The Lessons of Lordi
Santa Claus' very own favorite city, Rovaniemi, located on the cusp of the Arctic Circle, has declared that it will name a square in the town after monster rock band Lordi, their surprise winners of this year's 50th Anniversary Eurovision Song Contest. The band was the first Finnish act to claim victory in the competition, as well as heavy metal's first-ever band to win the event. Their song, Hard Rock Hallelujah, scored record points.
Rovaniemi's Mayor, Mauri Gardin, wanted to do something special to honor their beloved sons on their unprecedented success. Until now, Finland, with eight prior attempts, had had one of the worst records in Eurovision's 50-year history. But Lordi, whose five members dress as monsters with horns and claws, pulled off a surprise win during Saturday night's competition, staged in Athens, Greece.
The new square bearing Lordi's name will be the centerpiece of the redevelopment of Rovaniemi's city center. The town, regional capital of Finnish Lapland, is famous as the celebrated home of the real Santa Claus.
In a statement issued to Finnish media, the Jolly Old Elf declared: "Lordi's victory shows us that with a little bit of hard work and belief in your own abilities even the greatest dreams can come true."
Indeed, Finns have embraced Lordi since their triumph, despite earlier concerns that their performance might tarnish their country's reputation. Finland's President Tarja Halonen and Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen have also sent their congratulations to the group.
When your Dragonmaster first got wind of Lordi through Dan Bilefsky's article, written for the International Herald Tribune but published in its parent paper, The New York Times, I noticed a quote from ad exec Alex Nieminen: "Lordi represents a rebellion by Finns who are basically saying, 'Look, we're not all the Nokia-wielding people that our government would like you to think we are.' " Indeed, as Lordi himself declared on the night in question, his band's victory also represented a victory for the forces not only of rock-n'-roll per se, but also of open-mindedness. As BBC News reported, Lordi went on to predict that the results would open the doors for a wider range of musical elemennts at Eurovision. "From now on," said he, "there will be more rock bands who will have the courage to join in. This proves that there are rock fans who watch Eurovision."
Needless to say, Finland will now have to prepare itself to host next year's Eurovision --- and that's not all. Now, NBC wants to replicate Eurovision's formula for U.S. television audiences. The European Broadcasting Union, which controls Eurovision, is in negotiations with NBC Universal executives over the rights to the Eurovision name and property. Should those talks succeed, Eurovision USA could debut as early as this fall, according to EBU Director of Television Bjorn Erichsen.
Winning Eurovision may not necessarily guarantee lasting fame, however. Celine Dion and ABBA might have gone on to greater glory --- as did Olivia Newton-John, who, though a native of Australia, lost out to ABBA during Eurovision's 1974 lineup while competing for the U.K. Other winners have vanished without a trace, victims of the so-called "curse of Eurovision." Moreover, Lordi is not the first Eurovision entry to spark controversy. Last year's entry from the Ukraine had to be rewritten at the last minute after being deemed too political by Kiev officals because it celebrated the Orange Revolution; and in 1998, when Dana International, an Israeli-born transsexual, won for her ballad "Diva," rabbis accused her of flouting the values of the Jewish state.
Well, here's what ol' Blackwolf has to say about the triumph of Lordi: Only a band as fiercely incredible as these guys could possess the chutzpah to bring Eurovision kicking and screaming into the 21st Century proper. Such an attempt takes courage, good Mortals, even if you have to write lyrics like those for Hard Rock Hallelujah. Here's the English translation:
The saints are crippled on this sinners' night.
Lost are the lambs with no guiding light.
The walls come down like thunder,
The rock's about to roll ---
It's the Arockalypse! Now, bear thy soul!
The true-believers are the ones who shall be saved!
O Brothers and Sisters, keep ye strong in the faith!
For on this Day of Rockening, it's who dares, wins;
You'll see the former jesters as they're crowned the new Kings!
There be wings on my back, and I got horns on my head;
My fangs are sharp, and my eyes are red.
I'm not quite an angel (or the one that fell) ----
Now choose! Either join us or go straight to Hell!
All we need is lightning with power and might!
Striking down the prophets of false!
As the Moon is rising, won't you give us the sign?
Now, let us rise up in awe!
Rock-n'-roll angels bring thyn Hard Rock Hallelujah
Demons and angels all in one have arrived!
Rock-n'-roll angels bring thyn Hard Rock Hallelujah
In God's creation supernatural high!
As you goodly gentles can see, the lessons of Lordi are these: a world where so many dare to be different is best embraced when, if only for a little while, one can place one's differences aside just long enough to embrach the very triumph of the human spirit. My Mortal-born alter ego, Master Richard, has always believed thus. This being the 20th Anniversary of your Dragonmaster's parent company, Electric Pirates Entertainment, I would simply say to you that Lordi, like their fellow rockin' Finns Finntroll (who, by the way, I am happy to say have found themselves a new lead troll, whom they will introduce at their next gig once they've completed their next album, which is due next year), is a bunch which fits in perfectly with EPE's Mission Statement:
"....to seek out the weird, the wild, and the misunderstood in all facets of the entertainment community."
Here's to you, then, Lordi! Congratulations, and if you lads see this blog, I beg you: please don't make the Wizard bleed!
As always, I wanna know what you think, America. Gimme an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or my NEW e-mail address, email@example.com.