The rumours were true! Nicky Byrne will sing for Ireland at Eurovision 2016. The news was broken this morning by the country’s national broadcaster RTÉ. And the station isn’t doing things by half, they also premiered “Sunlight”, the song which he will take to Stockholm next May.

It’s a mid-tempo affair and marks a slight shift in direction from the big ballads Nicky would have sung as part of Westlife. The lyrics are anthemic, urging us to to “touch who you wanna” and “kiss who you gotta” – so Eurovision. Byrne’s husky vocals add a country-lite feel and remind us of Ronan Keating’s early solo material. The track is accompanied by a glossy lyric video, which hints at some high-end production that could hopefully transfer to the Globen stage.

“Sunlight” is co-written by Byrne, Wayne Hector and Ronan Hardiman.

Nicky Byrne Eurovision entry

Today’s confirmation brings to an end months of speculation regarding Ireland’s Eurovision plans. We first suspected an internal selection back in October, when the usual Eurosong announcement failed to take place. The Nicky Byrne rumours began this day last week, while he added fuel to the flames over the weekend with a teaser filled interview.

“Sunlight” — Our first impression

Who is Nicky Byrne?

Nicky Byrne Ireland Eurovision 2016

Nicky Byrne was one fifth (latterly one quarter) of Westlife, Ireland’s most successful boyband. Over a period of 14 years they sold more than 20 million records in the United Kingdom alone. The group were extremely popular all over Europe and Australia. Since the band split in 2012, Byrne has focussed on developing a media career. He co-presents a daily radio show on RTÉ 2FM and has hosted numerous entertainment programmes on RTÉ television. Eurovision is his first venture into music as a solo artist. He is currently working on a debut album, provisionally titled Kissing In Car Parks. Outside of showbiz he is also known as the son-in-law of Bertie Ahern, a former Irish prime minister, and brother-in-law of Cecelia Ahern, the best selling author.

Internal Selection for Ireland

Nicky Byrne Eurovision Ireland 2016
Byrne-ing bright!

Internal selections aren’t new for Ireland. They most recently went down this route with Brian Kennedy and Dervish in 2006 and 2007. However, on those occasions the public chose the song. This year will be the first time in Ireland’s 51 year Eurovision history that both the artist and song are chosen behind closed doors. Such an approach has provided mixed results for other countries — the UK constantly struggles, whereas Austria stormed to victory in 2014. How Ireland will fare remains to be seen. Despite holding the record for the most wins, the Emerald Isle has only finished in the top ten twice in the past decade. They last qualified for the grand final in 2013.

What do you think? Have Nicky Byrne and “Sunlight” got what it takes to bring Ireland back to the final? Could he even make it onto the left-hand side of the scoreboard? Let us know below.

Read the lyrics:

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dredd
dredd
4 years ago

heart-break is very common i still can not believe that there are people out there dying of heart-break or scammed by other spell casters, i contacted so many spell caster but non could help me bring my ex husband back until i contacted John and explained my situation to him and then seek his help but to my greatest surprise he told me that he will help me with my case and here i am now celebrating because my Husband has change totally for good. He always want to be by my side and can not do anything to hurt… Read more »

CookyMonzta
CookyMonzta
4 years ago

@mawnck: Wiki mentions Simon’s maneuvering. Not the kind of thing I want to see when a group/band is just starting.

Be that as it may, I would rather that Markus Feehily were their choice. But there were others I wanted to see represent Ireland.

Leon
Leon
4 years ago

OMG- what a waste of time. Am I the only who think, this sounds a lot generic?

fikri
fikri
4 years ago

i can’t anything wrong with it. i really enjoy this. i have to admit i was skeptical at first when all the rumors about him representing ireland, but he proved me wrong!

Brian
Brian
4 years ago

I love the guy… but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write a winning song. You can still do it. It’s still early stage. This is going nowhere, but of course they will just think this is a fan’s opinion, a hater… it’s not. I actually want Ireland to do good at the Eurovision. CHANGE THE SONG and the PRODUCTION. This song is not going to be voted by either jury members nor televoting, HE HAS POTENTIAL THOUGH

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

I’m not sure how I feel about this track yet. The lyrics are generic but the music isn’t bad… gonna wait until I listen with headphones to pass total judgment.

However, this could probably use a remix, not gonna lie. Get a really good DJ on this to give it the atmosphere it’s begging for – I’m thinking Armin van Buuren (“This Is What It Feels Like,” anyone?)

AzerBoy96
AzerBoy96
4 years ago

This is not a bad song, I think. But I found their previous attempt (2015) way better than this. About qualification it will depend on the live performance of Nick, for now it’s impossible to say will it qualify or not.

Good luck, Ireland! You’ll need it! 🙂

1. Albania 8/12
2. Ireland 6/12

WTF
WTF
4 years ago

Generic pop crap that has absolutely no business being anywhere near the final… Well done, Ireland…

Ron
Ron
4 years ago

I suspect that two non qualifications in a row following a last place in 2013 was a big factor in all this, Robyn. They simply couldn’t risk three non qualifiers in a row by going with yet another unknown amateur via Eurosong.

