Brendan Murray Ireland Eurovision 2017 Samantha Mumba

It’s the country best known for winning Eurovision a record seven times, but its glory days are long gone. Last week Ireland’s song contest woes continued for yet another year as Brendan Murray failed to qualify for the 2017 final.

Consequently, Ireland’s non-qualification streak now extends to four years — the nation’s worst ever run of results in the contest.

And while the Irish may occasionally join their British neighbours in poo-pooing the annual celebration of song, deep down they’re a proud people and egos are bruised. Yet, despite all the doom and gloom, one pop icon is offering a ray of hope.

Fianna Fáil calls for Eurovision review

The “national disgrace” — as The Irish Times labelled it — has even made it as far as the houses of parliament. While the main government party Fine Gael are currently beginning a hunt for a new leader, the biggest opposition party is still hung up on the outcome of semi-final two.

On Wednesday, Niamh Smyth — Fianna Fáil’s Arts spokesperson — called for a fundamental review of Ireland’s approach to the pan-European spectacular.

“I would like to see some honest discussion about what has gone wrong in recent years, and an equally honest discussion about what is needed in terms of resources and personnel to start competing again”.

The Cavan–Monaghan based politician concluded that RTÉ should either take the contest seriously or not enter at all.

Media hits out at RTÉ

Smyth’s sentiments are echoed across the Irish media spectrum, with both broadsheet and tabloid publications taking aim at RTÉ.

“It’s a crushing disappointment for Irish fans of the competition, many of whom criticised our poor effort, which was admittedly a drab affair in a competition that’s all about energy, vibrancy and colour.”

The Irish Mirror branded “Dying To Try” forgettable, questioning the musical savvy of the “somewhat shadowy sect” who make up the Irish delegation.

“Eurovision has become an annual competition we now soullessly slog along through, awaiting the inevitable. Failure.”

The Irish Independent also blames RTÉ for Ireland’s “embarrassing run of Eurovision failures”. The paper hits out at the broadcaster’s selection method, and urges it to look north and seek inspiration from Sweden’s Melodifestivalen. While acknowledging that such a large-scale show wouldn’t work in the Irish market, the writer highlights the importance of record label involvement.

“And then there was us, poor Ireland with our hot air balloon that never got off the ground – there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.”

The Irish Times argues that “the mysterious cabal” who picked Ireland’s “plodding, tepid ballad”  must be held accountable. Much of the blame is attributed to the lack of fun — “there was no levity, no spark, he failed to soar and could only plough through an unnecessary key change in his balloon of doom.”

And therein began the campaign to select Samantha Mumba for Eurovision 2018.

Samantha Mumba for Eurovision 2018

The Times wraps things up by calling on Ireland to send early ’00s pop icon Samantha Mumba to Lisbon. The tongue-in-cheek closing paragraph reads:

As a nation we need to take back control of our song selection, we need to get passionate again, we must go back to our love by demanding that our next effort is sung by Samantha Mumba a bone fide pop star whose surname almost sounds like ABBA which is obviously a sign that this is our destiny. Mumba for Eurovision 2018. You know it makes sense.

However in an amazing twist, it turns out that the “Gotta Tell You” hitmaker is totally up for Eurovision. In response to the article, she took to Twitter and tweeted “I would LOVE to!” along with a number of emojis.

Eagle-eyed fans soon spotted that one of the icons was actually the Ivory Coast flag rather than the Irish one, but Samantha quickly clarified matters by adding “IRELAND please ignore my overzealous and incorrect enthusiasm”.

This isn’t the first time Samantha’s name has appeared in the Eurovision bubble. After scoring herself a top five chart comeback in the summer of 2013, rumours abounded that she was considering singing for Ireland at Eurovision 2014.

Further fuel was added to the fire when it was announced that she would release a single the same week as the now defunct Eurosong national selection show.

Ultimately, nothing came of the speculation and Kasey Smith and Can Linn ended up representing the Emerald Isle in Copenhagen.

