Teräsbetoni take narrow win in Finnish Eurovision finals
Veteran crooner Kari Tapio runner-up with a very different sound
By Jussi Ahlroth
Finland’s candidate for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade is Teräsbetoni, a four-piece metal band from the Tampere region.
The “warrior metal” outfit won the three-phase final on Saturday night in Helsinki’s House of Culture.
The winners were chosen by a phone-in vote.
Around 340,000 votes were cast all told, and in the conclusive super-final Teräsbetoni collected 38.9% of the votes, beating off the challenge from Kari Tapio (33.9%) and third-placed Cristal Snow (27%).
The twelve acts who were originally invited had been reduced to six in the course of three semi-finals, each of which saw two entrants go through to the final.
In Saturday’s opening round of voting there was first a kind of repechage event, in which the half-dozen previously dropped competitors had a "second bite" at securing a final place. Crumbland, with a song called Pleasure, and VuokkoHovatta with Kerkko Koskinen’s composition Virginia, were the two of the six who made it through at this point to the eight-contestant final.
In fact the final itself was only a prelude: the first stage saw the eight acts whittled down by televoting to just three, for a “super-final” playoff.
The three numbers that eventually made the podium could hardly have been more different: Cristal Snow were the darlings of the Eurovision fans, Kari Tapio, 62 years young, is a long-time crooner of the dancehall variety, and Teräsbetoni were carrying the colours of Finland’s sizeable heavy fraternity.
All three stepped up on stage once more, the earlier televotes were set back to zero, and the audience at home voted again.
Teräsbetoni had a strongly masculine stage-show, with a lot of pyrotechnics thrown in that had not been present in the earlier qualifying heats.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 2.3.2008
More on this subject:
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COMMENT: What will Europe make of "Huh Hah"?
BACKGROUND: Finland’s entry will take part in the first semi-final on May 20th
Serbian organisation on schedule
Finnish Eurovision Finals 2008 (Wikipedia)
JUSSI AHLROTH / Helsingin Sanomat