Nicky Byrne will sing “Sunlight” for Ireland at Eurovision 2016. After a week of rumours, RTÉ officially confirmed the ex-Westlife star’s participation on Wednesday. The internal selection is a move away from the Eurosong process of recent years, and it’s the first time ever that Ireland has chosen both its performer and song behind closed doors. While the Irish are often to quick to poo poo the contest, their seven victories mean that everyone has an opinion. Its reputation also results in an increased interest from other countries. We’ve already shared our initial thoughts on the entry, but what does the mainstream media think?
Nicky Byrne “Sunlight” – Our reaction
The country’s biggest-selling newspaper was mostly positive.
Nicky Byrne’s up-tempo single “Sunlight” is certainly the most credible Eurovision entry we’ve had in years. I mean, who can forget Donna and Joe or Dustin the Turkey – and, let’s face it, we’ve tried. You might say “Sunlight” offers a ray of hope. It’s tightly packaged pop: polished, upbeat and filled with lots of meaningful sentiments. OK, it’s not exactly Lennon and McCartney, but Eurovision songs aren’t known for their lyrical qualities.
However, the paper did warn that “Sunlight” was a “bit too similar to last year’s winning entry” and that this could prove to be a disadvantage.
Ireland’s number one “quality” broadsheet was less enthusiastic. Under the headline “Nicky Byrne hopes to end dismal Irish Eurovision run”, they included the subheading “Expectations low as ex-Westlife man steps up with ‘radio-friendly’ pop song ‘Sunlight’”. On a slightly brighter note, they branded the entry “irritatingly catchy”.
While delivering a mixed-to-positive verdict of “Sunlight”, the British newspaper argued that the UK needs to select a “proper pop star too”.
It’s a catchy, up-tempo pop-rock confection that at least rocks a little harder than the soporific ballads on which his former group made their name. Assuming his years of stage experience translate to a confident live show, it should be enough to bring Ireland back into the finals, though it lacks the uplifting spark of recent winners.
The broadcaster’s youth orientated Newsbeat described Byrne’s decision to enter Eurovision as “significant”. But they questioned whether the “strong, catchy pop song” would be enough to beat the likes of Sweden and Russia.
We’ll let you decide whether the British edition of the online news outlet was being cynical or simply over excited.
Guitar-pop sound? Check. Cheesy beat? Tick. Even cheesier lyrics? He could win this, you know.
As with the Irish media, this year’s host broadcaster was quick to highlight Ireland’s recent spate of poor results. The Emerald Isle currently holds the record for most Eurovision wins but the Swedes are catching up and need just one more victory to match them.
Whatever about the media, Nicky certainly wasn’t short of support from his showbiz pals. Numerous stars from the world of Eurovision and further afield sent their congratulations.
Received a brilliant Supportive text from none other than Irish Legend Johnny Logan today, about me in @Eurovision 2016 in Sweden. ????????????
— Nicky Byrne (@NickyByrne) January 14, 2016
— Ryan Dolan (@ryandolanmusic) January 13, 2016
— Paul Harrington (@paulharro) January 13, 2016
— Can-linn (@can_linn) January 13, 2016
— Tamar Kaprelian (@TamarKaprelian) January 14, 2016
— Dustin The Turkey (@DustinOfficial) January 13, 2016
Good luck to my old friend @NickyByrne as he represents Ireland in the Eurovision.
— Ronan Keating (@ronanofficial) January 13, 2016
Irelande douze points!! ???????????? best of luck bud.. Give it socks!! https://t.co/OTO0bgfkn9
— Shane Filan (@ShaneFilan) January 13, 2016
— MarkusFeehily (@MarkusFeehily) January 13, 2016
— Kian Egan (@KianEganWL) January 13, 2016
Whoop whoop!!! ???????????????????? https://t.co/2yw6eM2zeo
— Cecelia Ahern (@Cecelia_Ahern) January 13, 2016
What do y’all think of Nicky Byrne and “Sunlight”? It’s currently winning our “Who’s your favourite Eurovision 2016 act so far?” poll. Could it win in Stockholm? Let us know below.