, finally opened in Rovaniemi on December 15. The two-floor restaurant plays 80's pantyhose heavy and other melodic heavy rock. The theme is a horror castle upstairs and downstairs the bar is as dark as hell and off limits to kids. Other decoration items include Mr Lordi's previous outfit, baby dolls burned in their concerts and the hats Mr Lordi used in Athens. The downstairs bar is decorated in Hard Rock Café style: Lordi's and Kiss' memorabilia mostly but also from other Finnish bands Lordi likes.

Thousands of people attended the opening, including Santa Claus and the mayor of Rovaniemi. Fireworks and Lordi style pyros were icing on the cake. If Rocktaurant proves a success it might become a chain....

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Welcome back, Edsilia!


After a good start to the season (Moldova's entry that is), another item of great news was revealed today: Edsilia Rombley will return to Eurovision representing the Netherlands again. Her 1998 entry "Hemel en aarde" scored the best result for the Dutch since their last victory in 1975, coming 4th. It's also one of my favourite entries of all time. She's got a wonderful voice and looks good on stage. Hopefully her song will be equally good or better this second time around! The entry will be chosen by televote amongst a few presented in February. And there is even a chance she will sing them all in Dutch!

Friday, December 15, 2006

DJ Bobo,Natalia and Sopho join Dervish




So, it's going to be rather famous DJ Bobo for Switzerland (for once the rumours turned out true), Sopho Khalvashi for Georgia and Natalia Bardu for Moldova.
Natalia seems to be some sort of sex symbol in her Moldova and indeed looks rather foxy in the pics. The song is a good one, too, at least judging by the poor quality file I've heard so far. Her main problem at the moment seems to be finding the money to travel and stay in Helsinki. That girl needs a sponsor badly! Her win was a convincing one; she got top marks from 7 of the 8 jurors and left Eurovision veterans Zdob si Zdub in second place. Soon after we read the news their song was actually breaking the rules for having been performed publicly way too early for the EBU's deadline!
DJ Bobo needs no introduction, at least in Scandinavia and German-speaking Europe. Swizz TV picked up his song from more than 60 songs but we won't hear it until January when it will be officially presented to eager fans.
Georgia will début in the Eurovision with Sopho Khalvashi, who will sing 5 songs in the national final in February. She's another exotic looking vixen from the "east" of Europe...

Make it 42!

There will be 42 countries in Helsinki, a new record even if Monaco drops out at the last minute. They're not claiming the usual "financial problems" like many others before, but state clearly that their three years in contest hasn't given them the desired results.
In 2004, when Monaco returned after an absence of 25 years, they gained only the 20th place in the semifinal. Next year it got worse, only 24th in the semifinal and last year 21st in the semifinal. Maybe they should have hired some famous or semi-famous French girl to do the job like in the good old days instead of young inexperienced yet cute girls with rather lame songs? (Me thinks)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Katri Helena re-releases Christmas album




Katri Helena has re-released by public demand her 1996 Christmas album "Hiljaisuudessa" with three new recordings: "The Little Drummer Boy" as featured in her Christmas concerts this year, late Gösta Sundqvist's "Kai vielä jossain on Joulu" and Carola's "Himmlen in min famn" in Finnish. Katri Helena has been touring with her Christmas concert tour the past month and next we will see her for sure in the great Eurovision 1961-2006 Gala Concert in Espoo, February 8, 2007.

Top-40 round up


While the singers in countries like Switzerland and Moldova are being selected I will put the things in order of importance and have a little round up about what's happening in the Finnish Top-40 in week 50.

Vesa-Matti Loiri (ESC 80) remains at Number One with his album "Ivalo" and has already sold gold. Tarja Turunen's (ex-Nightwish) first solo/Christmas album holds its post at Number 2 and is also certified gold. Ratzz covering "Hard Rock Hallelujah" drops one place to Number 8 with their "Hard Ratzz Hallelujah". Also Rajaton drops one place to Number 10 with their "Sings ABBA with Lahti Symphony Orchestra". However, they just collected a platinum disc for it. ABBA itself drops to number 20 with their "Number Ones".

Lordi leaves the Top-20 dropping to Number 22 but they have sold over 90.000 albums, entering the all time top-60 best selling albums ever in Finland with it, got triple platinum for it, and are enjoying their 42nd week in the charts besides being officially the best selling album in 2006 in Finland - and they also enter the singles Top-10 with their third single from Arockalypse "It snows in hell" at number 2!!

