According to the Helsingin Sanomat, some 15,000 French LORDI fans have signed an Internet petition demanding an apology from French TV Eurovision hosts for what were claimed to be disparaging remarks about the artists during the Athens show.
At the end of LORDI's performance on May 20, one of the French hosts reportedly stated while on air, "Finland has been participating in the Eurovision contest for the past 44 years and has never won. They're certainly not gonna win with this." Another host was also reportedly heard saying during the broadcast, "It's fresh, it's light, it's sober. I didn't picture the Finns like this. They'll be at the Vincennes zoo in the fall."
The Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast live to around 100 million viewers across the continent, and has turned LORDI —who won with a record number of points — into an international success story and prompted widespread international press coverage of the Finnish heavy rock boom.
LORDI played a short set in front of an enthusiastic crowd estimated at 90,000 or more in Helsinki's Market Square on Friday evening (May 26).
Finns were clearly eager to celebrate an end to 40 years of Eurovision humiliation, and sang along with the winning number "Hard Rock Hallelujah" as though it was the spring's national anthem, according to the Helsingin Sanomat.
There was an official presence from the very highest level, as President Tarja Halonen handed over a bronze key awarded to the band by the Association for Finnish Work in recognition of the members' triumph in Athens.
The police reported that the evening's victory party went off without trouble, although there had been concerns that there might be demonstrations against the gossip weekly 7 Päivää after the magazine had published a photograph — sans costume and make-up — of the band's vocalist and front-man Mr. Lordi, a.k.a. Tomi Putaansuu.