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Once Again, Finland Brings Metal Crunch to Eurovision

The Finnish entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest -- a macho anthem to manhood and heroism -- was chosen on Tuesday evening to advance to Saturday's final in Belgrade. The heavy metal band Teräsbetoni ("Steel Concrete") played 16th out of 19 entries in the first semi-final event. Ten of these songs advanced to Saturday's final, mostly based on telephone voting by viewers around Europe. On Thursday evening, 10 more entrants will be chosen for the final. Teräsbetoni's song is "Missä miehet ratsastaa" ("Where Men Ride"). The quartet's members refer to themselves as "warriors" and usually perform shirtless. The group was formed in 2003 in the Tampere area, releasing its first album two years later. "Missä miehet ratsastaa" is the first single from its third album, which came out in March. Strict Security Competing for the first time as a separate country in 2007, Serbia earned the right to host the 53rd annual ESC when its entry, Marija Serifovic won with "Molitva". This melodramatic ballad was a stark contrast to the 2006 winner, "Hard Rock Hallelujah" by the tongue-in-cheek Finnish 'monster metal' band, Lordi. According to YLE's Kjell Ekholm, Finnish member of the European Broadcasting Union's board, security is much tighter in Belgrade than it was when the ESC was held in Helsinki a year ago. Due to unrest in Serbia related to Kosovan independence, each country's representatives are always accompanied by armed guards. YLE

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