Blame it on the Baltics: Ex-Westlife singer Brian McFadden explains why “Eurovision has gone to pot”

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He’s the man best known for quitting Ireland’s biggest boy band at the height of their fame. But aside from being in Westlife, Brian McFadden also briefly flirted with Eurovision during the early 2000s. He wrote Ireland’s 2004 entry “If The World Stopped Turning”, as well as the song which finished second in the previous year’s national final “A Better Plan”. However, his love affair with the contest is long over.

Speaking to The Irish SunDelta Goodrem’s ex lays into the modern Eurovision, claiming that it’s “gone to pot”. And what is to blame? Why, politics of course… and the Baltics.

The Eurovision has gone to pot. I say that as someone who once loved Eurovision, as much as I love the World Cup. RTÉ have to realise it’s simply over. Eurovision is about the politics now, not the songs. All these Baltic countries voting for one another. It’s ridiculous.

Brian’s not the first to wave the politics card, and most likely won’t be the last. We politely refer him to the recent Portuguese, Austrian and German victories. All three countries won despite not being part of any traditional “voting bloc”. In fact, most winners tend to receive points across the board and no one country has enough neighbours to propel it to the top spot on bloc voting alone.

And what did the Baltics ever do to the man? Few would consider the trio of nations — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — as song contest powerhouses. Between them they have two victories, the last being 15 years ago. Recently, they’ve been largely out of luck with none of them making it past the semis in Kyiv. Eurovision 2015 was the first time since 2002 that all three graced the grand final.

As for the World Cup, out of 20 tournaments, Ireland has only made it to three. Does McFadden recommend the country gives up on that too?

However, the pop star turned talent-show judge turned day-time TV presenter didn’t end it there. He also calls for a return to the old jury system.

That’s why Ireland can only win again if they have independent juries, and that’s not going happen.

And bemoans the failure of Ireland and the UK’s “great songs”.

In the meantime, it’s just heartbreaking to see so many great songs representing Ireland dying a death. And it’s the same for the ones the UK is sending over. We can never win Eurovision again.

Interestingly, these songs typically die a death in the domestic charts too. Brendan Murray’s “Dying To Try” missed out on the top 100 completely, and we have to go all the way back to 2013 to find a homegrown Eurovision entry in the top 20 — coincidentally that was the last time the Emerald Isle made the final.

In the same period, “Rise Like A Phoenix”, “Calm After The Storm” and “Heroes” all made it to the upper realms of the countdown. Make of that what you will.

What do you think of Brian’s comments? Is there some truth to them? Or is he just talking a load of nonsense? Let us know in the comments below.

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