After forty years of trying and as some put it - after hell froze - Finland finally got the chance to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007, in their capital Helsinki. The monster-rockband from Lapland, Lordi, won the contest the previous year with their monumental hit Hard Rock Hallelujah.
Once again, the Host Broadcaster YLE adopted theme art to the contest, being True Fantasy this time. The Finnish design agency Dog Design won a competition to design the visual theme of the contest, which incorporated colourful, kaleidoscopic patterns. The high-tech stage was constructed in the shape of a kantele, a traditional Finnish instrument.
The Final opened with Lordi, the monster rock band that brought Finland its first ever Eurovision Song Contest history the year before. Along with Jaana Pelkonen and Mikko Leppilampi, Krisse Salminen co-hosted the show from the Green Room and the Senate Square. Star guest to open the voting was Santa Clause, who came from northern Finland for this special occasion.
The world-famous band Apocalyptica were the interval act and astonished the whole of Europe with their amazing show.
Svante Stockselius supervised the contest on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union for the fourth time.
42 countries submitted preliminary applications. Although in previous years the maximum number of participating countries was 40, the EBU allowed all 42 to participate in 2007. The Czech Republic, Serbia, Montenegro and Georgia all entered the contest for the first time in 2007. Monaco, sadly, announced its withdrawal on 12th of December 2006.
The contest featured the hugely popular Verka Serduchka from Ukraine who made quite a furore in Helsinki with her costumes and statements, shaking up the press centre on a daily-basis. She finished second with her song Dancing Lasha Tumbai.
Finland, finished only seventeenth with Hanna Pakarinen and her Leave Me Alone. Apparently, this was not the message Europe wanted to hear from the Host Country, even though the show was spectacular.
Serbia, participating as an independent country for the first time, won the contest with Marija Šerifović's powerful ballade Molitva, closely followed by Ukraine and Russia. This time Russia was also close to victory, but so far the country had not been so lucky as Ukraine, winner of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest.
The 2007 contest saw the loudest protests yet heard at the event against perceived unfairness in the voting system. The outcome of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest caused commotion in Western Europe, where audience and media criticised the credibility of the results. The results were even brought up in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Swedish paper Expressen wrote about feeling "shame" over the reactions in many Western European countries, and claimed that "the Eurovision Song Contest had never been better" and calling the Serbian winner a "worthy, historic winner."
In contrast, the EBU and some commentators in West European countries refuted the criticism, insisting the voting reflected the strength of the songs and performances.
The EBU claimed that the results of the Helsinki contest would have remained largely the same (and with the same winner), even if only Western European votes had been counted. The Swedish paper Expressen wrote about feeling "shame" over the reactions in many west European nations and claimed that the Eurovision Song Contest had never been better and calling the Serbian winner a "worthy, historic winner".
It was the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest was produced and broadcast in High Definition. British broadcaster BBC and Swedish broadcaster SVT aired the contest in HD-quality on their respective HD channel;
Almost 9 million votes were cast all over Europe, either by telephone or SMS.
Tomorrow, Eurovision.tv will look back at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Belgrade.