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Eurovision 2010: Finland’s final 15 suffer technical problems

November 30, 2009

Assuming you don’t know already,Eurovision fans love a technical hitch. Committed individuals old enough to remember beam with smug pride when they describe to Eurovision newbies the moment when Spain’s Bandido suffered their now infamous backing track troubles in the 1990 contest.

They didn’t do too badly out of it. Spain came fifth that year and the song has gone on to be a toe-tapping club classic for all of us who quite like the idea of going to gay clubs every Friday even if deep down we’re petrified by the thought.

Twenty years later, I’m excited to be able to write about a similar if slightly lower-key event. At the time of writing – Monday 30 November 2009 – saw the first of Eurovision 2010’s technical glitches.

This morning (around about the time I was journeying across London to work) I was pleased to learn Finnish broadcaster YLE had announced the 15 hopefuls vying for the ticket to Oslo in May next year. Whilst the vital data backup I was scheduled to carry out this morning cooked gently, I used the spare time to listen to the songs.

Out of fifteen songs, I found myself warming gently to four (maybe five) efforts. One schlocky, one deeply cute, one predictably reminiscent of Norway’s one tapping into my shameless love retro Eurovision with another surprisingly fresh and original.

Shortly after discarding the rock numbers – I mean really, please tell me there’s more to Finland than generic cock-rock – I reminded myself that I was on work time and that I should really consider blogging my thoughts when I got home.

I get home, scrabble around to find the story linking me to the YLE website and discover a far-from helpful message (presumably in Finnish) displayed in my web browser.

Seconds later I’m pasting the words into Google Translate and discovering that the YLE Eurovision website is suffering a bit of an overload problem.


In most organisations such a spectacular lack of availability would be regarded as a crime punishable by death. Stories published on fans site with links all over the internet and the destination is not available. Tut tut. People should be shot for this. Who the hell let this happen?

But it’s not that way at all. It is something to be applauded for the simple reason that this simple error message – polite in the extreme – emphasises one very simple and often overlooked point.

The Eurovision may be six months ago but there’s sufficient traffic going to one single point on the internet to render what is probably a smallish operation to wince under the traffic.

And like Spain’s frightful start to the 1990 Eurovision, such a technical hitch is unlikely to do the Finnish damage in the long run. It should also serve as a timely warning to everyone else entering the bun fight that quite a lot of us are really quite hungry to find out what we’ll be voting for in the next Eurovision.

While we wait for YLE to sort out their website difficulties (which could if we are to be really cynical about this even extend to the thorny issue of copyright clearance not having been obtained), look at this classic Finnish contribution from the Eurovision archives. Back in 1985 when each contest had it’s own identity, orchestral arrangements really could sound good and presenters were allowed to jig about alongside the performer on stage, Sonja Lumme sang Eläköön elämä. Don’t worry if you can’t say the title out loud. It’s the song which is important and I defy anyone not to adore it’s tidy effectiveness come the final chord.

  1. Helen permalink

    Beautiful. It’s not just the band, it’s not just the backing singers (standing in the penguin-flippers-up position) it’s the way that she seems to be wearing an academic gown made out of a shower curtain…

  2. Chris permalink

    “A toe-tapping club classic for all of us who quite like the idea of going to gay clubs every Friday even if deep down we’re petrified by the thought.” Other Bandido venues are available – our front room on a Saturday night for example.

    I am so impressed, not to say overwhelmed, by the fact that you have already listened to all fifteen of Finland’s songs. I have heard one so far. You really have upped your Eurovision game this year.

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