Jedward are shacked up in the Celebrity Big Brother House. Nicky Byrne is presiding over the Dancing With The Stars dancefloor. And as of Monday, Niamh Kavanagh is cooking up a storm in the Celebrity Masterchef kitchen.
Ireland might not be holding a televised national selection this year, but these dark January nights are proving to be an unexpected boon for all the nation’s reality junkies with a penchant for everything Eurovision.
The 1993 winner and 2010 finalist is just one of ten celebrities competing in the all-star version of the famous cooking game show. Her competition includes the early ‘00s pop megastar Samantha Mumba, Olympian Sonia O’Sullivan and Nadia Forde – the ex-I’m A Celebrity campmate who also wants to do Eurovision.
— MasterChef Ireland (@MasterChef_IRL) January 16, 2017
The celebrities were tasked with a variety of challenges, including plating up a dish inspired by their childhood and the palette and pressure test. Niamh impressed the judges just enough to secure her spot by the oven for at least one more week.
Model Holly Carpenter wasn’t so lucky, and became the first celebrity to leave the Masterchef kitchen
Based on this week’s show, the temperature is only going to rise for the flame-haired singer. However, she claims to have watched every episode of Masterchef, so maybe that will work to her advantage.
Celebrity Masterchef continues every Monday on TV3 at 10pm with catchup on 3player.
Ireland at Eurovision
While Ireland is well known for their dream run of four wins in five years in the mid 1990s (including Niamh’s 1993 victory), their recent Eurovision entries haven’t been as successful.
In the past decade, Jedward have given Ireland its best results, placing eighth in 2011 and 19th in 2012. Ireland has otherwise placed last in the grand final twice and failed to qualify for the final five times.
Most recently, broadcaster RTÉ took a break from their usual Eurosong national final and internally selected former Westlife singer Nicky Byrne. His upbeat song “Sunlight” wasn’t a hit with viewers, and placed only 15th in its semi-final.
Last month Irish broadcaster RTE revealed that music mogul Louis Walsh had handpicked former Hometown member Brendan Murray to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2017. His song has yet to be chosen, with Walsh publicly declaring his wish for Johnny Logan to write it. Logan won the contest as singer in 1980 with “What’s Another Year” and in 1987 with “Hold Me Now” — a song he wrote himself. In 1992 he penned Linda Martin’s winning number “Why Me”.