Also the Eurovision hopefuls Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue stay in single's Top-10 for the 4th week with their "Boys out of New York" at number 6 this week. Other Eurovision hopefuls Beats and Styles enter the Top-10 with "Ocean wave" at Number 7.

And in time for Christmas also the list of most played songs on Finnish radio during Christmas time 2005 has been released. Wham's "Last Christmas" tops the list once again, being followed by Antti Tuisku's "Lämmin lumi peittää maan", Katri Helena's "Joulumaa", Vesa-Matti Loiri's "Sydämeeni Joulun teen" and John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is over)".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

One million phonecalls


So we all know now that the final tickets sold out in 3 to 20 minutes, depending on the selling point. The packages including the final were gone in less than 3 hours. By Monday semifinal and its packages were sold and on Tuesday when internet sales started only seats on various semifinal rehearsals were left.... 70.000 tickets and over a million phone calls, half of them within the first hour (Sunday noon-1pm) and the Finnish telephone system didn't collapse. Thank you Nokia! (Well, not that they have directly nothing to do with it, but....) And of course, as early as Sunday afternoon the first tickets appeared on Huuto.net in on line auction....

Anyway, now I am even happier about my tickets, realizing I have been extremely lucky indeed. And today I went to Stockmann's Lippupalvelu and got a cool ticket holder, too - no-one remembered such a thing in Sunday's frenzy! The lady behind the desk was soooo nice and genuinely happy for me that I managed to get the tickets. She was still rather shocked by the assault two days earlier....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

13 minutes!







That's how long it took to sell out the final! In less than three hours even the packages including the final and costing 390 euros were all gone. Apparently all but the semifinal were sold out today which proves there are people willing to pay almost anything to see Eurovision live. It also proves no matter what the organizer does, or who sells the tickets, there are never enough and fans left without tickets blame everything and anything. If I didn't get tickets I would have been surely very disappointed, but it wouldn't make me post nasty comments on YLE or EBU or Finland and Finns in general in every forum and message board available. After all, there are only 70.000 tickets available in 8 events, and probably twice, or even 3-4 times more willing fans to get them. Mathematics is science, not a matter of opinion.
Anyway, I'm happy I made my clever move and didn't go to Stockmann's or BioRex to get my tickets as there seems to have been a real hassle. I went to to Sello instead and arrived there at 11.15 and there were already some 30 people in a nice, neat, proper line (thank you Finns! I love your proper lines!). By noon there was a line of 50 meters behind me....
All went pretty smoothly. The operators printed out tickets like madmen until they didn't get anymore after ten minutes. By 12.13 they shouted the final tickets were gone and the last one went to a guy in front of me. So I had to get the final package at 390 euros.
In less than 3 hours even those were gone but apparently some semifinal tickets are left for the internet selling on December 12....
By 6pm the first tickets appeared on Huuto.net (the Finnish version of eBay) ...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lordi didn't show up. Or did they?

The president's independence day reception's most awaited guests in the end didn't show up. At some point of the evening the TV-commentators said they just heard that two, maybe three Lordi members would be in after all - only that no-one knew them without their masks on. They tried their best to track down the nearly 1900 persons the poor president and her husband had to welcome one by one to the reception, but they managed only to name maybe 1/4 of the guests, so in theory it is possible.... No Lordi in sight, the floor was free and flashes going wild at other less significant people in the house : Kaija Koo, Antti Tuisku, Ville Valo of HIM and comedian Krisse, self proclaimed princess of any situation.

UPDATE 7.12.2006

Well, it remains a mystery. "Mrs Lordi" was spotted and photographed in the reception but she refused to comment on whether any Lordi members had arrived incognito. Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat both seem to have their own opinion on the matter: one telling the same news as on TV that at least two members (Kita and Ox) had arrived after all ; the other claims none of the members had. It proves only they didn't manage to solve the mystery. Only president Tarja Halonen and her staff know the truth and they aren't telling.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Best of Euroviisut Mega Concert


Over 20 past Finnish Euroviisut singers will gather together in Espoo's Länsiauto Areena on February 8, 2007 to perform live over 40 songs. The Finnish representatives Marion (1962, 1973), Viktor Klimenko (1965), Fredi (1966, 1976), Jarkko ja Laura (1968), Markku Aro (1971), Katri Helena (1979, 1993), Kojo (1982), Ami Aspelund (1983), Kirka (1984), Sonja Lumme (1985), Anneli Saaristo (1989), CatCat (1994) and Laura Voutilainen (2002) will be there as well as familiar names from the past Finnish selections who have scored a huge hit without winning : Lea Laven, Frederik, Pepe Willberg, Tapani Kansa and Kim Lönnholm. More names are likely to be added to the list.

