Pictures: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today
It’s hot but it’s not just the down jacket. The lobby of Helsinki-Vantaa airport is filled with reporters, photographers and fans pushing against each other – all waiting for Saara Aalto, “Finland’s gift to the UK,” as the X Factor UK host Dermot O’Leary put it while visiting Finland almost two weeks ago. Saara is supposed to arrive from the UK to Finland on this foggy Tuesday afternoon, to tell about her plans after placing second in the British prestigious song competition.
The doors open. A man with a suit and a big smile on his face snaps a photo of us holding the cameras like welcome gifts. Clearly, this snapshot will be published on his social media profile. What a reception! Worth a few likes, huh?
Saara was supposed to arrive at 12:30 but it’s closer to one now and dozens of passengers hurry past us. “Maybe they are letting all the others out first and then, boom, Saara steps in,” a reporter speculates to a microphone.
The doors slide open and I get a glimpse of Saara and her partner, Meri, in the back of the hallway. The others notice it, too. “She’s coming!” There’s a scream in unison. The flashes blink as Saara walks into the lobby, wearing her famous snow queen dress and jacket and smiling widely. A fan girl pushes through the crowd and after a burly bald guy in a suit, who is clearly in charge of the security, finds the girl harmless, she is allowed to hand Saara a big Finnish flag, which Saara wraps around her like a shawl.
Saara said earlier that she is recovering from the flu but manages to hide it in front of the cameras like a true professional she is.
Saara sits down behind a desk, grabs a pile of cards and starts signing autographs. In return, she receives cards, flowers and chocolate. One man hands her a bag in the shape of a teddy bear.
Later, Saara enlightened the press about her plans:
Her upcoming album could feature a song composed by the Australian singer and songwriter Sia. Saara debuted in the X Factor UK auditions with Sia’s “Chandelier.”
Saara has made two deals with the British talent management companies ROAR Global and Global. The companies will help Saara with her career.
Saara will perform at the Helsinki Arena on April 15, 2017.