celine dion iftas 2016 pat kenny

Don’t let it be said that Céline Dion doesn’t appreciate her Eurovision past.

Switzerland’s last Eurovision winner may have gone on to bigger and better things since her victory, but the contest still holds a special place in the Canadian’s heart, a fact which we were reminded of at Ireland’s IFTA TV awards on Friday night.

The country’s biggest small screen stars descended on Dublin’s swanky DoubleTree Hotel for the annual gala, which saw the likes of Mrs Brown and Daniel O’Donnell scoop up gongs.

But the “Ne partez pas sans moi” singer was only interested in one category — the Lifetime Achievement award.

This year’s prize was bestowed on the broadcaster Pat Kenny, a man best known for his work in current affairs and fronting The Late Late Show.

However, back in the day, he was also a dab hand at presenting light entertainment shows, including a certain song contest.

Kenny co-hosted Eurovision with Michelle Rocca in 1988, the year Céline secured her famous victory for Switzerland.

And he clearly left quite an impression on her, as she recorded a special message for the video package played before his acceptance speech.

In the greeting, the Titanic warbler spoke of her fond memories of the song contest (and Pat). The full message will be broadcast during TV3’s coverage of the event on Sunday night.

Céline Dion and Eurovision

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Céline’s gotten nostalgic for Eurovision. In 2013, we saw her tell Jonathan Ross an amusing story about her husband René Angélil’s attitude towards her participation.

I felt like a horse. And let me elaborate on that. You can bet on the artist that you want the country to win. So my husband, who is a gambler, [Céline raises an eyebrow] bet on me. A lot of money, and I felt like I was a horse and I needed to race. I really needed to win that race. Did you see me? I was like this [Céline impersonates a jockey riding a horse]. I looked like a horse and I felt like a horse.

Sadly, René lost a long battle with cancer earlier this year. Tragically, Céline’s brother Daniel also died from the disease just days later.

After a period of mourning, the global superstar rallied, releasing a cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”. The chart-topping “Encore Un Soir” followed later in the summer, earning her a nomination for Francophone Female Artist of the Year at France’s NRJ Music Awards.

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Mikko Suhonen
7 years ago

It was backstage in Dublin in 1988 that Réné actually revealed his love for her. So the ESC must really have a special place in her heart.

7 years ago

EBU should invite her to perform on Eurovision stage. Now that would be HUGE.

7 years ago

I love when Celine mentions her Eurovision win, and I’m glad she has fond memories. It was nice of her to take the time to record this message, and I can’t wait to see the video – please upload it tomorrow night! 🙂

Pat Kenny has stronger links to the Eurovision than just presenting it in 1988 – he was the Irish commentator throughout the 1990s, I believe , and of course he hosted a those somewhat dubious Late Late Eurosong competitions. Congratulations to him.

P.S. Wasn’t he the commentator that referred to Dana International as “he,she or it”?

7 years ago

Poland should send Edyta Górniak and Swiss Celine Dion. Two divas on one stage, one night will be amazing.

7 years ago

The Queen of Eurovision (the real one hahaha)

It would be great if one day Celine returned to the ESC and performed as an interval act.
2018 seems like a perfect year since it marks 30th anniversary of her glorious victory.

7 years ago

This is so nice to see!