Finland's 2008 Eurovision Song Contest preparations will take place under a new management team after the host country of this year's Eurovision Song Contest failed to qualify directly for next year's final in Belgrade. esctoday.com's partner website, escfinland.eu
The completely new team is to be lead by the head of YLE Viihde (Entertainment) Ms Tuire Lindstöm. The Finnish national final will be managed by Mr Matti Grönberg from the same unit. The pair promise some changes to the Finnish selection process, but will keep it as an invitation only competition as it has been in the last two years.
"We did not want to change the system, which seems to work well in practice. We wish to get record companies with us in an even wider scale than before to the project and create new success stories", says Ms. Lindström.
The rules for the contest will be published on the 17th of August. "Our team will research amongst other things, how many artists will be invited, how many songs each artist will perform in the finals and how the actual selection is made" says Mr Grönberg.
Both Lordi and Hanna Pakarinen were selected through a system of four semifinals, where three artists each performed two songs and the televoting public selecting their preferred song from each artist to proceed to the final. With this method all 12 invited artists got one of their songs to the final.
The method was though widely criticized by fans in 2007, as the artists were allowed to name their favourite of the two songs before the televoting began and invariably those songs also got selected, making mockery of the whole semifinal system. It seems the new system may leave the door open even for fewer artists to be invited with maybe more songs for each to perform, or more artists with just one song.