Tickets for fans outrage

YLE has announced the specially priced tickets for fans sold through fan organisations like OGAE. Only one package is available containing 8 tickets for rehearsals and both the semifinal and final. The price is 425 euros. At the same moment the number of these tickets was reduced from 700 to 550 (excluding OGAE Finland). In addition, the seating plan for Hartwall Areena was finally published. All this has caused outrage, and not only in the fan community. Apparently no one is happy about this and probably many of those who could get their tickets through OGAE or other fan organisations will not buy them but will try and get a ticket from the ticket offices on Sunday, causing even greater chaos there. Or will there be chaos after all? Most people consider the price too high anyway and in the worse case we will have the hall sold out but with empty seats as big corporations and companies will buy tickets and give them to their staff and clients who may not be the least bit interested in going there.
Some fans have also withdrawn their applications as volunteers in protest... We just have to wait and see how this all ends up...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Trio got the gig of their lifetime


Dog Design will create the Eurovision 2007 visual image.

"This is surely the biggest project we've got so far and surely the most visible" says Ilona Ilottu. She is as confused but happy as her team mates Eeva Sivula and Petri Salmela for the opportunity given by YLE and EBU. They will create the visual image used in logos and all printed matter, so their work will be seen all over town, but less in TV. "Just to make it clear we are not responsible for the stage or choreography or script or whatever!" The theme chosen by YLE is "True Fantasy" as we all know by now and Dog Design's idea is built around kaleidoscope, how to turn fantasy into reality.
These young designers (35-39 years old) studied graphics together in Helsinki's University of Arts and Design. They started collaborating already back then, during the depression years in Finland in the early 1990's. "We felt we had to work while studying to be able to get a job later on, we did it almost for free" and they all worked in different magazines. They have been a success as a trio, winning several awards and honorable mentions. Today one third of their job is designing book covers and other packaging. They also design products for companies, graphics for exhibitions, stamps and logos. "Working as a trio works fine with us. It's faster and easier. We are three different persons with different tastes but if we all agree on something it's usually fine with others, too. And we do disagree as well!" More details on the visual image of Eurovision 2007 will be revealed in January.

Anna tops the rumour chart, claims HS


Helsingin Sanomat is being very Eurovision friendly today. Three Eurovision related articles and a full page! One is a review of Tim Moore's book "Nul points", a very favorable one I might add, the other is about Dog Design and then there's this bit of rumour or speculation of Anna Sorainen being the host of Eurovision 2007. Fact one is she announced last week she won't be doing her talk show in 2007 anymore. Fact two is her co-host in the talk show is Harkimo, the owner of Hartwall Areena. Fact three is that she speaks fluent French and English. On top of that she has been taking care of Formula One driver Kimi Räikkönen's PR and runs an advertising company. She's pretty enough, has charisma and skills. She won't comment. YLE won't either. Well, we will find out soon....

ESC2007 Visual Designers speak out: Meet dog design

A young trio will create the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest visual image based on kaleidoscopic images how fantasy becomes reality. It’s going to be colourful, functional, beautiful and minimalistic. dog design tell about themselves and the project.
"This is surely the biggest project we've got so far, and surely the most visible" says Ilona Ilottu. She is as confused and happy as her team mates Eeva Sivula and Petri Salmela for the opportunity given by YLE and EBU.
They will create the visual image used in logos and all printed matter so their work will be seen all over the Hartwall Areena and city. "Just to make it clear we are not responsable for the stage or choreography or script! Our work will be seen in even unexpected, surprising places all over the Helsinki region" they promise.
The theme chosen by YLE is "True Fantasy" as we all know by now, and dog design's idea is built around kaleidoscope, how to turn fantasy into reality.  These young designers (aged 35-39) studied graphics together in Helsinki University of Arts and Design. They started collaborating already back then, during the depression years in Finland in the early 1990s. "We felt we had to work while studying to be able to get a job after studies and we did it almost for free. We all worked in different magazines. Officially dog design was founded in 1998. We have been lucky to have meaningful work all the time. We could have risked more economically and expand the firm but we like it this way. We enjoy our work and working together. Most of the time it doesn't even feel like work!" they tell.
Dog design has been very succesful winning many awards and honorable mentions.Today one third of their work is designing book covers and packaging. They also design products for companies, exhibition posters, logos and stamps. "Working as a trio is fine with us. We are three different persons with different tastes. If we all like an idea it usually is fine with others, too. Working together is faster, more creative. We discuss a lot about our ideas and it usually leads to new ideas. Of course sometimes you might be a bit hurt if your great idea isn't such a great idea by the others, but you just have to be more objective and accept the opinions of the others". More details on dog design's kaleidoscopic visual on Eurovision Song Contest 2007 will be presented in January. (Original release esctoday.com)

