Finland's representative to the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Saara Aalto and her song "Monsters" failed to impress Europe on Saturday night, coming in second to last in the final vote. The favourite going into the competition, Israel's "Toy" was already popular in the jury vote, and the televote pushed it to an uncontested victory.
Speaking with the Finnish Broadcasting Company before the final, Israel's Netta Barzilai said she wanted to bring a message of diversity to the contest.
"I was hated as a child, but now I am admired and it feels great. I know I'm a good role model. I'm different. I do what I want and I love myself. If I would have seen someone like me on television as a little girl, I would have suffered less," Netta said.
It had been 20 years since Isreal's last win in the song contest. The entry from Cyprus's Eleni Foureira came in second, and Austria's Cesár Sampson was third.
Saara already looking to the future
Saara Aalto and Finland had to be happy with second-last place in the Lisbon final. Juries representing the 43 voting countries were not generous with their points, although the popular vote was a bit more supportive.
"I feel really good about my performance. I think it was one of the best on-stage performances that I've ever done. I got goose bumps while I was singing. That's what these competitions are like; we'll never know why we didn't get the votes," she told Yle after the final.
Aalto said she was happy that she got to be a part of the Eurovision Song Contest because it had always been one of her dreams.
"It was so great that I got to do Eurovision. And our show was just the kind of thing I've always wanted to do. All the people that I've met here were rooting for me. It has been an amazing journey. It has shown me that I have fans everywhere in the world." Aalto said.
Some artists would take a break after all the hype of a major international competition, but Aalto is already looking to the future.
"I am heading to London to continue my work there, as I've got a gig in a week. Then I will start a stadium tour with the Steps band."
The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will be available on Yle's Areena streaming service (with either Finnish or Swedish commentary) for the next 29 days.