Ireland’s Ryan Dolan

Last weekend Ireland had yet another “Why Me?” moment at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö. Unfortunately it was of an entirely different nature to the one experienced 21 years when Linda Martin won the contest with “Why Me?”

Despite being a favourite of fans and pundits alike, with the bookies anticipating a top 12 finish, Ryan Dolan and his song “Only Love Survives” limped into last place with a miserable five points. In the days following the event there has been much confusion among fans, the media and the Irish in general. Ryan was unable to offer an explanation. “We really can’t understand it,” he said afterwards. “The track is charting in 17 countries. If people are buying the song and liking the song, I don’t see how this works that we ended last.” The country’s bookmakers are equally baffled, with Paddy Power refunding all bets which had been placed on Dolan to win.

Surprisingly, the perennial issues of political and block voting haven’t come to the fore as possible reasons for the disappointing result. Perhaps this is due to the relative success of Jedward in recent years. However, former winner Paul Harrington has blamed the European public. “We won back in 1994 with juries’ votes,” he told The Herald. “Unfortunately, anything can happen with public votes. You get great singers beaten on Britain’s Got Talent by dogs spinning plates.” Obviously he didn’t see the split jury/televoting results for last year’s competition or else he would have noticed that Ireland finished 10th in the televote, whereas they only came 19th after jury votes were added to the tally.

A popular view is that performing last in the running order may have hampered Ireland’s chances. Certain aspects of the performance, especially the drummers and Celtic theme, had already been seen in several of the previous acts, including Denmark. After two hours the audiences may have simply found the Irish act to be formulaic and derivative. There have also been suggestions that Dolan may have put on a poor performance during the jury final. Fans present at the Friday night show have commented that he appeared “nervy” and “shaky” for the first 30 seconds of his routine, something which the juries may have picked up on.

However, in an interview with The Herald, Johnny Logan, the most successful performer in Eurovision history, said that Dolan shouldn’t be blamed: “I would tell Ryan to hold his head up because he pulled off a brilliant performance. He did us proud.” Logan also rejected the idea that singing last contributed to Ireland’s dismal placing, as other winning acts have appeared towards the end of the show.

Ryan Dolan Ireland dancers shirtless 3 leather pantsInstead he feels that RTE, the Irish national broadcaster, are the ones responsible. He accused the station of “sidelining” the Irish Eurosong competition by having it incorporated into the Late Late Show, a Friday night chat show: “I don’t think it’s the correct setting to pick our Eurovision song … they had an interview with Danny DeVito in the middle of this year’s contest. How can that be right?” He contrasted this with the approach taken in Denmark at the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix where Emmelie de Forest was chosen: “It was a huge live TV show in front of 15,000 fans…. You get a much better idea of how a song is going to translate to a massive audience at an event like that.”

Speaking on RTE 2FM, Michael Kealy, the head of RTE’s Eurovision delegation, acknowledged that a performance review would have to take place with regards to the Irish selection process. Under the current system RTE appoints 5 mentors every year who are each responsible for finding a suitable artist and song. The 5 chosen acts then perform in a special Eurosong episode of the Late Late Show where the winner is determined by a mixture of public and jury vote. “We will look at having mentors, though that has worked quite well for us in the last three years. We have got out of the semi-finals in all three years. Maybe it is time to go back to an open system where people just send in songs and acts and we sift through the hundreds that come in and get an expert panel together and select five or six for the Late Late Show.”

Ryan Dolan Ireland dancers shirtless 6Kealy also discussed the possibility of integrating the process with the Voice of Ireland: “We have done it before with You’re a Star – I think Mickey Joe Harte came through that system and he did very well.” If RTE were to take this option it would mean that the Voice would have to be rescheduled to earlier in the season, which is very unlikely as it would result in an unnecessary ratings war with the X Factor which is broadcast in Ireland on rival station TV3. It should also be noted that while Harte may have enjoyed some success, fellow You’re a Star alumni, Chris Doran and Donna and Joe McCaul, flopped at the Eurovision.

