Lordi at Eurovision
Dan Bilefsky of the International Herald Tribune recently spoke to Lordi singer and namesake about the uproar crated in their home country after the band was chosen to represent Finland at Eurovision, the European song competition that launched ABBA and Celine Dion.
First, Finnish religious leaders warned that the Freddie Kruger look-a-likes could inspire Satanic worship. Then critics called for President Tarja Halonen to use her constitutional powers to veto the band and nominate a traditional Finnish folk singer instead. Rumors even circulated that the five members of Lordi were KGB agents sent by Vladimir Putin to destabilize Finland before a Russian coup and that explained why they refused to take off their freakish masks in public.
The backlash migrated to Greece, winner of last year’s Eurovision and site of the next contest, in Athens in August. An anti-Lordi movement called Hellenes urged the Finnish government to “say ‘no’ to this evil group.” One young Finn calling himself Suomi (Finland in Finnish) wrote to a newspaper blog saying: “If Lordi wins Eurovision, I am leaving the country.”
The lead singer, Lordi, a former film student who goes by the name Tomi Putaansuu when not wielding a blood-spurting electric chainsaw, is philosophical about the uproar.
The affair, he says, has exposed the insecurity of a young country whose language is spoken by only six million people worldwide and whose sense of identity has been dented by being part of the Swedish kingdom and the Russian empire until gaining independence in 1917. Most Finns, he adds, would rather be known for Santa Claus than heavily made-up monster mutants.
“In Finland, we have no Eiffel Tower, few real famous artists, it is freezing cold and we suffer from low self-esteem,” said Lordi, who has horns protruding from his face mask and sports black fingernails 15 centimeters, or 6 inches, long.