Thursday, June 29, 2006
One of this summer's brides is Sonja Lumme (1985) who got married and seems to be happier than ever, and busier with work than ever! She will be spending most of the summer in the Äänekoski summer theater singing and acting. "I had to cancel my honeymoon for that but hey, you can have a honeymoon all year around but summer theater only when there isn't too much snow!" she laughs. No stranger to musical theater, Sonja has starred in "Some Like It Hot" and has been a regular star in UIT's summer show in Linnanmäki amusement park in Helsinki a dozen times and has several years of floor show experience alone and with other artists. Not forgetting her memorable three minutes in Gothenburg in 1985...
Well, it needs some figuring out but 6.701 are the euros paid for charity for one of Mr Lordi's masks used in Athens and 1.7.2006 is the date Lordi will perform in the shopping mall of the happy new owner, Vesa Keskinen. Keskinen's Tuurin Kyläkauppa is Finland's biggest supermarket in the middle of nowhere where people actually come with rented busses and so on - all the way from Russia at times! Mr Lordi will be keeping an eye on the customers in the shop's music department from now on.
Monday, June 26, 2006
So, finally YLE seems to have found a magic formula and therefore will not change it. The Finnish selection will be done exactly like this year: 12 artists, 24 songs, 4 semifinals, 1 final. All together with record companies who will pick up the artists with YLE and the songs with the chosen songs. "This year brought us the ultimate winner and several other hits. We have already been contacted by artists and record companies and it all looks very promising" says YLE's Ilkka Talasranta. Chosen artists will be made public in November. Songs must be sent to YLE before December 1, 2006. Semifinals - all in Tampere Tohloppi TV-studios - are broadcasted live on January 20 and 27, February 3 and 10. Where the grand final will be held on February 17 is still a secret but Turku Halli is widely tipped as a consolation prize. Or could it be that YLE wants to test Hartwall Areena...?
Last but not least: a compilation CD will be released on February 11 featuring all 24 songs! :-)
Lordi had a very busy juhannus-weekend giving 4 shows in three days: three in major rock festivals in Rauma, Joensuu and Kalajoki, and a surprise gig in a private party on Baggö island. Less than 100 people were treated to a full Lordi show in the middle of a forest with worried firemen as special guests. "We booked them during the ESC week and boy were we lucky!
Lordi has had to cancel the much awaited gig in Seinäjoki Tangomarkkinat in July for big TV-shows in France (three different shows including prime time Saturday night)
Mr Lordi himself denied the rumours about his voice problems and dreams of moving to the countryside with his wife-to-be Johanna. Other artistic projects are taking shape: full length comic books will be published in autumn and he dreams of a monster movie...
"This is all wonderful but if it was up to me I'd just spend time in my cottage, watching movies and chilling out naked! And hey, we do get a lot of requests for monster sex, especially from Germany and by email"
Lordi's guitarist Amen has been remembered by his hometown Mäntsälä as well. They have erected a memorial stone in his honor next to his old school. It's made of the world's hardest stone, local "aurora granite".
As expected, Lordi will also be featured on a stamp! Mr Lordi will draw the stamp himself and it will be one of four stamps released in a sheet in May 2007. There is still no news when the Lordi coin will come out but Rovaniemi already has its Lordin aukio (Lordi Square) :-) A comic book written by Mr Lordi has already been released and they have also planned Monster Park next to Santa Park in Rovaniemi. And would you like a Lordi kebab?
Friday, June 23, 2006
Trash mag "Seiska" reports on its cover about Jari Sillanpää's new happiness. "Jari has found a new love?" is the headline inside. Note the "?". They have managed to put together a 2-page article about nothing really. He talked to a dark man in a bar in early May for a long time and they left together. The same night he went to Hotel Kämp with a darkhaired man, says another eye witness. They have been seen in a karaoke bar. Jari didn't sing. The other one did. Someone has even seen them entering a building together! And shopping in Stockmann! And again in a gay bar where this handsome guy danced with Jari and after that they hugged and kissed. They have spent at least two nights in the Hotel Grand in Stockholm. Yes, it must be love!
YLE held a press conference and confirmed Hartwall Areena (or Helsinki Areena as it is officially called) as the venue. The dates are those chosen by EBU even if many feel it would have been a good idea to postpone them by a week or two (Finnish weather can be rather tricky in May but generally by the end of May it is quite nice and nature is in full bloom).
The draw for the running order will be decided in the delegations meeting in Helsinki March 12. By that date all the national finals have to be over and songs and videos ready for presentation.
The budget is 13 million euros and will come from YLE, EBU and external sponsors. How the sponsorships will be done is yet unclear as Finnish law prohibits advertising on YLE channels. YLE plans to have a "Made in Finland" show without foreign help except renting for some extra technology for the occasion.
The city of Helsinki is widely involved in the happening, promising a week long party for all its citizens and the whole of Finland. There will be dozens of concerts happening all over the city during the week and the city will be decorated for Eurovision. I think the partying will start with Vappu on April 30, the Finnish carnival extraordinaire ... Great!
Hartwall Areena will be the sole venue (not with the Helsinki Fair Center or so) and the press center will be built next to the venue for the occasion. Several other modifications will be done inside the venue. Its full capacity is around 15.000 people but probably around 10-12.000 will be the seating number for Eurovision. The venue will have its 10th anniversary in 2007. Over 8 million people have attended it since it opened and it has hosted, for example, Ice Hockey World Championships and is Finland's biggest indoor arena.
Ticket sales should start sometime in the fall but I think it will be only early next year as usual.
The theme and the presenters and more details will be revealed later this year. YLE is now working out the details and selecting the team. The general idea seems to be it has to be something new and forget about Santa Claus, Lapland, Nokia and the other Finnish clichés and follow Lordi's example of something new and different, something new to Eurovision.
Lordi seems to have scored a pan-European hit with their winning song "Hard rock hallelujah" and even more so with their album "Arockalypse". It is also the very first Finnish album topping the Swedish album chart and they did the double trick there as "Get heavy" is number one in the midprice album chart! In Finland "Arockalypse" has gone Platinum and the previous two albums have gone Gold so far...
Here are the top placings in various countries that I have managed to pick up for the single:
Finland no 1, Latvia no 3, Sweden no 9, Norway no 9, Germany no 5, Austria no 6, Ireland no 4, UK no 25, UK rock no 1, Switzerland no 5, Lituania no 3, Belgium no 2.
And for the album:
Finland no 1, Sweden no 1, Norway no 21, Germany no 8, Austria no 15, Switzerland no 8, Belgium no 45, UK rock no 6, Greece no 30, Denmark no 33