A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finland 1980: Goodbye, night (and goodbye, points)

Just like Yugoslavia, Finland was a country somewhere in between East and West during the days of the cold war. While looking west culturally, there was a large neighbour in the east that should be kept happy at any cost.

One of the things this resulted in was Finland taking part not only in Eurovision of the West, but also in the socialist equivalent - the Intervision Song Contest in Poland.

For some years, Yle decided to devote equal time to both contests and organised a national final split in two: during the same show, seven songs competed for a Eurovision ticket, seven songs competed to go to Intervision.

Intervision never gained any real popularity in Finland, though. There was little, if any, interest for the songs from the other countries, Intervision was never broadcast live and it lacked in excitement as there was no voting sequence during the show.

In an attempt to make Intervision more appealing, Yle asked Marion Rung (who sang for Finland at Eurovision in 1962 and 1973 and was, until the victory of Lordi, the best place Finlander ever at the ESC) to sing all seven entries for Intervision. The winning song, "Hyvästi yö" (Goodbye, night), didn't only turn into a big hit and a real evergreen, it also went on to win first prize (in one of the many categories) of Intervision.

Marion - Hyvästi yö (Finland 1980 Intervision)

At the same time, the national final for Eurovision held a remarkably low standard, offering a line-up of surpringly un-catchy songs, resulting in victory for actor Vesa-Matti Loiri equipped with a song that was not bad but complete shark feed in a commercial pop contest. At the final in the Hague, "Huilumies" (Flute man) ended on nineteenth and last place.

The big question remains why Yle threw away a brilliant song with big hit potential to a song contest nobody cared for while sending a no-hoper to the most watched and loved song contest of the year.

Vesa-Matti Loiri - Huilumies (Finland 1980)

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