BBC News is reporting that Finnish "horror rock" band LORDI — who dress in monster costumes — have pulled off a surprise win at the 51st Eurovision Song Contest in Athens.
European viewers voted for LORDI's song "Hard Rock Hallelujah" in a show that is normally associated with catchy pop and big ballads. [Watch video footage of LORDI performing "Hard Rock Hallelujah" during the semifinals on May 18 at YouTube.com. A previous performance of "Hard Rock Hallelujah", taken from Finnish TV, can be viewed at this location.]
LORDI's masks, armor and jets of flame attracted widespread attention before the contest — but many thought they were too outlandish to win.
The band were accused by some conservative Greek organizations of promoting Satanism but said they had no connection with the occult.
The favorite before the show was CAROLA, from Sweden, who entered the contest in 1983 and won in 1991.
Some 18,500 fans packed the arena in the Olympic stadium complex, with 2,000 journalists and 3,000 police officers on duty.
Hailing from Arctic Lapland, LORDI became a phenomenon in Finland with a platinum-selling debut album, "Get Heavy", in 2002.
Their compilation album "The Monster Show" has been released in more than 20 countries.
LORDI's latest CD, "The Arockalypse", entered the official Finnish chart at position No. 5 and climbed up to position No. 4 in its second week of release. The album features guest appearances by TWISTED SISTER frontman Dee Snider and guitarist Jay Jay French, as well as former ACCEPT vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick. The CD entered the German national chart at No. 55.