Lordi won the Eurovision Song Contest in Athens by song Hard Rock Hallelujah on May 20, 2006 with 292 points, which was more than any artist had received so far then. Lordi is still the only Finnish Eurovision Song Contest winner.
Helsingin Sanomat searched the news archives from that Eurovision spring. They run the videos and gave Tomi Putaansuu aka Mr Lordi the microphone and asked the man to remember the spring of 2006.
Let's start with the maximum, the Market Square's Welcome home party.
An estimated one hundred thousand Finns met in the Market Square to celebrate the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. It is said that from Lapland came busses filled with people and that part of them visited the capital for the first time.
"It's funny, that this is the gig, which most Finns have seen from us, and it is one of the shittiest gigs, that we're ever had. Just because the preparation for it was zero" he says. ”The atmosphere was great of course but all the rest crap.”
Lordi's record company's CEO Kimmo Valtanen, also Putaansuu's friend from childhood believed in the Eurovision victory from the beginning. Putaansuu himself as thinking top-3 IF they manage to win in Finland first..... He also said he has no any particular memories of semifinal, or it being any different from the final, except in the final they were sitting in the Green room.
Even before the Eurovision Song Contest Lordi attracted much attention in international media. Promotion was made all over Europe. Putaansuu says that the band did not understand that their attention received was exceptional.
"After all, how was it possible to know that what is exceptionally high interest? Whenever you have your masks on people will take pictures and want to do interviews "
At the semi-final time, Lord was already high on betting lists. They were predicted fifth place. The band did not know the odds, they just kept working hard in Athens.
"The days were very long, at six in the morning to start putting on masks to be ready for nine o'clock rehearsals. We did not have any free time. Only afterwards we heard that many other artists had time to go shopping and such. "
Lord finally won the Eurovision Song Contest final on 20 May 2006. The victory was historic in many ways. It was the first Finnish one. The winner got more points than anyone previously. The winner was a hard rock band. And the winner was a hard rock band, that was masked as monsters.
Victory meant that the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Finland in 2007. The organization of the ESC and the cost were questioned immediately even by Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen.
"Oh my goodness and now we have to spend money even on that." Putaansuu laughs.
Shortly after the victory 7 Päivää tabloid published on its cover Tomi Putaansuu's photo without Mr. Lordi's mask. The band had several times told the media about their desire to keep their faces hidden and it was totally respected. 7 päivää's decision sparked an unprecedented popular movement. Boycott 7 päivää online petition received more than 220.000 names and harmed not ony the tabloid but also it's publishing house.. Eventually, they asked for forgiveness. For Mr Lordi it was not enough. He's still furious. Even today.
Tomi Putaansuu's hometown Rovaniemi their hero by renaming Sampo square in the city center as Lordi square. The winner was also given plot of land. For Putaansuu reception in Rovaniemi was particularly important. But about Lordi Square, he has a bit mixed feelings.
"If the guests want to visit the square surely I take them there. But usually I drip them in the corner and stay in the car myself my cap deep on my face. Not that I am ashamed of it, but somehow it's a bit embarassing. It is still really cool. "
Lordi received after the Eurovision victory a huge amount of new fans. However, the wide interest was ony temporary. At the same time any Lordi's old fans rejected the band after the Eurovision victory according Mr Lordi.
"In retrospect, you could see that quite a few fans rejected us forever. It is perhaps not because we went to Eurovision, but because we won. Many old fans felt like we were taken away from them."
The performance of Lordi in Market Square will remain for sure one of the largest in Helsinki's and Finland's history of music events. The karaoke world record, which in practice ment that the audience sang Hard Rock Hallelujah was made during the concert. The band did not know anything about this.
"This karaoke thing is also very curious. We heard about that afterwards. No one told us anything before hand. "
YLE's main TV-news the day after. The talk about the organizing the next contest and it's financing started immediately.