What do y’all think? Are the media and politicians right to slate RTÉ? And could Samantha Mumba be Ireland’s Eurovision saviour? Let us know in the comments below.

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Begonia
Guest
Begonia

Sing in Irish. As simple as that.

Ron
Guest
Ron

That’s not a bad suggestion in fact (it would still need a good song of course). The two Junior Eurovision entries in Irish so far have done quite well especially Zena Donnelly’s one which received two 12s.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Ray D’Arcy is going to have the Irish HoD Michael Kealy and a panel of guests including Billy McGuinness in studio on RTE Radio 1 next week to discuss what Ireland should do next year.

Should be very interesting and we might get some indication on what the early plans are.

Cathal
Guest
Cathal

If Michael Kealy is still the HoD next week than it will be another cheapskate method which will probably lead to a 5th NQ next year.

Cathal
Guest
Cathal

What date is this can you tell me?

Ron
Guest
Ron

Ray didn’t say the day, I don’t think he knows himself yet, as the line up of his show is fluid from day to day. It’s definitely this coming week though.

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

Would Ireland win Eurovision with a song like Ed sheerans Shape of you?
This is the question !!

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

Here we go again// Sam mumba?
Why? Another Dublin media drive !
Will she sing a Linda Martin why me number backwards with Louis in the background ?

Leaf
Guest
Leaf

I have a soft spot for Irish entries.
Don’t ask me why, cause I got no clue.

I really liked Molly’s “Playing with Number” also “Heartbeat” had a huge potential to get Ireland back in the top 10 in the final BUT the live performance killed their chances.
Samantha Mumba is alright, I can sense a Nicky Byrne moment coming our way.
Though I didn’t hate “Sunlight” I understand why It didn’t do so well.
Anyways, Good Luck Ireland and please feel free to SURPRISE us all.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

I think “Dying To Try” was a credible effort, and I thought Brendan sang it well in the semi-final. Like Deban, I as surprised it didn’t make the final. With so many entries these days, decent songs are just getting lost in the fog of war.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Ireland do not have a long term plan. Their entries are internally selected but there seems to be no method to how they are chosen. From Can-Linn to Molly to Nicky to Brendan, there seems to be no binding thread between how the song or the artist is decided upon. Having people like Linda Martin and Louis Walsh involved certainly does not help either in 2017.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

That last sentence of yours exemplifies why they may be headed for their 8th non-qualifier next May; which is more of their contenders going home on Tuesday or Thursday night than they have picked up trophies on Saturday night.

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

Louis Walsh was Samantha Mumba’s manager, so if RTÉ brings back Louis Walsh (which, let’s face it, is probably going to happen), he might look to his old act.

Either that or he’ll send another ex HomeTown member.

Ron
Guest
Ron

There’s too much emphasis on singer, Robyn and not enough on song. All of the emphasis should be on finding a great song, viewers and even fans are not too pushed about who sings the thing. I think the song should be chosen by the Irish public too, I don’t think an internally selected song suits the Irish psyche and people are not investing in the entry.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

If Louis Walsh is involved yet again, in any way, shape or form, you can put this on a silver platter, that by this time next year Ireland will have more non-qualifiers (8) than they have winners (7). Period. RTÉ will have proven, as San Marino has proven, that they have not learned a single thing from the stupidity of doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.

Irem
Guest
Irem

I liked Brendan’s voice and the song was good as well, but maybe not good enough. Ireland should try to go back to its roots and present something Celtic, as many have pointed out here. I loved “Heartbeat” and with a powerful voice and a good staging, it should at least qualify, which would be an improvement. Look at France and, recently, the UK.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

I should point out that there WAS an Irish song that qualified for the 2016
ESC final. However, it was given to the Czech Republic’s Gabriela for her to sing! (Yes, “I Stand” was actually an Irish song. Check the songwriters, and the melodic style. 😉 )

