- For the second consecutive year, a singer from Uusikaupunki will perform in the final of the Tangomarkkinat competition. Ville-Markus Vesterinen follows in the footsteps of Lauri Ketonen, transitioning from theater stages to the tango final, believing that being true to oneself can lead to great success.
The semifinal of the Tangomarkkinat competition was nearing its end at the Vantaa Cultural Hall in late May. Nine finalists, five women and four men, had already been invited to the stage behind the curtains, and both the audience and the backstage were eagerly awaiting the announcement of the last finalist’s name.
Ville-Markus Vesterinen, a resident of Uusikaupunki, looked around and despite a successful performance, he began to doubt whether he would make it to the next round among this group. There were still many experienced and strong interpreters of tango awaiting a spot in the final.
However, it was Vesterinen’s name that was announced last from the stage. The 23-year-old home appliance salesman would step into the final of the Seinäjoki Tangomarkkinat in early July, competing for the title of tango king.
“I felt really confident and had a good feeling throughout the semifinal, even though I started to have doubts while waiting.
I know I’m not a traditional tango singer, but I believe that being different is my strong suit. The feedback from the judges was also very encouraging. They advised me to stick to my own authentic style,” Ville-Markus Vesterinen explains.
Indeed, Vesterinen has been true to himself throughout the competition. Instead of a dark suit, he has performed in a distinctive all-white outfit with a sparkling vest, setting himself apart from the other competitors. When the host, Jenna Bågeberg, asked him after the semifinal performance which tango he would most like to record, he honestly admitted that he is only familiar with a few tangos.
This sparked both amusement and astonishment in the audience.
“Of course, I understand that I’m different from the rest and not really a typical tango singer. When the semifinal songs were announced, they were all traditional tangos by the likes of Olavi Virta and Eino Grön. I had expected something more modern and lighter, so I did have a moment of doubt whether this competition was right for me,” Vesterinen admits.
However, as he sang one tango after another, it started to feel better. He found a connection with the challenging Tango D’amore in the first live qualification round and made Eino Grön’s timeless ‘Seinillä on korvat’ his own in the semifinals.
And as a performer with a theater background, Vesterinen embodies every moment on stage.
“I love the feeling when the spotlight shines on me. I’m also not particularly nervous. Waiting before the performance is of course nerve-wracking, but stepping on stage is wonderfully liberating. That moment when you know you can give it your all,” he says.
Making it to the final from a pool of over 250 tango hopefuls has come as a surprise even to Vesterinen himself. After a momentary hesitation, he now believes that the tango competition is just as fitting for him as it is for anyone else.
“When I sent my first singing video, I didn’t think that I was competing for the title of the Tango King, but I wanted to participate in a singing competition because I know how to sing. I’m the kind of person who wants to dive in and experience things, to move in a direction that feels right to me. It has been wonderful to realize that as my own unique self, I can succeed even in the world of tango markets,” says Vesterinen.
He has been particularly delighted by the support shown by the people of Uusikaupunki, his hometown. The locals voted diligently in the early stages of the competition, and messages of encouragement have poured in.
“The support from the people of Uusikaupunki has been absolutely fantastic. Every message and like on social media genuinely warms my heart. I believe that with this support, I can give my all in the finals,” Vesterinen expresses his gratitude.
The final strokes of luck for the tango finalist can come at the first Tul toril theme market of the summer, on Saturday, July 1st. Ville-Markus Vesterinen will perform on the market stage in the morning.
The final of the Tangomarkkinat competition will be held in Seinäjoki a week later, on July 8, 2023.