Finnish artists preparing


Let's see a bit about what the Finnish artists are doing these days while preparing for Euroviisut 2007. Beats and Styles released a new single "Ocean wave" on November 29. It features once again Michael Monroe in vocals (of Hanoi Rocks fame) and the new video is online in their web site. Check it out! The rumour is that they're also writing the songs for Humane....
Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue, fresh from their tour of Switzerland, Austria and Germany, entered the Finnish charts at no. 3 with their single "Boys out of New York".
Laura Voutilainen is doing her floor show "DivaDive!" in Helsinki Grand Casino until Christmas to sold out audiences. The song includes the songs of Ella Fitzgerald, Lisa Minnelli, Tina Turner, drag artist and dancers besides Laura's own music. She has told the press her songs for Euroviisut are very different from each other; one is a ballad, the other is not!
Lovex released a limited edition of their album in November. It includes a bonus cd/dvd with mixes, live versions and videos.
Hanna Pakarinen is in the studio recording her third album and seems to be very happy with how the work is progressing and very excited about Euroviisut. The songs are from her new album and not written/produced/arranged specially for Eurovision, just good Hanna songs.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Record breaking 43 countries in Helsinki!


A total of 43 countries have applied to participate in Helsinki. The list is still provisional and the countries will now be informed by the EBU about their fees and they have two weeks to cancel their participation. So, there could be up to 29 countries in the semifinal from which the top 10 qualify to go to the final to join the 14 lucky ones from 2006.

The Czech Republic and Georgia début and Serbia and Montenegro will now have individual entries, while Hungary and Austria return. So the full list looks like this:

ALBANIA, ANDORRA, ARMENIA, AUSTRIA, BELARUS, BELGIUM, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, BULGARIA, CROATIA, CYPRUS, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE, FYR MACEDONIA, GEORGIA, GERMANY, GREECE, HUNGARY, ICELAND, IRELAND, ISRAEL, LATVIA, LITUANIA, MALTA, MOLDOVA, MONACO, MONTENEGRO, NETHERLANDS, NORWAY, POLAND, PORTUGAL, ROMANIA, RUSSIA, SERBIA, SLOVENIA, SPAIN, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, TURKEY, UKRAINE and UNITED KINGDOM.

Monday, November 27, 2006

TRUE FANTASY


Is this a fantasy dream?, sang Ami Aspelund in ESC 1983 and most of the Finns were thinking the same thing on a May night 23 years later. Victory in Eurovision has been just a fantasy for Finns for 45 years, so what would be a better theme for Eurovision 2007 than "Fantasy Dream"? Greeks were feeling the rhythm, Turks were under the same sky and Ukrainians were awakening andFinns will live out the fantasy that came true. That is the red line in all visual effects on ESC 2007 and the theme for the sub logo that will be revealed in January.
YLE has hired a very young Finnish team to take care of all that and the stage design as well. Visual Design will be created by Dog Design agency (Ilona Ilottu, 36, Petri Salmela, 35 and Eeva Sivula, 39). The stage design will be done by students from the University of Art and Design (Kristian Schmidt, 28, Jenni Viitanen, 25, Samuli Laine, 23 and Kalle Ahonen, 25).
Also Finland and different Finnish contrasts will be included, such as summer's light and winter's darkness, hills and mountains in the north and archipelagos in the south, being close to nature and still very high tech, being silent and creatively mad.
"We wanted to find a way to dress Helsinki in Eurovision in a way that it is seen by all of Europe" says Ilona Ilottu. "Our idea is like a kaleidoscope, that portrays the Finnish minimalism".
"The stage design will we based on Finnish mythology, how Väinämöinen showed he was the best singer/storyteller of them all" says Kristian Schmidt, "it's a mixture of Finnish nature, design and high technology!"
TeliaSonera, the biggest telecommunications provider in Scandinavia and the Baltics, is the main sponsor (no Nokia!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Elena Mady - An Actress

I'm still wondering how this would have done if it had won... Different for sure, all or nothing kind of song, a bit like "Hard rock hallelujah" in that sense, risking it all... If only Finns had been braver last year!

