Praise the Lordi!
Wed, 26 Apr 2006 09:41:22
Long before American Idol, there was Eurovision, a goofy song contest televised throughout Europe that encourages patriotism and helped launch the careers of fun-for-the-whole-family acts like Celine Dion and Abba. But while the United Kingdom takes a light-hearted approach to their annual entry, other countries view the opportunity for widespread cultural attention much more seriously.
Which brings us to Finland. No doubt still buzzing from Conan O'Brien's visit to "lookalike" president Tarja Halonen, Finland has decided that maybe this is the year that they snap their Eurovision losing streak. Since beginning to send competitors in 1961, Finland has never won, never even placed in the top five, and has finished dead last on eight separate occasions.
This year, given the choice between another balladeer and Lordi, a death metal band whose members look like B-movie demons, play blood-spurting chainsaws and blow up meat on stage, the good people of Finland decided to raise some hell.
But hell, some critics say, is exactly the problem. Despite song titles like "The Devil is a Loser," Finnish religious leaders fear that Lordi will guide youth into the arms of Satan.
"Finns are suspicious when they see someone new come to play in their sandbox," said Finnish rural political leader Timo Soini. "And that is particularly the case when that someone looks like a monster."
Taking his cues from bands like Kiss and Twisted Sister -- bands whose shock value has long since slid into kitsch in the United States -- Lordi's lead singer is able to shrug off the controversy. And if the haters ever get to him, he has his bandmates to turn to -- bandmates like mummified guitarist Amen and snake-eyed she-devil keyboardist Awa. Long live Lordi!
--The ARTISTdirect Staff