Second Runner-Up: Ireland’s Nicky Byrne

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

Irish Independent

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.

The Irish Times

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”.

The Guardian

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.

BBC

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.

The Huffington Post

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.

SVT

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.

Celebrity Well-wishers

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.

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.

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Ron
Guest
Ron

2016 should see an improvement Anis, first time since 2011 that outside producers are choreographing and staging the act..

Anis
Guest
Anis

The problem with the Irish entries are the staging…2013 and 2014 were two great songs but the staging was SO bad…especially 2014…

Ron
Guest
Ron

@mocosuburbian, Byrne will be using outside producers for the staging ie. Tim Byrne of Syco Music and TV producer Lee Lodge.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

One thing I’ve learned from Nicky Byrne’s recent interviews: he talks as much as Jedward. Interviewers constantly have to keep butting in and cutting him off because he won’t shut up. But – like Jedward – he is understandably exciting about doing Eurovision.

DR
Guest
DR

I have the feeling it will be like Blue. Good-ish pop song by a reputable artist after a string of bad results and people predicting a good result, then heading mid table or worse. I hope Ireland do well, but my Celtic (Scottish) roots want it, not my opinion musically.

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

*into the finals
my point still stands
it’s formulaic af

mocosuburbian
Guest
mocosuburbian

it’s not going out of the finals guys
it’s just not
not while RTE is overseeing the staging

Ben Rafter
Guest
Ben Rafter

Deserves to do well.

Cathal
Guest
Cathal

I don’t get how this is a copy of Heroes, people are essentially saying its a copy because Nicky has a penis…

Ron
Guest
Ron

It sounds like a typical Ronan Keating song to me, Heroes was more along the lines of David Guetta.

Steven
Guest
Steven

I don’t see the similarities at all besides the lyric font choice. They are a different pace and sound like….

Ron
Guest
Ron

@Roelof, Sunlight was written in 2014 so isn’t a copy of Heroes but the entrant and concept itself may be influenced somewhat by it.

Roelof Meesters
Guest
Roelof Meesters

I have a de-ja vu (or how you spell it). In 2012 songs where copied of the Swedish winner (Germany 2013, Estonia 2014) and now copies from The Swedish winner (Ireland 2016) are strating to come. I like this song, though.

Iberian
Guest
Iberian

I’ve changed my mind. It’s quite a nice tune, actually, I’ve been listening to it a couple of times and it grew on me. And what a hunk he is (wonderful teeth).

Hugh
Guest
Hugh

I love Ireland’s “The Eurovision” thing.

I don’t love the song; the chorus is OK but the rest is just mindless drivel, and not particularly good at being mindless drivel… it uses words that people with limited English should be able to understand, which is smart but honestly I have been trying and trying to understand the story of the song, and it’s impossible; there’s genuinely no coherence to the lyrics. With that said, he should bring a good, fun show to Stockholm, and that’s always welcome.

steve
Guest
steve

prediction- will make it out of the semis- mid table in final