Hanna Pakarinen - How can I miss you?

Arja Saijonmaa - Högt över havet

Arja Saijonmaa - Vad du än trodde så trodde du fel - MF 2005

Lordi gets to the Eurovision Song Contest final 2006

This is how it all started....

Finland 12 points!

Unbelievable, earth shakingly memories that still give shivers everytime... :-p

Lordi - Hard Rock Halleluja [Final]

This is why we are here!

i treni di tozeur

My all time favourite. One of them...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Arja Saijonmaa releases a CD in Finnish again


La Arja (62) has released a new CD "Rakkaus on rohkeutta" (Love is being brave), her first in Finnish since 2000. Multilingual and political artist and United Nation's Goodwill Ambassador, lately she has been moving away from her early days Mikis Theodorakis songs and collaborations with Inti Illimani singing Violetta Parra to Scandinavian schlager, and this one is described as "Schlager ballads". Her first single is from 1969 and album from 1972. Fourteen albums in Finnish, eleven in Swedish and other recordings in Norvegian, Spanish, Italian, French, Greek and German. She has participated twice in Melodifestival: 1987 "Högt över havet" lost with one point and went on to win Second Chance later that year, and "Vad än du trodde så trodde du fel" bombed in 2005. Also twice in Euroviisut: "Talvilintu" in 1971 and "Gabriela" came third in 1990. She has also starred in three Finnish movies and has written a book about the Scandinavian sauna culture. She was also one of the contestants in Swedish TV's "Let's Dance" in 2005-2006 and later posed with her partner in "erotic" photos causing quite a scandal.

She is also a candidate to host Eurovision 2007 if you believe fan forums....

Masked? No party!


The debate of Lordi's masks and the president's annual Independance Day reception goes on wild in the media. Lordi themselves have made it clear already after the victory that id they are invited they will go only in full masks. Last week the invitations came and the president's staff commented yesterday "the invitation gives the dresscode which is frack or dark suit and honorable medals if one has them. Masks are not part of it". In Iltalehti's online poll Lordi has divided the nation in half again, just like when they won Euroviisut. Half of the people want them to drop the masks and go unmasked, 30% want them to keep the secrecy and masks while 20% think it is the president's mistake: she knew all along they wouldn't go unmasked so why bother asking them? One solution that has been offered is that Lordi would perform in the castle and therefor be able to wear the masks... But at the moment it looks like we won't be seeing Lordi in this reception that gathers every year nearly 2 million Finns in front of their TVs following it live.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tickets! Dates! Prices!


Here it is. The plan. Over 70.000 tickets in all, one third of them sold abroad (one third of them through OGAE), prices from 5 euros to 195 euros each. Maximum 5 tickets per person. Tickets will be sold by www.lippupalvelu.fi starting at noon on December 10 by phone and in their desks. Internet selling will start on December 12 and details on that will be given later. Tickets are divided in 3 categories. First category tickets are sold in two different packets, second and third category tickets separately. Half of the tickets are sold as packets.

- CATEGORY 1 FINAL PACKET: 390 euros

(semifinal rehealses Wednesday at 2pm, semifinal rehealses Thursday at 2pm, final rehealses Friday at 9pm and the final Saturday 10pm)

- CATEGORY 1 SEMIFINAL PACKET: 290 euros

(semifinal rehealses Wednesday at 9pm, semifinal Thursday at 10pm, final rehealses Friday at 2pm, final rehealses Saturday at 2pm)

- CATEGORY 2 INDIVIDUAL TICKETS:

semifinal rehealses from 10 euros to 20 euros, final rehealses from 50 to 70 euros, semifinal 90 euros, final 195 euros.

- CATEGORY 3 TICKETS WITH LIMITED VIEW TO THE STAGE from 5 to 95 euros.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

President sends out invitations

All Lordi members have been invited to the President's Independance Day reception on December 6. This reception broadcasted annually live by YLE and closely followed by all media is every year the most watched TV-programme in Finland and the only real high class society happening. The only question is how Lordi can arrive fully masked, due to security reasons... as the others dress up formally in long dresses and dark suites!

