Finnish monster rockers Lordi have given their first press conference after bringing Finland an historic first Eurovision Song Contest win, 45 years after the very first Finnish participation. After failing to rise above sixth place in all that time, a first place has been a long time in coming. Altogether, Finland won 8 sets of top marks, 6 sets of 10 points and 6 sets of 8. In a strange twist, Finland scored exactly the same number of points in both the final and the semifinal, topping both tables.
Shortly after the end of the show, Lordi entered the press hall to huge cheers (especially from the Finnish contingent amongst the press!) and the sound of the winning entry Hard Rock Hallelujah. Mr Lordi, flanked by the rest of the group on both sides, took centre stage wearing a traditional blue fur-lined hat.
"How weird is this? How cool is this?! We feel great!" started Mr Lordi. "What a weird experience! We're all the way from Lapland, Finland... Wow, it's nice. I'd like to thank all the hard rock fans, all the Kiss fans, all those who aren't narrow-minded. To think, the Eurovision Song Contest... Think about it!" He continued by singing a jubilant line borrowed from sixth-placed fellow competitors Lithuania: "We are the winners of the Eurovision!" before launching into a question and answer session.
Did you ever dream of winning the Eurovision Song Contest, or was it your worst nightmare?
It doesn't feel like a nightmare! We didn't think about entering the Eurovision Song Contest. The Finnish Eurovision board called us last year to join and we said yes! We thought about it at first then just said: Let's do it! We had an album coming out in February and we looked at it as good promotion. It's weird, it's great...
What kind of impact will this have on the Eurovision Song Contest?
It's a victory for rock music, Finland and Lordi. And for open-mindedness! A lot of Eurovision fans are in minorities, just as we are in a minority. Heavy metal bands think we are rock, rock bands think we are heavy metal. But finally, Finland have won. We hope this shows that there are different genres of music as well as pop and ballad. There's rock, hip-hop... all varieties of music can be in the Eurovision Song Contest. We hope more rock and metal groups are encouraged to join, and maybe over the next few years different kinds of styles can enter the contest.
Could you tell us what is under the masks?
What masks? I started the band 14 years ago, and 12 years ago I had the idea of monsters. These are our working outfits. It's a bit like Father Christmas - if I took off the mask it would spoil the illusion. These are the characters and we leave them on the stage. It builds the mystery: this is Lordi!
Sweden gave you twelve points. Any advice for Carola?
Thank you Sweden! The people love our rock music there, and Carola was great. She was very nice, and she understood that what we are all about is entertainment.
Anna Vissi said that Finland was her favourite. What do you think of Greece's song?
I've already spoken to the Greek media and told them it was my favourite melody. I gave them my compliments! It'snot that far from Lordi's style, but maybe with different lyrics.
Are you rockers or Finns, first and foremost?
A Finn is a Finn, and the Finns are proud of us. We're representing Finland, ourselves and rock music! We're equally Finnish and rockers.
What were your expectations before the contest?
We hoped to make the top five, but the top ten would have been great. We aimed to get Finland's best result. Just making the final was great. But rock music, Finland winning... wow!
Have you had any trouble with the ladies?
Ladies run into trouble when they meet us! We spend three hours in make-up to look pretty for them!
How do you plan to capitalise on the victory? What next?
This is just a side-path for us. It sure looks good at the end of the path: victory! We're going to get back to normal now, with rock tours, and the next album. Maybe more people will buy it now. There could be lots more fans.
What can we expect next year?
(Head of delegation) We are proud to host the 2007 contest. It will be a pleasure! I want to thank the Greek hosts for the brilliant show and friendly welcome, I want to thank the hard work of the band: hot under the costumes but very warm beneath their skins! And of course I have to thank the Finnish broadcaster YLE.
What has Helsiki got to offer for next year?
Finns and Greeks have a lot in common; Finns are a deeply honest and hospitable people. Everyone is welcome in Helsinki! Welcome, welcome, welcome!
Will your win change the contest?
We only ask: no copycat acts please! We did this to prove that people can be open minded, and it doesn't matter what you look like. If you like the song, you like it, and if you don't, you don't. You have to look beyond the image.
Does your entry represent the dark or the light side?
I can only stress (for the millionth time) that we have nothing at all to do with satanism and devil worship. There are all these misconceptions... You only have to look at the lyrics of the song to see that it's not about the devil: Hard rock hallelujah. It's as serious as a horror movie, it's entertainment. No one would be stupid enough to choose good over bad; put it this way, who is cooler: Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader?
The contest is popular in Australia; would you be willing to travel that far on tour?
We'd love to visit Australia! Kiss have already done Australian tours too. It wouldn't be too far at all!
Why do you think kids love you?
We're like their action figure toys, their comic book characters. I don't feel a day over twelve! But amongst our fans we have kids, adults, older people - everyone.
You mentioned that you would have a holiday from Monday - is that still on the cards? I can't see it happening now!
How can you be sure? We'll get back home first and see what happens... The contest has been a bit of a holiday compared to touring - we usually do three hours on stage, and here it was just three minutes on stage!
Lordi then left and was promptly mobbed by photographers and press. The band is expected to be at the aftershow party in Euroclub - but will they appear unmasked, and would anyone recognise them if they did?