Finland hosted the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest following Lordi’s momentous victory in Athens the previous year. Finnish broadcaster YLE selected Jaana Pelkonen and Mikko Leppilampi as the hosts for the contest in Helsinki. After a public vote on Eurovision.tv and on the official Eurovision Song Contest Facebook page, the duo have been chosen as your favourite presenters of the noughties.
Shortly after Lordi won the Eurovision Song Contest jokes circulated in the Finnish media that hell had frozen over; the Finns had achieved the impossible and won the Eurovision Song Contest. Before 2006 Finland had never even come close to winning the contest; their best placing was sixth in 1973 with the song Tom Tom Tom performed by Marion Rung. Lordi were given a hero’s welcome when they arrived back in Finland and the spirit of national pride that the victory engendered in Finland was also evident when YLE organised the 2007 competition. Hosts Jaana and Mikko brought an air of professionalism when they presented the show, beating off competition from Maria and Sakis, hosts of the 2006 competition who finished second in our vote.
Jaana Pelkonen was no stranger to Eurovision fans having previously hosted the Finnish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. At the time of the contest she was studying Political Science at the University of Helsinki and she was elected to Helsinki City Council the following year. In 2011 she was elected as a Member of Parliament and was re-elected again last year. Mikko Leppilampi is an actor and has starred in more than a dozen films. He hosted the show alongside Jaana in 2007. The following year he delivered the results of the Finnish televote at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest.
Only last week Jaana and Mikko reunited to present a charity concert for Red Nose Day in Finland. The concert was called Kaikkien aikojen Euroviisut and featured the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and various Finnish stars performing Finnish Eurovision entries from the past.
(Photograph: Päivi Korpela)
Krisse Salminen hosted the green room during the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. The comedian made several appearances during the show, mingling with the audience and even sitting on laps! She has hosted her own comedy show and continues to perform stand-up as well as providing voiceovers for film and television.
The 2000s were a time of great change in the Eurovision Song Contest; the show moved to larger venues, the production grew evermore elaborate and the participants rapidly increased with the introduction of the Semi-Final in 2004. Anders Lundin, who presented the show in Stockholm in 2000 reflected on the first contest of the new millennium. "The thing I remember the most from Eurovision Song Contest is me and Kattis, my colleague, rehearsing like crazy. We had an introduction where we tried to say one phrase on every language of the participating countries. We practiced over and over again walking for hours through the corridors of the Globe Arena from where it all was broadcast, until Kattis walked right in to a steel girder and hit her head and we had to find an other method of memorizing!"
Anders revealed that the Eurovision Song Contest also helped him professionally. "I have a lecture that I give now and then and one of the themes is about overcoming nerves. I find Eurovision is a good example and so I show a piece of what we did. Once it all started I don’t remember being nervous, we were just so tired rehearsing so I guess we both just wanted it to be over. I think we still feel bonded like two army veterans that survived a war".
"The thing I do remember from the actual broadcast is the feeling when entering the stage, the great atmosphere, the warm reception and the noise from the audience. I have seen our introduction quite a few times and I always get goosebumps at the exact point where Kattis, addressing the audience in Swedish, spoke about the event the previous year, with the sweetest smile in the world is saying: "Men visst var det rätt låt som vann" (You have to admit that right song did win). I think that’s the exact moment we felt that everything was going fine. Hosting Eurovision was an extraordinary experience".
More recently Anders has continued to work with Swedish Television and has recently been nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on the show All För Sverige (All For Sweden) in the Best Unscripted Entertainment category.
True Fantasy in 2007
The 2007 Eurovision Song Contest was a memorable one for many reasons. Aside from being the first, and to date, only contest to take place in Finland, it was the first contest to be broadcast in high definition and at that point was the largest competition to take place with a record 42 participants. The contest saw four countries debut in Helsinki; the Czech Republic, Georgia, Montenegro and Serbia. It was also the last year that only one Semi-Final took place. Marija Šerifović won the contest for Serbia with the song Molitva. It was the first time that the country had entered as an independent state following the split with Montenegro the previous year. Molitva was the first non-English language song to win the Eurovision Song Contest since 1998 and took the contest to Serbia for the first time.