Lordi at Stockmann


Lordi met their fans once more before the break at Stockmann's yesterday. Over 1000 fans were waiting and caused a little chaos inside the department store and it took them 1,5 hours instead of the planned one hour, and yet only half of the fans got their autographs, photos and hugs.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Eurovision at Bio Rex


In May Helsinki's Lasipalatsi will host the Eurovision info and meeting point and bar was announced already earlier, organized by www.viisukuppila.fi and YLE amongst others, but now it is also known that its legendary 700 seats movie theater will show both the semifinal and the final live! So the fans who don't get tickets to the Hartwall Areena may gather there. The protected building is a protected landmark in the very heart of Helsinki. www.lasipalatsi.fi

Comments and polls


Some artists have commented about Euroviisut now that the final 12 names are out. PMMP (who released a new album last week that has gone already platinum) confirmed they had been asked but they thought Eurovision didn't quite suit them. Tarja Turunen on the other hand said she wasn't even asked. YLE's official comment on The Rasmus, HIM and other big names Finns were hoping for is that they didn't have anything to gain in Eurovision. Also Universal records confirmed many of their artists were considered and asked but most of them were just too busy to dedicate most of the months from January to May only to Eurovision.
MTV3 has its own web poll for who should win and Hanna Pakarinen is leading with 24,3%, followed by Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue with 17,9% and Lovex with 17,6%. Beats and Styles follows with 12,7%, Thunderstone 8,2% and Humane 5,3%. The others fall between 0,9-3,5%.
http://aanestys.mtv3.fi/aanestys/aanesta.shtml/viihde?e=4

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ticket info already on November 20


YLE will announce its ticket info as soon as next Monday, November 20 instead of November 28 as announced earlier, maybe due to confusion caused by some web based operators who claim they're selling tickets to Eurovision. This is not the case, but these companies are only working on the speculation that they would manage to obtain and sell tickets with huge profits. The only authorised means to get tickets will be announced by YLE and EBU. They will inform the public when ticket sales will start, where to buy them, how much they will cost and the number of tickets available for the public. There will be different priced tickets for rehearsals and the semi-final and the final. The info will be available on YLE's website at 10 CET. Members of national OGAE fan clubs should hear about fan ticket allocations via their own club very soon.

Bookmania!

Finland sees more Eurovision related books published this year and early 2007 than all the 45 years of history before put together. Besides the aforementioned two Lordi books "Euroviisutriviaa vuosi vuodelta" or "Eurovision Trivia year by year" will be published in January giving us important information year by year; such as where the winners are now, who of the artists have visited Finland and when. It also includes a quiz so everyone can test their knowledge, from the Finnish view of things of course!

In February comes a book concentrated on the Finnish entries only. "Euroviisut kautta aikojen" or "Finnish Eurovision entries of all time" will have complete music and lyrics to all songs, information on the artists and so on.


In April the Finnish edition (pictured) of John O'Conner's "The Eurovision Song Contest - Official History" will be released. He has written a new section about Finland in this book and of course Lordi is featured in the cover.


In January comes also Asko Murtomäki's book "Finland! 12 points!" about the Finnish Eurovision history. Asko is an OGAE member and YLE's Eurovision specialist taking care of the website and commenting the contest on TV.

Chart topping ESC related albums


Vesa-Matti Loiri (1980) released a new album "Ivalo" a few weeks ago. He sings Finnish, mainly rock classics in a very minimalist acoustic way. Recorded in a small portable studio in Ivalo, Lapland. It entered the chart as #2 and is now #1.
An accapella group, Rajaton joined forces with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, also on record, after a sold-out tour in Finland and even some gigs in the US performing ABBA classics. Before they've collaborated with Beatles music and Finnish Eurovision tunes (maybe one day on record?). This album should see a release in other countries, too, in the future but in Finland it went straight to #1 and drops to #3 this week.
Oh... and the Ratzz album enters at #9...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

DERVISH FOR IRELAND!


The first participant in Helsinki 2007 is now known! RTÉ announced it has chosen a folksy band Dervish to represant the country. Those who have had enough of Irish ballads or were afraid Ireland would hop on a hard rock train can take a sigh of relief. Formed in 1989 the band has released so far 7 albums (the last "A Healing Heart" released in 2005) besides a compilation of their finest work and a live CD/DVD. Playing traditional Irish music the band is no stranger to huge stages and audiences, has experience on performing live and on TV and has been touring worldwide. In 2006 they have performed in China and have toured the US. More on www.dervish.ie

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Official Lordi book a flop?