Furthermore, Kealy was adamant that RTE would not be staging a separate show to select a Eurovision act, citing a lack of resources as the reason.

When asked by The Irish Times whether RTE was trying to plug into a Eurovision formula, Kealy replied “formula implies that it’s a science and if it were a science we’d get it right every time. It’s not a science, it’s a black art.” It’s unclear whether Kealy and his colleagues at RTE will ever master this supposed “black art”, however, one thing is definite, Ireland will be back in 2014, hoping to get that elusive eight win. RTE have already confirmed participation in next year’s event with Kealy saying “I think it gives the country something to look forward to. I think it would be unfortunate purely on the basis of poor sportsmanship – not liking the results – to back out of it”. Hear, hear!

Photos: Thomas Hanses (EBU)

 

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gaudi121
gaudi121
7 years ago

i meant ears….

gaudi121
gaudi121
7 years ago

He almost screamed the song……totaly unpleasurant for years

Zack
Zack
7 years ago

I believe that this year there was just a particularly good set of songs in the Final. Although my choice for the last place would have been Hungary. By far Ireland would have been able to get more votes. I just think that with the total amount of people voting might have had something to do with Irelands votes not translating into decent points. But I wish Ryan Dolan a great future success as an artist and not let this bring his head down. Maybe Eurovision another year will prove more successful. By the way Jedward is a good but… Read more »

Robin Tremmel
Robin Tremmel
7 years ago

The thing is commander- Ireland were not last-they were 14th on the telephone votes and 23rd on the judges votes.That was translated into 26th and last on the scoreboard.Spain should have been last.I disagree that it does not make much difference where a singer ends up.Finlands krista was 24th when she was 18th (judges) and 20th(televotes).If she had come in say 19th-or even higher if she did not have to sing 4th-she would have come home a hero in Finland-instead of 24th and third last.Also her song would be higher up the european charts.I suspect that is the case for… Read more »

CommanderKeen
CommanderKeen
7 years ago

Someone has to come in last. I don’t think there was anything very wrong with the song. Ryan’s vocals weren’t the strongest, but there were worse offenders. I guess that in this category (male/dance), more people went for the Belgian song. Or if you think of it as a modern folk/pop song, Denmark obviously was the one to get the points. Also, i think after the top 10, it doesn’t matter a whole lot where you end up. A single jury liking the song a bit better, a bit of diaspora voting in a single country, and suddenly you find… Read more »

Robin Tremmel
Robin Tremmel
7 years ago

I dont know Liam.Im inclined to think Ireland should tell Eurovision to stuff it next year.

What the voting system did to the song was a disgrace.No way on earth was that the worst song.They almost destroyed Ryans career with that result..

I was supporting Finlands song as I live in Helsinki-she was badly treated too..

Liam Davis
Liam Davis
7 years ago

Personally.. I believe ireland needs to have a song festival instead of using the late late show for the song selection. I’d be happy for the idea as follows. A Song for Ireland 2014. 32 New Artists, 32 Songs, 5 weeks to search for irelands next eurovision entry. No more mentors or anything like that. 4 locations in ireland, Waterford/Cork, Galway/Mayo, Belfast/Londonderry, Louth/Offaly, with the finals in Dublin’s RDS. 8 songs take part in the 4 locations, 2 songs chosen from each semi final go through. The final has 10 songs the 8 finalist plus two wild card slots from… Read more »

Robin Tremmel
Robin Tremmel
7 years ago

Ireland was FOURTEENTH!!!!! in the telephone votes.