Denis
Guest
Denis

Has Ms Mumba had any hits as of lately? Can she sound contemporary? Ireland seem to be doing the same mistake as U.K: Living on old merits and playing it to safe. Brendan Murray was a good choice but at the end it was yet another Irish ballad. They think because it worked before it will work now too. And they also think in terms in what works for ESC. The combination of those two things. Predicting ESC never works. Just look at the top 5 entries this year, none of them are what you would call made for ESC.… Read more »

Leo M
Guest
Leo M

RTE have not a clue about modern Eurovision and neither does Louis Walsh. Whoever is in charge of the song selection should step aside and let someone who actually knows what they are doing pick an entry. They need to get away from the whole idea of picking a “Eurovision song” and think outisde the box. Hopefully not qualifying for a 4th year in a row gives them the wake up call they need and start taking it more seriously.

Mar
Guest
Mar

There is no “mysterious cabal” who picked the song, it was Louis Walsh and I’m surprised he hasn’t got at least some of the blame. It’s not like it was a secret.
I’m not familiar with this Mumba girl, but I don’t think an early naughties pop start is the best choice, not unless she has an outstanding song.
I liked Brendan and his song, but it got lost in the semifinal and the staging didn’t help him.

Azaad
Guest
Azaad

Ireland’s 7 wins have more to do with the fact that were only one of three countries allowed to sing the lingua franca of the entire continent than any special merit on their part. Some of their victories were well earned, but not all of them.

I think it’s time for Ireland to look at their Celtic heritage for inspiration. Their non qualification in 2014 was more due to bad staging and weak live vocals than the song itself, which lots of fans liked before the contest. I’d love to see the current line up of Celtic Woman compete!??

AngieP
Guest
AngieP

Ireland is the country with the most victories in Eurovision history! The last one was in 1996. Since then, total silence! I don’t say they should have won by now, but at least send good songs and qualify. Now it’s been 4 years since their last qualification. World changes, music changes, Eurovision changes and Irish should understand that. I believe their entries don’t appeal to people any more. I think they should try sth more contemporary. To cooperate with the Swedish is not a bad idea, but for me it doesn’t solve the problem. Ireland can rely on its own… Read more »

Americanvision
Guest
Americanvision

How many years until Zena Connelly can compete in the main show? Why not her instead she has some experience with Junior ESC? 😉

Anyway, why not let Ireland’s other network choose the artist like tg4? Hmm!

Finally, never let Louis Walsh pick an artist ever again!

Darren
Guest
Darren

TG4 could probably do well, JESC has been quite successful for them, although in JESC there is usually only 16-17 countries competing, the same as a semifinal in the adult version. So far in JESC Ireland has come between 10th and 12th…the same results we also get in the adult version. Our entry would also be Ás Gaelige if TG4 had it. Our other broadcaster, TV3 could probably do a very good job with song selection, and I know Eurovision would be a ratings hit for them, especially prime time on Saturdays, but they are sadly not in the EBU… Read more »

Ron
Guest
Ron

Not only Zena Donnelly but a few others that competed in Junior Eurovision Éire struck me as types that could do well in Eurovision. The standard was very good there.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

Surely the keys to success are:
1. How does it sound LIVE
2. How does it perform LIVE
3. Does it come alive LIVE

If any of the three are in the slightest bit doubtful, they it’s time to find another song and/or artist.

Darren
Guest
Darren

RTE should ressurect the entertainment show “The Hit” that was on a few years ago, and use that as a national selection. The format consisted of 5 established and well known singers (Johnny Logan took part in season 1) who sing a song written by a well established, or amateur songwriter. All 5 songs are released to the public on Spotify with the most successful or most streamed qualifying for the final and the second highest going into a second chance round. The following week a different 5 singer said would do the same very thing again. They even hosted… Read more »

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

RTÉ seem to keep looking back at Ireland at Eurovision in the ’90s and they try to replicate those entries. Except in order for that to work, you’d also have to reintroduce the live orchestra, bring back the national language rule and dump the televote. That’s as crazy as if Sweden were to send a trio of blond brothers singing cheesy pop in an attempt to duplicate the 1984 success of “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley”. So much has changed. Proof of this should be that Ireland’s best result in the past 17 year’s was Jedward with “Lipstick”. But since then, Ireland instead… Read more »

Tusán
Guest

Not being on the top of the charts in your own country doesn’t mean you will be unsuccessful in Eurovision. Almost everybody hated ByeAlex here in 2013, nobody believed in him (still don’t though haha). It was Europe that fell in love with him.