The official Lordi book was released last Thursday but so far it seems to be selling very badly in the two biggest bookstores Akateeminen Kirjakauppa and Suomalainen Kirjakauppa. In Akateeminen they hope for a boost next Friday when Lordi themselves will be signing the book at Stockmann's it belongs to. The book is a stylish coffee table book telling Lordi's story so far with lots of private pics, full discography and so on.... Well, Christmas is still coming so the first 10.000 copies print may not be a flop after all?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

How did the fans of artists react to the news?

Now that the names are out the reactions by the fans of the chosen artists have been rather varied, besides the general disapproval of YLE's choices. Beats and Styles themselves make a big thing about the participation in their website, and their fans seem to agree in the forum. Also Hanna Pakarinen's fans give their full support, which is a good news for the televoting, unlike Lovex fans, who seems to be rather sceptical and some even say they won't vote for them as they think Eurovision is a mistake. Their support might go to Katra who used to be their back up singer. Also Thunderstone fans don't warm to the idea. But Laura's fans seem to be thrilled. Humane's and Jani & Jetsetter's website ignores Eurovision completely while Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue's makes a big deal about it in three languages: Finnish, English and German. Their fans aren't as happy. Kentala's and Johanna Kurkela's websites don't have a forum to see what their fans think about them and Jukka Kuoppamäki doesn't even have a website. So, it's looking good for Hanna and Beats and Styles!

Running order for the semis

The aertists for the first semifinal on January 20 are Jani & Jetsetters, Hanna Pakarinen and Thunderstone. For the second on January 27 Humane, Katra and Jukka Kuoppamäki and in the third one on February 3 Kentala, Johanna Kurkela and Lovex. Beats and Styles, Laura and Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue finish it off on February 10.

BEATS AND STYLES

The rumour is that they wanted to participate last year as well, but their record company said no, and that they are genuine fans of Eurovision, hmm? They already represented Finland in the newborn Sopot Festival last year. Beats and Styles are two DJ's: Alimo and Control. Alimo's real name is Asmo Sainio (34) and from Espoo, Control is Jaakko Manninen (25) from Helsinki. Being DJ's their discography is a mess with featured vocals and guests, different remixes and singles in different countries. "Our goal is to be noticed for the good feeling we have on stage, we want people to think we enjoy this, that we are fresh!" says Control. No doubt they stole the show in the presentation press conference!
More on www.beatsandstyles.com

JANI & JETSETTERS

Jani & Jetsetters is a new band that had rapidly gained popularity in radio waves with their "surf-schlager". Their two first singles have been top-3 hits in radio play and the third single is currently on radio play top-10 and their début album is in top-10 in the official charts as well. Jani Forsman is the blond lead singer, Kaitsu Seppälä and Japa Mattila are the guitarists, Petteri Pyhähuhta plays drums and Abe Määttä bass. In a year the band has achieved a lot and let's see how they will do in Euroviisut... "We are here thanks to our producer and we believe we have a pan-European appeal" says Jani, but doesn't comment on whether they will sing in Finnish or English.
More on www.jetsetters.fi

HUMANE


Humane was formed in 2004 and first considered a joke as its front man is an international top model, Kim Herold. Rumour has it that he was in Paris doing modelling and on one day off got bored, then saw and bought a guitar. To cut a long story short, he was friends with a record producer who heard him. Next he was in a studio, a single was out and it became a hit. Easy? How he started his modelling career was as easy: he was visiting his model sister in Milan and when leaving the agency someone saw him from the window and shouted at him... Too easy? Anyway, the band is not only him but also includes Kim Liljeström, a multi instrumentalist who plays guitar and piano in Human, Markku Metsola on bass and Raine Kokkinen on drums. With two albums so far and several radio hits under their belt, they have proved wrong the initial critic who said it's just a pretty face trying to sing something, even if it's still Kim's face on the sleeves. "It wasn't an easy decision but now that we are here we will enjoy it to the fullest, though it might be difficult to win Kuoppamäki!" says Kim.

