Saara Aalto has gone all the way from being the wildcard pick to one of three finalists on X Factor UK, and tonight, the 29-year-old will sing her heart out in the hopes of becoming the Season 13 winner. Aalto will perform “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” during tonight’s finale, and is rumored to be performing a duet with Adam Lambert.
At the beginning of the season, Aalto landed in the bottom two sing-off two weeks in a row. Recently, however, she’s proven to become a fan favorite in the competition, and is even predicted by many outlets to win the title of X Factor champion.
Read on to learn more about the Finnish singer.
1. She Became Engaged to a Female Fan in August
The first time Saara Aalto ever met fiancée Meri Sopanen was through a Facebook message. Sopanen was a big fan of Aalto, and wrote her a message that said, “I have never, ever sent a message like this to anybody, but I just had this intuition that I have to send this to you”, according to the Sun. Saara’s reaction to the note was, “That’s so cute. What a nice-looking girl.”
The two finally met about a year later, when Meri attended one of Saara’s concerts. Saara tells The Sun, “We started talking and realized we just shared the same view of life and everything.” The couple dated for two years before Meri proposed this past summer. Meri is also Aalto’s manager.
Recently, fans of the show have accused The X Factor of being “homophobic”, since Meri was barely broadcast in any of Saara’s interviews (other X Factor relationships, like the one between Ryan Lawrie and Emily Middlemas, were often brought up on the show). A December 5 article by the Daily Star reads, “The show has not highlighted the fact that Saara is in a relationship, and fans want to know why Meri is never shown.”
Many of the show’s viewers have taken to Twitter to comment on the situation. One person wrote: “Omg I had no idea that Saara Aalto has a girlfriend!” Another tweeted: “Why do they never show Saara with her girlfriend? Do they want to hide that side of her?”
2. She Still Performs and Makes Music With Her Ex Boyfriend
Roivainen was Aalto’s producer and band leader, and speaking on ITV’s Lorraine earlier this week, Aalto revealed that he’ll be attending this weekend’s finale!
3. She Placed Second in ‘Finland’s Got Talent’ in 2007
Aalto placed second in Finland’s Got Talent in 2007 and The Voice of Finland in 2012. She was part of Finland’s National Selections for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, and used her own song composition, “Blessed With Love”.
Earlier this week, Saara visited her hometown in Finland, and was welcomed by an enormous crowd of her most devoted fans. The Helsinki airport even greeted the finalist with a sign that said, “Welcome home Saara!”
4. Her Own Record Label Has Published All of Her Albums
Aalto founded Yume Records with her ex-boyfriend in 2011. Her label has produced all five of her albums: Blessed With Love (2011), Enkeleitä – Angels (2011), You Had My Heart (2013), Ai De Zhu Fu (2013, in Chinese) and the duet album Tonight (2015).
5. She Has Been Recording Her Own Music Since Age 5
Saara has been composing her own music since 2005, and according to her website, she calls her music Epic Pop Love. She grew up in Oulunsalo, Finland, and at just 11-years-old, she won the Kotka Maritime Festival song contest for children.
According to Mirror UK, Saara Aaalto has received criticism lately from those who believe that only a British performer should win the show. The outlet reports Sharon Osbourne as coming to her mentee’s defense, saying, “It’s not as if she is from Afghanistan with a machine gun on her back…she’s from Finland!”. Osbourne added on, “I think that’s what makes Britain great, it opens its door to so many nationalities and races.”