Finland chose Krista Siegfrids as their entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö last Saturday and it has been discussed widely in the media. Her song lyrics seem to have offended some feminists, while others point out that once again the Finnish singer comes from the Swedish speaking minority.
Many media reporters have noticed, that for the third year running the singer of the Finnish entry is from the 300 000 strong language minority, who speak Swedish as their first language.
Both Pernilla Karsson from last year as well as Paradise Oskar AKA Axel Ehrnstöm (2011) speak Swedish at home.
So many commentators have drawn the conclusion that the Swedish speakers of Finland all get together on the night of the final and vote en masse for their own artists.
A report on the music news site voice.fi states that since the year 2000 Swedish speaking Finns have scored six gold, two silver and three bronze medals in the Finnish national Eurovision finals.
Admittedly, Jari Sillanpää (2004) is a Finn born in Finland, whereas Geir Rönning (2005) is a Norwegian living in Finland, but who both speak fluent Swedish. Nina Åström (2000) is a Swedish speaker too.
YLE is no longer revealing the televoting numbers at the UMK finals, so it is impossible to estimate how much of an impact the 6% minority of Swedish speakers could actually make to the votes.
But it is generally also assumed that the Finnish Swedes are generally more interested in the Eurovision Song Contest and also follow the Swedish national selection Melodifestivalen via the Swedish TV freely available in the bilingual areas of Finland.
Historically, there have been quite a few Swedish speakers representing Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest. At least Marion Rung (1962 and 1973), Lasse Mårtenson (1964), Ann-Christine (1966), Kim Floor (1972), Carita Holmström (1974), Monica Aspelund (1977), Riki Sorsa (1981), Ami Aspelund (1983), Sonja Lumme (1985), Beat (1990) and lead singer Marika Krook of Edea (1998) all are Finnish Swedes. In addition both Laila Kinnunen (1961) and Kristina Hautala (1968) both speak fluent Swedish as they were either born in Sweden, or moved there very young, even if they have Finnish speaking parents.
Additionally, Krista Siegfrids‘ Marry me, and especially its lyrics have caused some reactions from feminists both in Finland and Sweden.
They have read lines like I’m your slave and you’re my master to be anti-feminist statements.
The singer herself dismisses the claims and says the song is intended as humour and she can’t help if people don’t have a sense of humour. This is Eurovision and not to be taken too seriously, she says on Finnish TV.
Despite all this the song Marry me is proving mostly a popular choice with the Finnish audiences – 63% of the over 15000 voters in the tabloid Iltalehti like the song.