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Ari Koivunen

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Ari Mikael Koivunen (born June 7, 1984, Kouvola) is the winner of the 2007 Finnish Idols competition.[1] Prior to entering Idols, Koivunen won the Finnish Karaoke Championships in 2005, and placed third in the Karaoke World Championships the same year.[2]

A resident of Lahti, Koivunen breezed into the finals after winning 86% of the public vote for his rendition of Billy Joel's Piano Man.[3] On the first of March, 2007, Koivunen reserved himself a place in the second round of competition with his version of Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers.[4]

Koivunen moved into the third round of competition on March 8th with his performance of the Iron Maiden classic The Evil That Men Do.[5]

On the 15th of March, Koivunen made it into the fourth round of competition, singing the Whitesnake hit, Here I Go Again. Despite some criticism from the judges for singing only heavy metal songs in the finals, Koivunen was unperturbed. "I don't see any reason to consider what people might like, since it seems they like the same thing I do," said Koivunen.[6] At the end of the evening, Koivunen, the six other Idols finalists, and three of the semifinalists were presented with gold records for their album Idols 2007, which sold over 15,000 copies in the two days after its release.[1]

The fourth Idols final was held on March 22, and Koivunen chose to sing, in keeping with the week's theme, two songs by his own idols, the Led Zeppelin hit Rock and Roll and Hunting High and Low by the Finnish metal band Stratovarius.1 The judges, however, were not pleased with Koivunen's continuance of the heavy metal line, and gave him an unprecedented four negative reviews. The voting public was of a different opinion, as Koivunen again made it into the next round without being in danger of elimination.[1]

The fifth Idols final was held on March 29, and Koivunen won over the judges completely with his version of the Broadcast ballad You Break My Heart. For his second song, Koivunen sang the Finnish hit Sielut iskee tulta by the heavy metal band Kilpi.1. With these performances, Koivunen made it to the Idols final which was held on April 6, 2007 in the Helsinki Icehall, where he defeated his fellow competitor Anna Abreu by gaining 57% of the public vote. Koivunen sang the Sonata Arctica song Full Moon (which he also sang in the auditions), the Soundgarden hit Black Hole Sun (chosen by the judges), the Scorpions ballad Still Loving You and the song On the Top of the World which was composed for the Idols winner.

As his reward for winning Idols 2007, Koivunen received a recording contract with Sony BMG, and an advance payment of 30,000 Euros. His first solo single was On Top Of the World, the song composed for the Idols winner.[1] he had already sung with the other Idols finalists on the single "Pop-musiikkia"

Koivunen's debut album, Fuel For The Fire, was officially released on the 30th of May, although the album had already been released for download sale on the 21st of May. The first single from that album, Hear My Call, was released on May 11th. During the first week of sales Fuel For The Fire jumped immediately to the top of the official album chart, and by June 7, 2007 it had already achieved platinum status with over 40,000 albums sold. Koivunen's album is one of the fastest selling records in Finnish music history, with over 10,000 copies sold in the first week of sales. Fuel For The Fire remained the number one album in Finland for twelve weeks after its release. The album reached double-platinum status (60,000 units)in October 2007. [7]

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