JANN WILDE & ROSE AVENUE

This group is propably the less know name here and their debut single "Boys from New York" will be released only November 15, 2006. Formed in 2005 at the moment they're touring Germany with Negative. Big words on their website: "They won't go unnoticed wherever they land their space rocket. They will charm you with their flamboyant, glamorous rock and seductive sweet pop, theatrical performances and shamelessly catchy bubblegum pop tunes. Their music draws influences from the glam rock of the 1970s and new wave of the 1980s - all wrapped up with a cunning punk attitude. Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue is not just a band. It's much more... Besides we are perfect for Eurovision. We will surely attract attention internationally!"
More on www.jwra.net

Friday, November 10, 2006

KATRA


Katra (22) is practically unknown. She has released one single "Sahara" so far and is recording her début album. Already labelled the poor man's Tarja Turunen by those who were disappointed, Tarja isn't in. She has studied singing and piano since she was 5. "My music is opera-rock in Finnish, with a touch of mystic etno and big sounds" she says. "I try to combine my classical training with ancient mythologies and mystics in my lyrics." She has also studied dance and has incorporated that in her performances. Could she be the unknown surprise of 2007?
More on www.katra.fi

KENTALA


Kentala is practically unknown, except for the fact that he was the runner up in Euroviisut 2005 with "Deck of cards". He came from nowhere and disappeared as soon as he appeared, only to emerge again now. Apparently he does gigs with a band called Wee People and is recording his first solo album. He promises the same recipe this time: soulful music in English. "I was given a chance to present two songs on prime time TV, so of course I took it!" he says.

JUKKA KUOPPAMÄKI


Jukka (64) is the odd one in this group and has forced everyone to wonder about YLE's motivation and Jukka's reason to accept. He has his merits as a singer but he had his last hit in the 1970's! He has written many hits for other artists like Katri Helena and Jari Sillanpää, even recently but still: why? Besides being a song writer and singer, he is also a priest and has lived in Germany for the past 20 years or so. His daughter Inka participated in Euroviisut in the 1990's.

He started singing in the late 1950's in a group called Neloset and released his first solo album in 1965. He won Syksyn Sävel 1973 with "Kultaa taikka kunniaa". He has written several songs that are considered rather patriotic like "Sininen ja valkoinen". He has also written many songs in Euroviisut before including Katri Helena's runner up in 1969. He won the Rostock Festival twice in the 1970's. He has sold three gold discs. His latest album release is from 2006 (but did anyone notice it come out?!)
"I will sing my usual songs. I won't try any Eurovision tricks but just good songs. In Finnish. "

JOHANNA KURKELA


Johanna (21) is still rather unknown to the great public and perhaps her best known song is a duet with Tomi Metsäketo, Lordi's runner-up. "I hope to touch people's hearts with my songs" she says, and promises to keep her style: soft romantic ballads in Finnish. "It is wonderful to be a part of Finland's first Eurovision final process." She released her début album last year and a new one is coming in March 2007. She's a fan of Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, Katri Helena, Elton John, The Carpenters and also Aikakone.

LOVEX


Lovex must be the most stupid, or best, band name ever. The band puts the same irony and humour into their music, which is based on 80's rock and 90's boybands. It was formed in the winter of 2001-2002 for fun and shaped up to its present form in 2004. Their first single "Bleeding" was a no 2 hit and the second single "Guardian angel" shot straight to no 1. They have a huge fan following and will surely be dangerous in televoting come February... "We were given the chance to scandalize people some more and we took it" says the lead singer Theon. "We don't think our image will suffer from Euroviisut. And we don't really care!" The band is made up of Theon on vocals, Vivian Sin Amor (yep, it's a he!) on guitars, Sammy Black on guitars, Christian on keyboards, Julian Drain on drums and Jason on bass. Of course all are fake names and yes, they all wear eye shadow...
More on www.lovex.fi

Thursday, November 09, 2006

HANNA PAKARINEN


Hanna (26) shot to the fame in 2004 when she won the very first Finnish Idol talent show. During the show her strong voice and absolutely adorable personality won over the public and judges and her debut single "Love is like a song" went straight to no 1. Her debut album "When I become me" was kept from no 1 spot only by Nightwish being no 2 for weeks and selling over 55.000 copies (platinum). In 2005 she was nominated for Emma Awards. Second album "Stronger" was a huge success as well and she is in studio recording her third album to be released in February. She's Finland's number one rock chick.
"When I was asked if I wanted to do Euroviisut 2007 I thought Hell yes! because I have one damn good song for it!" she says. "Of course I did some soul searching and thought it over, but somehow after Lordi it is so much easier!"

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