Now on the basis of all the pre-publicity, thanks to the number of Finns complaining about their entry, I thought that Finnish Rock Band Lordi would probably do fairly well. However, they pretty well walked away with the whole competition, beating the second place song by almost 50 points. Considering that Father Mitro Repo, who appeared on the BBC complaining about the band said that he thought it was a protest by youngsters annoyed that Finland had failed to score highly in Eurovision the previous year, perhaps the youngsters seem to have a better idea of what would go down well than the rest of the country!
In terms of the competition as a whole, Lordi stood out mainly because they were something a bit different. Indeed one of the old ladies at church today commented that she thought they were entertaining as a band – which did slightly surprise me. It did also help that Finland is in one of the many Eurovision voting blocks, which gave it a boost over and above the Russian entry, which as usual was helped by big votes from all the former Soviet Republics (which of course all have large Russian minority populations). Ireland made a big improvement by sending Brian Kennedy, who I first came across supporting the Corrs on tour a few years ago. Their song was really the kind of thing that won them the competition a number of times a few years ago, however with the block votes of the Balkan countries, the former Soviet republics and the Scandinavian countries they ended up in the middle running – enough to keep them in the top flight next year. The UK finished well down the rankings again – better than last year, but still in a spot where if we weren’t paying a large part of the costs of the competition we’d be relegated to the semi-final next year.
So the real question will be whether this is just a temporary blip, or whether the win by Lordi will result in something a bit different next year from the pop numbers and ballads that usually get performed. The thing is that they are not the first to try something different. For example the UK entry this year was a rap number, which didn’t do overly well, and the Germans put in a Country and Western song, which didn’t do much better either. Of course whether it is a change or not, trying to win against the block votes is getting increasingly difficult – and largely it won’t change much until the EBU come up with a voting system that can negate the effect of the block voting.