I stand by my comments.Ireland were robbed blind.Romania should have been 7th and Finland 20th…

Robin Tremmel
Robin Tremmel
7 years ago

Anouk was 9th favourite on the morning of the final in Malmö-I was in a bookies looking at her odds.SHe may have been a hot favourite down your way :)BTW It is illegal to place a bet in Sweden unless you live in the country-quite mad really

Robin Tremmel
Robin Tremmel
7 years ago

Penny- Romania got 23% of Italys telephone votes-in 1st place-was given 1 vote by Italy. One of the swedish judges works for Sony BMG-The same company as Norways singer has a contract for-Norway 12 pts from Sweden! Total number of points for Azerbaijan (2nd) from Sweden,Finland.Denmark and Norway-ZERO Points! Judges like Tony Blackburn (legendary anti-left DJ aged 70) and Tony Hand(also 70) are never going to vote for 2 girls kissing on stage (Finland.) We dont even know the telephone voting apart from Italys as the Eurovision commitee is desperate not to release the results-probably it will show a different… Read more »

Ian
Ian
7 years ago

I never rated the song from the moment I heard it – but that is only my opinion – and I certainly don’t knock people for liking it – we all have different taste. But whether it came last – third last – fifth last – does it really matter? Interestingly though the Irish song was in the top 10 in the Aussie vote – but that could well have a migrant skew. Jedward won the vote two years ago and were top 10 last year too. For me – the Irish song should have been Inchequin – it would… Read more »

Vlad
Vlad
7 years ago

I like the performance and the song. I truly believe it didn’t deserve to end last.

@Penny
What is “dance-ballad category”? There are dance tracks and ballads – and they are at the opposite ends.

David
David
7 years ago

Why won’t anyone at RTE realise Ireland’s only ever won with slow ballads?

Penny
Penny
7 years ago

It’s not a case of a fix. Ryan’s vocal performance was NEVER that strong, in the semi or the final. The song admittedly didn’t deserve to be in last place, but the jury rated it poorly and contrary to most of the odds, Belgium dominated the male dance-ballad category (Azerbaijan’s entry was not dance…). France did poorly because they were up first – simple as, although they did get 8 Points from San Marino – a sign of what could have been. Finland did poorly because much as I love Krista, her backing vocalists carried the song, her voice wasn’t… Read more »

Robin Tremmel
Robin Tremmel
7 years ago

Michaela-The whole thing was a fix this year.Ireland,France,Romania and Finland were robbed blind.The voting was a complete sham

The Swedes wanted Denmark to win.

Alex
Alex
7 years ago

Probably the jury killed it. I think voters were also a little tired after being saturated with lots of epic acts, many of them ballads, many of them favorites to win, near the end. The end of the show was truly stacked, and it was a little hard for Ryan to compare with the rest.

Lightningbryce
Lightningbryce
7 years ago

Well, Ireland did NOT finish last, for Heaven’s sake; there were 13 songs that never made the final. Besides, let’s face it, that heart thing is very last year.

HK Dick
HK Dick
7 years ago

Looking at the semi results Ireland got quite a few mid to lie range points which clearly disappeared when the other 16 countries were added. I was so surprised to see it last and ess totally unjustified. Perhaps Europe doesn’t like sexy male dancers after Anggun from France also failed last year with dancing make totty in stage. Eye candy for most of us was perhaps too distracting for others…

Anthony
Anthony
7 years ago

There were reports, mainly those from the Malmö press centre obviously, saying that Ryan Dolan’s jury performance the night before the big finale was, erm, messy vocally. So I think because Ryan messed up the jury performance big time, it proved very costly for the final result and those juries WILL penalise for off key moments.

Ireland clearly didn’t deserve to end up last this year. It’ll be interesting to see how Ireland managed to fare on the televoting section, once those split televoting and jury results are finally revealed.

Han Ess
Han Ess
7 years ago

I had a boner through out the performance lol. The song itself was OK. I don’t know why it rated so poorly.

Michaela
Michaela
7 years ago

Totally absurd! Ryan Dolan put on a fantastic performance at the finals, and “Only Love Survives” is a good song. The drum composition is especially incredible–better than “Teardrops”, imo.

Ireland was clearly robbed, this competition. The results for this year are just so fishy.