Monday, May 22, 2006

Lordi!, Lordi! - It's A Hardrock Upset Over Europop

The group Lordi celebrate after their win in the Eurovision final at the Indoor Olympic stadium in Athens, early Sunday, May 21, 2006. Finland's Lordi took the first position of the Eurovision contest with the song ''Hard rock hallelujah''. Photo Credit: AP/Petros Giannakouris

With 5" platform boots, rubber facepart applique's, and a graveyard character look, Finnish 'horror-rock' group Lordi, wins against techno, and europop groups at this year's Eurovision contest held in Greece.

The cartoon-like metalheads with their spark-spewing instruments, fought off a strong challenge from the Russian heart-throb Dima Bilan to take the 51st annual music prize.

Excerpts from the Associated Press via Yahoo! -

Finns 'Turn the Amps Up,' Win Eurovision
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer - Sat May 20, 11:01 PM ET

ATHENS, Greece - There's a giant stadium, highly toned participants, intense rivalry and flag-waving fans from many nations.

It's not the Olympics: It's the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual kitsch extravaganza, known for its bland dance music and bubble-gum pop, that sees acts from 24 countries face off before tens of millions of television viewers.

But in a stunning upset for the contest that launched the Swedish group ABBA, a Finnish metal band with monster masks and apocalyptic lyrics won the contest late Saturday.

The band Lordi scandalized some of their compatriots when their song "Hard Rock Hallelujah" was chosen to represent the nation. At a press conference, the band's frontman said his plan for the final was to "scream louder. And turn the amps up."

"This is a victory for rock music ... and also a victory for open-mindedness," the band's lead singer, Mr. Lordi, said after the win — Finland's first. "We are not Satanists. We are not devil-worshippers. This is entertainment."

Combining crunchy guitars, a catchy chorus and mock-demonic imagery, Lordi is reminiscent of U.S. '70s stars KISS — an acknowledged inspiration of Mr. Lordi.

Band members never appear without their elaborate masks and makeup, and do not reveal their true names.

Lordi beat an unusually eclectic 24-nation field, which ranged from the perky pop of Danish teenager Sidsel Ben Semmane and Malta's Fabrizio Faniello to the balladry of Ireland's
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Regarded by many as the contest good taste forgot, Eurovision is adored by fans of camp everywhere.

"You don't imagine something so bad could be so good," said Carmela Pellegrino, an Australian who traveled to Athens from London to watch rehearsal ahead of Saturday's finale.

Since 1956, it has pitted European nations against one another in pursuit of pop music glory. Previous winners include '60s chanteuse Lulu, ABBA — victors in 1974 with "Waterloo" — and Canada's Celine Dion, who won for Switzerland in 1988.

Saturday's showdown was broadcast live in 38 countries to a TV audience estimated at 100 million. Some 13,000 fans packed the indoor arena used during the 2004.

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Lordi received a trophy shaped like an ancient Greek column, and the show opened with a garish musical number inspired, organizers said, by Greece's rich history, mythology and sparkling seas. The hosts — Greek pop singer Sakis Rouvas and "Access Hollywood" correspondent Maria Menounous — made their entrance by "flying" onto the set, which resembled an ancient theater.

Some of the acts, like Switzerland's Six4One, stuck to the classic Eurovision formula of catchy tunes and blandly uplifting lyrics, singing, "If we all give a little, we can make this world a home for everyone."
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Yet Eurovision victory is no guarantee of fame.

Dion and ABBA went on to glory — as did Olivia Newton John, who lost to ABBA while competing for Britain in 1974. Other winners have sunk without trace, victims of the "curse of Eurovision."
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