Second Runner-Up: Ireland’s Nicky Byrne

Is Nicky Byrne set to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2016? It may be only a rumour, but the ex-Westlife singer is doing nothing to quash the gossip. In fact, he’s just added further fuel to the flames by saying that he would grasp the opportunity to sing in Stockholm with both hands.

Ever since talk of his potential participation began on Wednesday night, fans have been coming up with a variety of reasons as to why Byrne can’t be the Irish representative. Speaking to The Irish Sun, he tackled these issues head on. Here’s what he had to say.

Vocals

Nicky is currently the only member of Westlife not to release any solo material. And even during his time in the band he was never to the fore when it came to vocals. Commentators were quick to point this out. Byrne says he understands the concern, but argues that it’s misplaced.

I absolutely get people on Twitter saying, ‘He was a backing vocalist’ — but in Westlife Shane and Mark were the producers’ favourites. This might be a surprise to some people but it wouldn’t be a surprise to me. That’s why it would be more exciting for me to go (to Eurovision). I knew going into Westlife I was a decent singer. You have to believe in your own ability.

Reputation

For the last three years, Ireland has sent relative unknowns to the contest. Not since Jedward in 2012 has the country sent an act with a national profile, let alone an international one. A big name isn’t a guarantee of Eurovision success, but it definitely doesn’t do any harm. Byrne certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of notoriety (the buzz has even reached Sweden) and he knows it.

In Europe they would know it was one of Westlife doing it and they would know it was that guy, the blonde one. I was part of a very successful boyband that toured the world. You would be halfway up the ladder in terms of people knowing you. That’s not necessarily going to make you do well in the show, but if you get a song on top of that, you might do well.

Attitude

Many treat Eurovision with a degree of condescension. And even baulk at the mere idea that they might be associated with the event — Alexandra Burke, Paloma Faith, Kylie Minogue to name a few. Not so with Nicky.

People talk about Eurovision like it’s a step down. It’s not 100 per cent I’m doing it — but if offered it, I would grasp it with both hands.

And he’d relish the chance to represent his country on an international stage.

If that opportunity arose for me, I would love it because I am very patriotic. If I didn’t feel I had a song that would be decent, you wouldn’t consider it — but I would represent my country in tiddlywinks if I got the opportunity.

The Song

Byrne is currently adding the finishing touches to his debut solo album, Kissing In Car Parks. The record is due to be released later this year and contains tracks written by Wayne Hector, the man who wrote two of Westlife’s biggest hits — “Flying Without Wings” and “Swear It Again”. Nicky is confident that it contains a Eurovision worthy track.

I’ve been working on this solo record for the past three years. So to link the Eurovision to it, when I considered that, I thought, ‘Wow, incredible.’ I suppose if I didn’t feel I had a song that would be decent, I wouldn’t consider anything like that. I have loads of songs, certainly. The Eurovision Song Contest is a song contest and I’ve co-written an album.

Official Announcement

While Nicky Byrne is clearly happy to speak openly about the rumours, they’re still rumours. Neither he nor RTÉ are confirming the news. So far the official line from the Irish public broadcaster is that “RTÉ will be making an announcement regarding our selection process later this month”. However, that hasn’t stopped the entertainment arm of the network hopping on the Byrne bandwagon and speculating with the rest of us.

What do y’all make of it? Is the selection of Nicky Byrne a foregone conclusion? Or are we simply caught up in a whirlwind of hype, generated by a number of self-interested parties? Let us know below.

FOLLOW ALL OF OUR IRELAND EUROVISION NEWS HERE.

Photo: BBC

18 Comments
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Huh
Huh
5 years ago

Still not confident about him participating for Ireland. He could just make another solo album in his hometown so as to redeem the music career and the fans he want to have, and at least he would be respected more from it. Also, UK and Ireland seems to have this current habit of covering and giving past singers (esp from bands) a rebirth of their singing career like what was shown in reunion shows (eg Steps, Blue, etc). Seems that it doesn’t work in Eurovision since 2011 and their local broadcasters should at least be aware of it.

Ron
Ron
5 years ago

@ESC84, Nicky is 38 later this year and there’s not a chance he’s going to launch a successful solo career off the back of being formerly in a boyband, especially as he did very little singing in the group. He’s a TV presenter and radio DJ these days and that was the right direction for him to go.