I’m not at all convinced they won’t return straight back to a national final next year though. I’d be very surprised if we saw several internal selections in a row.

Robyn Gallagher
Admin
4 years ago

Really, the best thing that’s come out of all of this is Ireland scrapping Eurosong. Apart from the Jedward years, it always felt like RTÉ had taken the resources needed to produce one great Eurovision entry and split it five ways, resulting in five average songs. There were some good songs, some good singers, some good staging, but never all three at once. I’m hoping Ireland will be able to do better by focusing the budget in one solid direction.

Foxreyna
Foxreyna
4 years ago

The failed version of Nadev 2.0. Still my favorite so far, but will immediately get bumped out if Jamie Lee or Valeriya wins their national finals

Freyah
Freyah
4 years ago

I like it. Hell no will they win, but this should get Ireland to the final.

Österrike
Österrike
4 years ago

I like Nicky Byrne, but his song sounds just like a mashup of their entries of 2013 and 2014.

Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Dublin,Ireland

Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Winner Ireland in Stockholm and
Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Dublin,Ireland !!!

LL
LL
4 years ago

This is potentially a winner, the song has something BUT they REALLY do have to make a stronger production. Let some swede’s re-produce it and they can actually take this. Westlife has a LOT of fans. They were like the One Direction’s in late 90’s early 00’s. Interesting that Wayne Hector is one of the writer’s. He has written songs for One Direction and more.

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

“He wouldn’t have been apart of Westlife if he was a bad singer, right?”

Can’t tell if sarcasm …

If it’s not, then you REALLY need to develop some healthy cynicism if you’re going to survive in this world. Most members of famous boybands were selected for their looks, not their singing. The computers and session vocalists do most of their singing for them. (Three of Westlife’s original members were fired by Simon Cowell before he would sign the group, because they were too ugly. Nicky was one of the replacements. Go ahead – look it up for yourself.)

Rock Me
Rock Me
4 years ago

I’m not disappointed but I find it completely “average”.Nothing special but nothing bad.It’s a catchy tune that really reminds me of Heroes (maybe even too much).To sum up, Ireland should’ve made a better choice in terms of the song.Something a bit darker and more original, I would say.

Ron
Ron
4 years ago

With the announcement and song revelation being so early too, perhaps Nicky can do a few TV appearances around Europe. There’s plenty of time for TV companies to book him.

Marko
Marko
4 years ago

At least the most SUCCESSFUL eurovision country is taking the contest seriously again.

Darren
Darren
4 years ago

I almost forgot…..NO MORE JOHNNY JACKET!!! Im pretty sure that is one positive we can all take away from this announcement, regardless of it you think it was the right decision or not

Darren
Darren
4 years ago

Nicky is a wise choice for RTE considering what they have usually delivered for us, the song is a bit dated, it reminds me of something an old 80s pop icon would return with 😛 But in fairness, worse songs have done well at Eurovision so heres hoping this can at least qualify for the final. Its been so tough to watch the last two finals without Ireland there. Eurovision without Ireland feels strange. I read an article in todays Irish Independent about Nicky’s participation and it was revealed that he isnt being paid to go to Stockholm, he wants… Read more »

Iberian
Iberian
4 years ago

Kind of a boring song, innit? But he’s very, very attractive.

Ciara
Ciara
4 years ago

I’m actually really happy with this. Nicky Byrne is a good singer in my opinion. He has all the experience. He wouldn’t have been apart of Westlife if he was a bad singer, right? Anyway, it’s memorable and I really like it. So come on Ireland, left side of the scoreboard hopefully 🙂

Nikos
Nikos
4 years ago

Better than recent Irish entries for sure but agree with many comments here. I like the verses but the choruses are very cliche, long, forgettable. As long as vocals are good live this will likely make the final but I see this staying on the right side of the scoreboard.

MTD
MTD
4 years ago

This is the kind of song that goes unnoticed even on a radio airplay. Like, “please listen to this song while we are preparing the news section”. OOOOK.

Yes, it sounds Scandinavian, but these kind of songs dropped below the 5th place on their NFs and didn’t even made it to their Finals.

I doubt that I will pick up my phone and vote for it, no matter how good it will look on stage. And I doubt many others will do the same, but considering the general lack of quality in other’s countries songs, it may go through.

ct greece
ct greece
4 years ago

It reminds me of Blue as well. Generic pop sound, nothing to make anyone too excited. May qualify only if he is good live.

mawnck
mawnck
4 years ago

Random observations:

(1) Hey Eurovision fans … YOU’RE BEING PANDERED TO.

(2) It sounds to me like a deliberate attempt to rewrite “Heroes”. I bet the LED wall animation was completed before the song was.

(3) If he can’t hack it live, all of this is for naught. He’s certainly getting laughable amounts of electronic help on the studio version.

(4) No “Late Late Show”? Now where will we go for our two unbearable hours of people singing “Hold Me Now” with nostalgic tears in their eyes?

