He defied the pre-contest odds and took Ireland back to the grand final for the first time since 2013 with his atmospheric ballad “Together”.
And now Ryan O’Shaughnessy has joked that Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE were relieved he didn’t win it all.
“It was great, it was super,” he told The Herald. “I don’t think you can prepare for the bubble you find yourself in when you’re there.”
“We went from 250/1 to 7/1 with the bookies, so we had a bit of success when it comes to that kind of thing — we got through the semi-finals.”
“I think everyone was happy, and RTE were happy we didn’t win it so we don’t have to host it next year!”
Ireland’s gay dancer controversy
European voters and jury members responded well to Ryan’s on-stage performance.
At the start he stood centre stage next to a piano. As the camera panned around a woman on the piano came into focus — clarifying the “Together” singer’s love interest. We soon saw the two male dancers from his music video holding hands on a ramp. They later re-emerged, suggesting the universality of love across boundaries, including gender.
The staging was simple and pure — and it worked with the tonality of the song. Nodding to Salvador Sobral, there were no fireworks here. But there was lovely blue lighting, Ryan strumming on his guitar, an old-school street light and a park bench.
The same-sex romance proved a bit much for China’s Hunan TV, who censored the performance…and subsequently lost their right to broadcast Eurovision. Oops.
During the Semi-Final 1 qualifiers’ press conference, Ryan made the message of his song explicit.
“My intention from the start was to help people who don’t see that love is just love and there’s no difference if it’s between a man and a woman or a woman and a woman or a man and a man and I think it’s really important.”
“Not everyone is as liberal as the people in this room are. It’s an important thing I think. I’m really proud of my country for making that change a couple of years ago. We’re bringing new energy back to that topic and I’m really happy about that.”
Do you think Ireland can finally win Eurovision again in the years ahead? Where did Ryan rank in your Top 43? And did your opinions change from before the contest? Let us know down below!