He’s the music mogul known for launching the likes of Westlife, Boyzone and Jedward.

And now X Factor judge Louis Walsh is turning his seasoned ear to Ireland’s Eurovision 2017 act Brendan Murray, who he handpicked for Eurovision 2017.

What did he see in the ex-Hometown singer?

“It’s not what I saw — it’s what I heard,” Louis told wiwiblogger William this morning in Kyiv. “I heard the voice — this amazing, incredible, beautiful voice. It’s a very unusual voice and it’s very distinctive. Brendan has an amazing career because he can really sing.”

Brendan may be a star on the rise, but his feet are planted firmly on the ground.

“He’s been with two or three producers in studio and they tell me he’s a producer’s dream,” Louis says. “It’s all about the vocal with him.”

“He’s a very nice, down-to-earth guy. He’s not in the fame game. He just wants to sing music. There’s nothing fake bout him. He’s totally real.”

Louis is on his eighth Eurovision, having previously worked with winners Johnny Logan and Linda Martin, and Jedward. The toughest task he faced this year was choosing from a strong pool of submissions.

“I had a lot of great songs. And I knew I had the right singer. I just hoped I could pick the right song because we had some really good songs a lot of great songs from a lot of great people.”

Choosing the perfect song is more of an art than a science, but Louis did have a few key ingredients in his formula.

“I wanted a song with a key change because it always gets you at home. It always stands out. Everyone else is singing and dancing — some dancing with a monkey, with all these silly disco dancers. I want it to be all about the voice and the song.”

Will Brendan qualify from tonight’s semi-final?

“I think he should. If it’s a talent show, he’s got the talent.”

Louis stressed that he wanted to keep Brendan’s performance pure, avoiding ostentatious staging and outré gimmicks.

“There’s no dancing dogs, there’s no gorillas, there’s no silly girls with nothing on — it’s all about the voice and the song. It’s a song contest. We have the right song and definitely have the right singer.”

Louis has an eye for talent, but even he struggled to pick all of the qualifiers from the first semi-final, saying that he was backing Georgia’s Tamara Gachechiladze and Finland’s Norma John.

And who is his personal favourite?

“I think the Portuguese guy is great,” he says. “There are no gimmicks. It’s just him and he’s unusual and he sings the song differently.”

Read more Ireland Eurovision news

52 Comments
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Damian
Damian
3 years ago

HAHAHAHA Louis Walsh, you cocky prick! Your crappy song and singer are out of the final!!! So maybe it wasn’t good to laugh at other contestants when your entry is generic song about love with cheap lyrics sung by sugary sweet guy who inhaled some helium from that hilarious balloon!!!!
That silly Italian monkey is gonna win and your helium twink is out of the final, Louis!!!! ahahahahhahahahha

Charli Cheer Up
Charli Cheer Up
3 years ago

Ireland missed out again. I honestly thought that they would finally qualify this year. I think they probably just missed out by a small margin. I would’ve swapped Croatia for their spot.

fikri
fikri
3 years ago

next year ireland should send a singer in a burqa.

AngieP
AngieP
3 years ago

For me Eurovision should be diverse! Different genres, different artists, different approach to the contest. We should let everyone shine!

However, it’s true that we have put aside the voice recently! And a song contest needs a good voice, cause the voice is the main element!

Charles
Charles
3 years ago

For once Louis said something I can agree with … a) Norma John b) Salvador Sobral c) focusing on what we “HEAR” and not on what we “SEE” even if we’re watching TV show our hearing senses need to be heightened way above the visual dimension. It’s a song contest and NOT Project Runway or the next big Gay Pride Show … The shade thrown at the gorilla was so on point … the fan obsession for visual gimmicks and stage circus can easily ruin the quality of a great song in a competition like this … because listening to… Read more »

Bree
Bree
3 years ago

Louis is completely clueless and in this interview he is only serving to put Brendan in a bad light – its completely unfair to his act, especially as Brendan loves this year’s acts and has been nothing but kind, positive and friendly in interviews. Louis has spent too long on X Factor being mouthy and doing whatever he can to diss anyone who threatens his acts on the show.

Jim byrne
Jim byrne
3 years ago

If people don’t understand the balloon significance in the Irish song
Well they are as stupid as the people who vote for rubbish eastern block songs stuck in the 1980s and think that’s cool in 2017
Perhaps because in Armenia the ghetto blaster is still for sale !

Jane rice
Jane rice
3 years ago

Ireland will qualify
Only song will proper lyrics
The rest are garbage
Louis is right

Alex
Alex
3 years ago

It happens that I am a fan of both entries. The UK is my favorite, followed by Italy and Ireland, and I am willing for Francesco to get the trophy. I adore ‘I’m Dying to Try’, but Louis was so wrong to speak like this. ‘Occidentali’s Karma’ is better than the irish entry in every sense. Ireland does not deserve much more than a final, and a barely top 10 finish at best, while Francesco anbsolutely deserves the winner’s award. I can understand Louis being jealous of the Italian success, and the gimmicks from the Italian entry can be subject… Read more »

p
p
3 years ago

‘All about the voice’? This must be a joke. There is literally a giant hot air balloon on stage which is pretty distracting. Louis Walsh is either ignorant or blind.

