Eurovision is in full swing, and as always, Unicorn Booty is all over it. For Americans who haven’t yet learned the joys of the Eurovision Song Contest, basically think American Idol only with Europeans (and a few other non-European countries like Australia making its Eurovision debut this year).
But American Idol isn’t QUITE an exact comparison. For one, there’s no panel of judges to cruelly embarrass the performers. Also, I think we can all agree a band like monster-metal GWAR wouldn’t win American Idol.
On Eurovision, though, that could happen. In fact, in 2006, it did.
Each country involved in Eurovision sends their best act to compete, hoping they’ll make it out of the finals. Finland has competed in Eurovision since 1961, but in 2006, they’d never won a single competition in their 40 years of sending performers; eight times before, they actually came in last, ranked below all the other countries.
Poor Finland was thought of as a joke when it came to Eurovision. And from the late 1990s into the early 2000s, they stopped sending performers at all. Starting in 2004, they decided to consistently send acts again, but that year and the next they didn’t even pass the semi-finals.
So, facing those odds, they did the only reasonable thing: sending along a band of growling rock-and-roll demons that seemed the very OPPOSITE of everything Eurovision stood for. After all, past Eurovision winners included ABBA and Celine Dion. If we’re gonna lose, Sweden probably thought, we might as well lose interestingly.
The Finnish metal band Lordi had been around since 1992, and had a #1 Finnish hit with “Would You Love A Monsterman?” in 2002:
Lordi’s strong hooks combined with their intriguing image helped make them a chart success. One could argue that on paper, it wasn’t a completely crazy idea to send Lordi to the Eurovision Song Contest… but when you looked up from that paper and saw them wearing capes, claws, horns, and grotesque face make-up compared to the other manicured, model-like entrants… well… yeah.
Apparently though, the Eurovision viewing public craved a shakeup with performances like this one:
Lordi became the first band to win both the finals and the semi-finals. In the finals, they got a record-breaking 292 points. (To put that number in perspective, the previous year’s winner, Greece’s “My Number One” got 230.)
The next couple years, a few countries sent rock acts, but, sadly, soon Eurovision went back to business as usual with Serbia’s “Moltiva”.
Lordi continues to tour the world. Their newest album, Scare Force One came out last November, though it only went to #13 on the Finnish charts.
(This article was originally published on May 14, 2015)