Stephen
Stephen
4 years ago

How on earth are people saying Albania’s song is better, are you deaf, it sounds like she is shrieking. This is a good solid song, not a winner but should get Ireland a decent result if staged right, possibly mid table or top ten. Honestly, if you rate Albania’s song higher you need your ears checked.

sarah
sarah
4 years ago

well the uk will obviously give ireland 12 points hahaha

EUROFAN MEXICO
4 years ago

FOR ME IS A GOOD SONG NOT A WINNER BUT FANTASTIC ENTRY I LOVE WESTLIFE STYLE

cheesecake
cheesecake
4 years ago

This is good, but a bit mediocre imo. I could either love or hate this after listening to it more times lol. However I do agree that this will appeal to the viewers, but I wouldn’t be too sure about him qualifying.
I’m also surprised about RTE’s decision since he hasn’t released anything at all as a solo artist.
Btw, Albania’s song is far better.

Rita
Rita
4 years ago

It’s not bad at all! I think Albania’s song is still better (as it is right now) but this isn’t bad. Not great but not bad type of song.

Denis
Denis
4 years ago

Sounds like something Måns Zelmerlöv could have had on his album, very Scandinavian which 8is sure to fit the arena well.

Good choice. Right now probably 7/10. A bit to safe perhaps but still good.

BlandZebra
BlandZebra
4 years ago

Very pleasantly surprised. Very strong 7/10 and should cruise into the final.

Nicky1991
Nicky1991
4 years ago

I know him not only from Westlife, but he also competed at Strictly come dancing.

and from one Nicky to another, Good Luck Ireland

i’m loving this already, my favourites countries are all back, Croatia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Macedonia has my favourite entry from them again, Kaliopi

Marko
Marko
4 years ago

Only heard it once and I was humming the chorus – good entry from Ireland this year with a solid team behind it. If the performance is up to scratch it should reach the final with ease. After that….. Who knows?

Ohi
Ohi
4 years ago

7/10

MirkoJoshua
MirkoJoshua
4 years ago

Hear*

MirkoJoshua
MirkoJoshua
4 years ago

That’s not something we’re used to here at Eurovision, this could really have a chance of winning. It’s unique and diverse and that’s a huge advantage

Jake
Jake
4 years ago

This is a solid solid entry. RTE done well to go this route. At least they will have a professional on stage and that is half the battle. Last couple years, lack of experience really did them in. Sure it seems like an average song from Melfest, but most of those would win most national finals. As long as the staging is not filled with Irish cliches this feels like a qualifier. If it’s not then we are in for a very strong year. I’m sure “love who you want to” will go down epic in the hall. And I’m… Read more »

Ron
Ron
4 years ago

So the rumours were right all along then! Looks like there was a genuine leak of the name against RTE’s wishes : they presumably would have liked to announce this straight out of the blue and as a surprise.

I can live with this as an entry though. Sounds very Scandinavian and should come across pretty well inside the Globen Arena.

Charles
Charles
4 years ago

The song itself does not bother me that much … it’s not extremely amazing far from that but it’s just an average pop song that kinda fits with today’s sounds … The problem for me is far more concerning that … the problem is the performer … I find it absolutely appalling that RTE just decided to send the least talented member of Westlife to represent Ireland considering that he is the only one who just never did anything music-oriented after the band split in 2012 … With the talents of both Shane and Mark … Nick? Really? Are you… Read more »

Omar - Mexico
Omar - Mexico
4 years ago

Stop the hate, this is good.

bartosz
bartosz
4 years ago

Quite weak song from Ireland this year. There’s lacking something in it – it seems to be flat and mediocre. Albania’s song is much better than this.

Andrew England
Andrew England
4 years ago

I gotta say I actually like ‘Sunlight’ it is so much better than the horrendous ‘Playing With Numbers’ fro. That’s year. Neither of the two entry’s picked so far really have any chance of winning the contest tho.

My top 2 so far are,,,

1st. Ireland
2nd. Albania

Yudhistira Mahasena
4 years ago

Reminds me too much of 1D :v But my winner so far and thus should go to the final!

Hippo
Hippo
4 years ago

This isn’t a bad song at all, it just isn’t special or memorable enough. Will need to rely heavily on televoting rather than the juries though.The way things are looking I think it will qualify from the Semi final, but get completely forgotten in the final and finish bottom 6.

mocosuburbian
mocosuburbian
4 years ago

This is something I would hear in a Walmart
That’s not a good thing at all
Përallë still towers over this imo

Kinetsie
Kinetsie
4 years ago

RTE’s apathy toward this contest truly knows no bounds. This bland, forgettable rubbish won’t make it past the semis. It’s a crying shame that we’re saddled with a national broadcaster in Ireland that couldn’t give less of a f*ck about Eurovision. It’s time the mantle was passed to TV3; at least they might give us a decent national final, instead of sending one of their own employees whose sole claim to musical fame is standing in the background miming during Westlife gigs.

ESC Lover Official
ESC Lover Official
4 years ago

Why so many hate? I LOVE SONGS LIKE THIS AT EURO!
My top 2:
1.Ireland
2.Albania (LOVE this to )