Education Sentimentale
Education Sentimentale
3 years ago
Reply to  p

… or just an arrogant hyocrite.

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
3 years ago

I don’t Louis or his brand of music (apart from Boyzone and JL, I detest the twins), wasn’t pleased when I heard he was involved this year. I don’t want to be unfair to Brendan however, but I find his entry dull. I’d like to see Ireland be more creative in the future

wfa
wfa
3 years ago

That’s the UK and Ireland way of looking at the Eurovision, saying that it is a political contest, or that ‘true music’ isn’t appreciated and it’s all about gimmicks. Truth is that they send in rubbish songs (apart from Lucie Jones to some extent)

Jane rice
Jane rice
3 years ago
Reply to  wfa

Don’t be rude
The music from the eastern block never makes it into the uk Irish charts it so crap
Like their Eurovision entries

Luke
Luke
3 years ago

I partly agree with Louis because it shouldn’t be about just the gimmick but I think it should be about the whole package and that’s the stage, song and voice that’s why I think that UK, Ireland, Portugal, Bulgaria and France should be the top 5 as they are the only performances bringing the whole package

Michaela
Michaela
3 years ago

“He has amazing voice, he is real, he is the best” blah blah blah. Louis don’t cry when Ireland doesn’t qualify. Everything it’s not about the voice, but about the song too.

Richardinho
Richardinho
3 years ago

By all means big up your favourite, Louis, but don’t hate on other acts. If you don’t like dancing gorillas or semi-naked women then maybe Eurovision isn’t for you!

carlos
carlos
3 years ago

Was nice “Try” when you feel “dying” Ireland bye bye

Jo
Jo
3 years ago

I’m Italian and it pains me read these kind of comments. Francesco is a great artist and he doesn’t deserve all this hate.
I hope he doesn’t win on Saturday and then he came home. I hope Italy withdraws from Eurovision as well.
Eurovision has become Hatevision.

Prima
Prima
3 years ago
Reply to  Jo

Don’t let what a few people say let you down. The majority doesn’t hate. This trolls just can’t stand the popularity of Italy and they turn to hateful comments, but that doesn’t mean that this is what this contest has become.

I’m portuguese, and I love the italian song. I hope Saturday the victory goes to Portugal or Italy.

#teamsalvadorable #teamfrancesco

Rp
Rp
3 years ago

First it was the Savior’s illness that troubled many people, then questioned that he had spoken at the press conference about the refugee situation, now comes the question of his particular taste and preference for music…Which will follow ? Must be type: “Savior is allergic to gorillas” !!!
Salvador *****

Philipp
Philipp
3 years ago

Yes, it is indeed all about the voice – cause it’s mostly the problem.

Damian
Damian
3 years ago
Reply to  Philipp

Irish guy has awful, annoying, childlish voice. He sings with annoying, bitchy mannerism and he is out of tune in high notes. hahahaha. I am really happy Ireland f**cked to go to the final. Arrogant cocky prick Louis Walsh will have a lesson

Avstriya
Avstriya
3 years ago

Ireland bye

Amor A.
Amor A.
3 years ago

Don’t put down other entries to bring up your own. The gorilla is not a gimmick it is supposed to represent mankind. It is not up there for laughs.

Colin
Colin
3 years ago
Reply to  Amor A.

Actually, it IS there for laughs, but not for cheap laughs. It’s a more intellectual, satirical humor, meant to stir the introspective of listeners.

Franco
Franco
3 years ago

Ouch! That’s bad karma!

Ay Jo
Ay Jo
3 years ago

Well, I hope dat ape knocks you down, soon. lol

Damian
Damian
3 years ago
Reply to  Ay Jo

Ireland and their helium boy is out of the final. Italian disco monkey probably will win. Who’s laughing now Louis???

V. Serduchka
V. Serduchka
3 years ago

I don’t mind his honesty.
Is fine when Salvador says ”hamburger music”?
Double standard.

Ay Jo
Ay Jo
3 years ago
Reply to  V. Serduchka

Bcz, if he says it is “hamburger music” then it really is. Tastes are different if there is actually one. 😛 😀
If there is no a music taste, you cannot differentiate it. 😀 😉 😉
Eurovision is a mainly pop contest for having fun. But there are people who want to listen to different music a little bit. Both sides may understand one another and they do,imo.

V. Serduchka
V. Serduchka
3 years ago
Reply to  Ay Jo

If you understand Salvador, then you must allow Louis Walsh to speak free too. Or the truth is only what Salvador says? Let everybody to speak their mind.

