After seeing reactions to Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät winning Uuden Musikiin Kilpailu last Saturday, I decided it was time for an editorial. Not because I want to defend Aina Mun Pitää, but because I want to defend Finland for choosing PKN for Vienna. I’ve asked a few of my Eurovision friends for opinions as well, so many thanks to Sigrún Huld Skúladóttir,Daniel Cobbett and Padraic Devlin for sharing their views with me.
Let me just explain that last sentence. I dislike the song. It’s not my cup of tea, I have only managed to listen to the entire song once. That’s how bad I think the song is. That however doesn’t change the fact that Finland has chosen Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät for Vienna. The country stands behind these four guys. The country stands behind Aina Mun Pitää. In a nine song final, over 35% of the votes went to Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät. And for Eurovision fans out there, there’s just one thing to do: Deal with it.
Now I know, Finland had a brilliant line-up for their national selection, fans went crazy for the likes of Satin Circus and Siru, but they also seemed to forget that Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät is a solid name in Finland. They’re already well known there. It’s no surprise to Finnish people that PKN won, even though we may not see what the Finns see.
I also wouldn’t put their victory down to ‘sympathy votes’. As I said before, I dislike the song, I dislike the genre. But these guys handle the genre well, they know what they’re doing, they, I assume, make the music they enjoy making. If Finland wants a punk entry, then who are we to say they can’t have it? We need to respect the choice Finland has made. They’re one brave nation to pick a genre that, according to some ‘has no place in Eurovision’.
One person who has spoken strongly about the topic of sympathy votes is Icelandic Eurovision fan Sigrún Huld Skúladóttir. About this, she says:
It’s perfectly fine to dislike or even hate the song. We have different tastes and everybody’s entitled to their opinion. What I can’t stand is people saying that the only reason they won is because of sympathy-votes or pity-votes, or that they are unwilling puppets of YLE. It’s hurtful and extremely arrogant. I am truly saddened to see this sort of prejudice amongst (thankfully a small portion of) Eurovision fans. They are independent artists competing with their own song. I have no doubt that they have just as much ambition and determination as the other contestants. I admire and applaud them. I also applaud the Finnish nation for, once again, pushing the boundaries and refusing to conform. Finland rocks!
If we, Eurovision fans, claim that Eurovision is the contest for all European music, who are we to say that a genre doesn’t have a place in Eurovision? Clearly, the open minded Eurovision community is only open minded to things that can benefit their own cause?
Yes, I realise my statements are pretty big there. I just don’t get how the exact same people who attacked people for disliking Conchita Wurst’s appearance are now the same people who say Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät shouldn’t be allowed in Eurovision. I’ve seen people saying that the PKN guys probably don’t know what they’re doing and that they should be protected against themselves. To use some strong words: That’s the biggest load of crap I have ever heard. Milder words, but also a clear voiced opinion, come from British Eurovision fan Daniel Cobbett. He says:
The Finnish televoters have ensured that their entry to this years ESC is bound to be the most controversial, and has quickly split Euro-fandom in two! There are the “pros” who think that this slice of Finnish punk is a welcome addition to the ESC canon, and then there are the “antis”, who consider it a load of tuneless shouting over incessant noise. Whichever you are, one thing is clear. Criticising the song itself is fair game. Criticising the band, or their right to participate goes against the very inclusive message that Conchita championed in Copenhagen. The big question – are PKN #unstoppable? I wouldn’t bet against it.
Up until now I haven’t said anything about the mental condition of the members of Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät. Why? Simple, because it shouldn’t matter when it comes to judging a song or the group’s style. And isn’t that what every Eurovision always says? “I only judge the song.” The past few days has shown that that is simply not the case. Their style is no reason to disqualify them, nor is their song, even if you think it’s the worst song ever in Eurovision. And I’d tend to agree that it’s one of the all time worst songs, but I don’t want to get them disqualified. Why would I? Do they offend anyone? Do they break the rules? No, they don’t.
Padraic Devlin, an Irish Eurovision fan and founder of Eurovision Debate, one of the biggest Eurovision groups on Facebook, has also voiced his opinion on the song and how that has no relation whatsoever to the eligibility of PKN in Eurovision:
I think that the group have every right to be at Eurovision as anyone else and the only comments relevant are those about the song. Speaking of which, I find this song horrendous and I’d have to go very far back in the history of Eurovision to find one as bad. I’m not a fan of this type of music.
My biggest concern is that Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät aren’t treated as human beings who’re in the music business, but as people with a mental disability who decide to enter a competition to get sympathy votes. I think it’s awful how these guys are treated. The fact that they have these mental disabilities doesn’t mean they have no feelings. They can speak, they can read, they’re human beings like you and me. And let’s treat them as human beings. I fully stand behind Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät as musicians, I fully stand behind Finland for choosing them. It’s just a shame that their song is one I can’t support.
What do you think about Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät entering Eurovision? What do you think about ‘Aina Mun Pitää’? Do you agree with Sigrún, Daniel, Padraic and me or do you have a different opinion? Let us know below!