Finnish song “Cicciolina” is far more than an Ode to a Porn-star

Erika Vikman & Cicciolina (UMK 2020)
Erika Vikman (UMK 2020) & her entry inspiration; Ilona "Cicciolona" Staller.

This year sees the Finns return to a national selection with multiple artists and entries competing however one entry has already garnered international acclaim and popularity. I will analyse Erika Vikman’s “Cicciolina” musically and lyrically to delve into its messages of female empowerment and sexual liberation. You can read part one at Eurovision Union here.

What does the music itself tell us?

What many may consider Scandinavian schlager with an 80s throwback: Vikman’s “Cicciolina” reminiscence the era that Hungarian-Italian former porn star Ilona “Cicciolina” Staller’s has her own dominance in her career change from pornography to politics which started in the 80s in Italy.

Who wrote the song?

  • Composition by: Janne Rintala & Mika Laakkonen
  • Arrangement by: Mika Laakkonen & Janne Rintala.

In regards to the song composition; Vikman states:

We made a song that felt strong enough to fit in with the Eurovision Song Contest. At first, the idea seemed crazy, but on the other hand, we realized that this is the way to go.

The use of backing vocals by Jepa Lambert eminate a female, choir aiding to the song’s lyrical content to showcase that Erika is “supported by women everywhere”. This also adds to the theme of sexual liberation for Vikman while adding to the anthemic quality of the track’s structure and use of synthesisers to tie back to the inspiration via Cicciolina’s past.

Senior reporter for Finnish broadcaster YLE Anni Gullichsen describes it best – “Cicciolina is a brisk, Finnish disco track that does not hide sexual freedom” and that Cicciolina is “the boldest” possibility when it comes to UMK’s competing entries for Eurovision 2020.

What do the lyrics convey?

  • Lyrics by: Janne Rintala, Erika Vikman & Saskia Vanhalakka

The Finnish lyrics are inspired by Finnish singer Kikka Sirén who was also known for her evocative lyrics and suggestive performances. She also attempted to represent Finland back in 1992 with the song “Parhaat puoleni” (EN: My best features). Here is another example of one of Kikka’s major hits in Finland:

  • English translation of Kikka – “Mä haluun viihdyttää” (EN: I want to entertain”) is: here.

The comparisons between both Erika and Kikka from both the use of provocative, sexual lyrics to even some visual aesthetic are noticeable. Kikka sings: “I want to want to excite you, entertain you, do it anytime when I press against you” compared to Erika Vikman’s “Cicciolina” opening lines:

It’s useless to teach me to sit with my legs crossed
I was born as a sinner, sorry if it bothers you
The entry itself is a major example of the broad themes of redefining what female empowerment should means for today’s modern-day woman. Being named and based off the life of an ex-porn star turned politician Cicciolina. The chorus says it all as Vikman sings:
When some beautiful day I shall come to you
Not even wearing a nun gown will save me
Nor the whole Argentina crying after me
If you’ve lived like Cicciolina
Vikman sees Cicciolina as an inspiration and naming the track after her is all the prove necessary – despite it being a controversial view but from a liberal country such as Finland – it’s a breath of fresh air and an honourable ode to Kikka as well as to Cicciolina.
YLE states: “Vikman enjoys tearing down fences, both in her music and in other areas of her life” and this connected with Vikman when describing her own entry:

For me, Cicciolina symbolizes courage, freedom and selflessness, and these are the things I want to pursue in life

What can we expect from the performance?

Lyrics video gives us the best hint on what we can expect on the UMK stage. YLE report that the staging will be (or at least the lyrics video was) inspired by Britney Spear’s “Oops!… I Did It Again”.

This suggestions there will be provocative choreography by Vikman and most likely backing dancers to support. The outfit worn by Vikman may be utilised again on-stage which would make sense since Cicciolina was known for the flower crown in her own pornographic career. It also is utilised as a lyric in the song, so I think the outfit can be safely assumed to be in the UMK performance.

YLE have the creative knowledge to deliver an exceptional performance – seen in the Eurovision community as one of the best when it comes to staging. They aren’t afraid to amp up the provocativeness of the track and to deliver a memorable performance worth of the universal interest and increasing virality.

I recommend YLE to look at Maruv’s banned entry for Ukraine 2019 for last year as a potential inspiration for staging “Cicciolina. The wow factor it contains and it’s uniqueness for the Eurovision stage was sadly missed this year and this could be a great opportunity for Finland to utilise what Ukraine couldn’t. Utilising staging similar to this would resonate with the lyrical content and what Erika wishes to achieve through her entry’s message. Be wary not to make it too kitsch visually though, the song may be regarded as such with its Schlager references however this shouldn’t become a comedic performance.

Will it represent Finland at Eurovision 2020?

  • You can view the translated lyrics here.

Want to read more?

Let us know in the comments whether you think this will represent Finland for Eurovision 2020 in Rotterdam. I think it’s got a strong chance. I made an in-depth retrospective on the backgrounds of both Erika Vikman and Cicciolona and how they relate to one another over at Eurovision Union You can read more using the following link: here.

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