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Etc...

Oh, never mind

Seven times now, the first-place finisher in the annual internationally televised Eurovision musical contest has been from Ireland. In fact, Irish performers have won more often than those from any other country. With such a record, one can get to feeling a sense of entitlement , as though victory is a given. So in that spirit last Saturday - after singer Brian Kennedy performed the ballad "Every Song Is a Cry for Love" in this year's edition - the Irish government's Ministry of Arts, Sports, and Tourism had a news release ready, congratulating him for "a marvelous win." Said the message, in part: "Everyone should be very proud of this excellent achievement." Alas, there was just one small problem: Kennedy hadn't won. Instead, in something of a surprise, the judges and voters from 38 countries awarded first place to Lordi, a Finnish five-piece heavy metal band dressed in studded leather and monster masks, for its rendition of "Hard Rock Hallelujah," a lilting composition about demons and creatures with fangs and horns . Kennedy came in a respectable but distant 10th. As for that news release, which had been posted on the ministry's website, it was blamed on "human error" and withdrawn after about 20 minutes.