Ay Jo
Ay Jo
3 years ago
Reply to  V. Serduchka

As I mentioned above. Both sides understand that everybody has a right to speak free and they act accordingly. Don`t they?!

Hada
Hada
3 years ago
Reply to  V. Serduchka

Salvador later clarified that statement and said he meant that he considered himself an acquired taste because everyone likes a hamburger but not everyone necessarily likes a steak tartare.

Also, Salvador sings jazz, and is the kind of person whose sister has to gently remind him to not get distracted during interviews. When he says he doesn’t like gimmicks, I believe him. But when Great Value Simon Cowell, with decades of experience producing manufactured pop says it, it sounds bandwagon-y and calculated, not to say hypocritical.

Americanvision
Americanvision
3 years ago

He does realize that a balloon on stage is a gimmick, right?

Ireland is a mix bag for me: the song isn’t that bad but all it reminds me of Westlife at their heyday (circa 1999-2002).

Hada
Hada
3 years ago

It doesn’t sound as cute or genuine when you say it, music mogul and now X Factor judge Louis Walsh…

I love Brendan’s voice, just let him do his thing.

sandro
sandro
3 years ago

I’m really sorry for such an unprofessional comment from a ‘professional’ I think its wrong to make that kind of comment, its just unprofessional. Perhaps the Gorilla is not to everyones taste but the lyrics of Italy song are very clever and the singer is a great performer. I love ireland song too. I’m a Scottish Italian and love Europe

God-Emperor
God-Emperor
3 years ago

This dinosaur is a total numskull. While the irish girl will be at very best a borderline qualifier, Italian entry is a meaningful and intelligent song still in the lead to triumph.
And how prudish can Mr. Walsh be when he was the one behind the creation of that idiotic duo called…Jedward. Sad. You’re the main reason to Ireland’s decay over the years. Leave Eurovision and go back to your job as lick boots of Simon Cowell!

Mags
Mags
3 years ago
Reply to  God-Emperor

I agree that Louis can be a crass dick much of the time, but please don’t consider him a reflection of Brendan’s attitude or opinions of his fellow contestants. Brendan is a lovely person who is just enjoying this journey and sharing his passion for singing with the world – he may be managed by Louis but he is far more respectful of the other performers and Eurovision than Louis is. Also, there’s no need to refer to him as a girl when you know he is a guy. Very rude.

Yossarian
Yossarian
3 years ago

No need to deprecate other entries to support your own country’s, Louis. And it seems that Ireland did put great effort into the staging.

This said, I hope Brendan qualifies. Good luck to him!

Colin
Colin
3 years ago
Reply to  Yossarian

Exactly! I am a huge supporter of Ireland tonight, but there is no need for putting down other entries. Of course, Louis is a human beign entitled to dislike some songs as all of us, but the professional thing would be mentioning it only if asked and not too harshly.

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin

To be fair, Louis is probably treating Eurovision like any other music competition – he’s only being competitive.

adriana
adriana
3 years ago

Well Louis ,you havent done any favour to Brendan with that statement.Shame as Brendan its a really nice guy.

Eve
Eve
3 years ago
Reply to  adriana

well said, agree.

Trocatroc
Trocatroc
3 years ago

It’s not in the spirit of Eurovision to diss other acts Louis. I also didn’t like what Salvador said about pop music. All music is art to someone and art is subjective. I’ve not heard any of the other teams say mean spirited comments about the other entries. The whole point of Eurovision is celebrating musical diversity!!!!

Racal
Racal
3 years ago

“They had a strong pool of songs”… And he chose that one?! I admire the spirit: he wants talent, a voice, no gimmick, and he definitely has that with Brendan. But I think that song is dreadful…

Based on the singer, I’d love to see Ireland in the grand final. But that song, I just can’t.

Just Me
Just Me
3 years ago
Reply to  Racal

Isnt that baloon a gimmick?

Education Sentimentale
Education Sentimentale
3 years ago
Reply to  Just Me

Ohhh no, certainly not!!! It can’t be. Because, you know, Mr. Walsh said it’s all about “the voice”.

So the balloon is only there to ensure that enough helium-jokes about the voice will be tweeted during his performance.

Racal
Racal
3 years ago
Reply to  Just Me

Is there a balloon involved? I don’t know, haven’t watched the rehearsals.

Luka
Luka
3 years ago
Reply to  Racal

I was thinking the same. Brendan’s voice is unique, but the song…. non that much. We’ll see if Ireland makes to the final.

esc1234
esc1234
3 years ago

Louis, as well as the estonian duo, should not throw shade over other entries because i am afraid that tomorrow they will be heading home 🙂

mkiou
mkiou
3 years ago
Reply to  esc1234

what did the Estonian duo say??