Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Speaking on this week's special Eurovision episode of Newsmakers, HSTV's weekly English-language current affairs show, the host of the 2007 Eurovision song contest in Helsinki Mikko Leppilampi says  "It's pretty serious. The forum is so huge, you reach so many people. The economic benefits for the country and the city that gets to host it" are important, he adds.

Leppilampi recalls that he was selected to host the live shows after a series of auditions and call-backs. "I was pretty new to television and hosting at that time, so we just did the auditions, like everyone else" explains Leppilampi, who is currently filming the new Finnish political drama 'President'. "I think it was probably every single male performer who had been on television or acting got auditioned for that and it ended up probably being the EBU mostly who selected us". In the end in the final he wasn't to one to say the magic words "Welcome, Europe!" the honor went to his co-host. Ladies first kind of a way. Besides Jaana is a huge Eurovision fan and stealing that moment from her would have felt like a robbery, he says. 

Leppilampi says that although he knew about the global reach of the Eurovision Song Contest, he didn't fully appreciate it until he was caught up with rehearsals and involved in the shows. "I was scared. I thought I was going to ruin my acting career if I screw up. And then I have to move out the country because people will hate me" he says. "I also thought that it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It doesn't happen every year that Finland gets to host. So I was very lucky to be in that position". he also recalls how he ended up having a 18 minute improvised stand-up show in front of 13.000 people to fill in the recap of the finalists that they obvisouly didn't have in the rehearsals. He also learned all the songs by heart by hearing them for weeks all the time, and spent the entire week inside the venue or in the hotel. He never went to downtown and lived in the bubble. "After it was all over we kind came out and asked people How was it? as we didn't see the town at all. We were just hanging out with the back up singers and dancers and artists."

Leppilampi, and co-host Jaana Pelkonen who is now a National Coalition Party MP, spent six weeks intensively learning French, so they could deliver parts of their dialogue convincingly, a requirement of the contest. Leppilampi says he just memorized everything as he doesn't speak any French. There was no room for improvising. 

Despite the many problems Europe faces today, including a possible vote to leave the European Union by the United Kingdom, he says the ideals of the song contest are still relevant. It's a "way of unifying people, coming together and having a good time. And showing people who don't think the same way, that having a good time and enjoying similar stuff and each other's music is actually more powerful than bringing out a bomb and saying 'that country sucks, and we rule'" he says.
Watch the interview that includes also Axel Ehnström aka Paradise Oscar (he performs Hard rock hallelujah, and Eurovision expert Tobias Larsson here.

Mikko Leppilampi has made a very succcesful career after Eurovision.
Before Eurovision had made already ten movies and another 16 have followed, some of them real succeses. He's been in five tv-series and yes, he has also released one album as a singer. He has become most know for hosting tv shows and galas, inlcuding Dancing with stars, Tähdet tähdet music show and the Finnish Oscars shows.... He was also the Finnish spokesperson in 2008. Now all we need is him to become the artist..... Mikko, hello?

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