In any event, I have a feeling the Byrne for Eurovision rumours are bogus.

Deven O'Kearney
Deven O'Kearney
5 years ago

I think he definitely has the right attitude to Eurovision. ??

Charles
Charles
5 years ago

Mark or Shane .. all the way hell yeah!
Nick? … Lord … Hell no!
We need really great singers not .. “decent” ones who felt the need to “command” the band to compensate lack of … “great” vocals.

ESC84
ESC84
5 years ago

I think it is unfair to say Nicky has little music talent. He sang for almost 20 yrs, even though he is not the lead singer, that experience must give him a clue how to perform well. After all, famous singer like hozier and the Script is too busy making money in the US. Unlike Eastern Europe, based on what Ireland and the UK’ s history, they will never send someone very famous to participate Eurovision. So why don’ t RTE give a chance to Nicky Byrne. In apperance, he might be the only one that can compete with Sergey… Read more »

R
R
5 years ago

I love Nicky with all my heart but he’s not going to win if Ireland picks him. Sorry, Nicky. It’s either all four of Westlife or none. (Who counts that backstabber Brian McFadden anyways…)

Ron
Ron
5 years ago

Actually that’s an interesting theory Robyn and very plausible. RTE ‘flying a kite’ by putting his name out there and even allowing him to give interviews and then trying to gauge public reaction. If true, it would be a very different way of going about things.

Personally I would be against it. The guy is 37 and has never released anything as a soloist and his lack of a music career seems quite telling. It hardly appears an inspired choice for an internal selection.

Brian
Brian
5 years ago

It’s pretty obvious he’s not the one, cause RTE would not let him talk so openly about it all till they first announce it on their channel, website etc. So I’d rule him out.

Ron
Ron
5 years ago

This doesn’t make any sense. RTE are always extremely secretive about their national finals and their internal selections and have strict news embargos in place before there is any announcement. I find it hard to believe they would let the name of their internally selected act leak or that they would allow him to be giving interviews about Eurovision to the press long before there is an official announcement.

Byrne doesn’t seem to have signed any contract with RTE yet judging from his own comments which makes me think this whole thing is a red herring.

Aaron
Aaron
5 years ago

I dont know I mean I know people say we should have people like the script etc…
But lets be honest their careers are keeping them on an international level they are not going to do it so why people keep hoping for them is beyond me.

In regards to any selection I tend to wait until I hear their song before forming my full opinion

mad-professor
mad-professor
5 years ago

He pretty much confirms that he’s in the running multiple times there…

D
D
5 years ago

Him being selected would be a nightmare.

Amerivision
Amerivision
5 years ago

I know this is very far fetched but maybe it’s a Westlife reunion like Blue in 2011. I know it’s highly doubtful with Markus recently releasing solo material, Kian on The Voice, and Shane… meh (always felt his voice is a little overrated). But the teenager in me hopes for a one-off reunion. Bonus if Brian joins them. They’ll get the Aussie vote for sure.

But like I said in a previous comment, if Nicky is indeed selected, hopefully it’s something slightly different from the usual WL stuff. More midtempo stuff and less usual ballad.

jr esc nl
jr esc nl
5 years ago

Hippo
the article states they will be ”somehow present in stockholm” that doesn’t necessarily have to be participation which is very unlikely.

Hippo
Hippo
5 years ago

Looks pretty certain now. I’m not holding my breath for anything special.

On another topic, seen strange rumours recently that Turkey will participate on another site. Would be very surprising but but it would be wierd to risk the sites reputation for nothing so maybe there is something in it?

esc1234
esc1234
5 years ago

I mean he almost said it….

Ben Rafter
Ben Rafter
5 years ago

Well idc who gets picked as long as the song is half decent.

Andrew England
Andrew England
5 years ago

I don’t think Nicky is the right option for Ireland this year. Ireland has so much talent to pick from. I would to see singers like…

Melanie McCabe
Hometown
The Script
Hozier
Nadine Coyle
Mary Byrne
Ryan O’Shaugnesy
Nikki Kavanagh

Represent Ireland this year.

I know Nicky has the fan base but he can’t sing live like these 8 artist can.