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

But after ESC, Kedvesem later became a No.1 hit in Hungary. That’s the trouble – even with the recognition boost of Eurovision, the Irish entries don’t even become hits in Ireland.

M_K
Guest
M_K

I always thought that “Kedvesem” was a great song.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

The animated video for “Kedvesem” sold that song extraordinarily well. I knew that song was going to finish in the top 10 when I first heard the song and saw that video. It was actually a REMIX that was sent to Eurovision, The original isn’t too bad, either.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

They had a damn good house song in Ryan Dolan’s “Only Love Survives” (which was my #1 before the 2013 contest); but instead of staging it as something made for the dance floor should be staged (as Bojana’s stage director did 2 years later, with the 2nd-half of “Beauty Never Lies”), they went off into the unknown, with 2 guys banging big drums on the side (unnecessary); and it didn’t help for him to sing it at a lower key…

…And by the way, “Only Love Survives” was their last qualifier.

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

Omg, flashback to those extremely oily dancers!

Racal
Guest
Racal

Wait, Samantha Mumba is Irish? WHAT?! 😀 Not feeling particularly excited about this: she’s a former glory, that doesn’t really scream victory for Ireland. Maybe she could manage to classify with a good song, but that’s the problem: who’s going to give her that song? And don’t say Louis Walsh, the Irish Ralf Siegels…

Portugal just won with a very Portuguese song, why doesn’t Ireland send a Celtic song? A little bit like Eimear Quinn’s “The Voice”, but more modern. I think everyone would love for Ireland to embrace their Celtic heritage and bring it to Eurovision.

Grete Paia
Guest
Grete Paia

Send can-linn

ESCaddict
Guest
ESCaddict

“His balloon of doom.” LOL
Everyone talks like they know the key to success but no one knows it. The Swedes have been working on it for years. Still no answer.
I think Jamala is close. Luck plays a big part. Having a song that is right for that moment. Being “dated”, or not, seems irrelevant. Maybe it is more how the song sits amongst all the other songs. Who can predict that?
Good luck to Ireland in their search for success.

IGC
Guest
IGC

I agree. There is a lot of luck involved. Many countries try to play safe – so you have many power ballads – mainly female singers – but some males too. When this occurs – and the song isn’t a stand out – there will be surprises – good songs wont qualify. Just ask Norway about it. You have to be patient – and lucky to win. Nothing really wrong with the Irish song this year – if it had made the final – I would have given it a vote. Keep trying is the answer. Its Portugal’s first win… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Samantha Mumba omg. Gotta Tell You is a CLASSIC. Legend is coming to save the competition.

Tusán
Guest

Like Bonnie and Engelbert? Ha

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Samantha is 34, those two were at least twice as old.

Tusán
Guest

Blue didn’t save the competition either.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

I’m sure they’re cool with their 5th place in televote.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

But the jury was not at all sold on Blue. If she comes to ESC with a song that sounds as if nothing has changed, she could get scorched by the jury, or worse–the jury might give her good points but the televoters could turn on her, the way they did a whole bunch of contenders last week, Nathan (AUT) and Isaiah (AUS) getting the worst of it… …And @Racal is right; Louis Walsh is the Ralph Siegel of Ireland. His involvement in any way with the next selection (and we might have to add Linda Martin as well) is… Read more »

AndersP
Guest
AndersP

Dustin the Turkey’s shadow still looms large. RTÉ went back to a national final that year, had, from memory, at least one very good song in and amongst the mix, but some cleverdick thought that the turkey would pull in the viewers. Unfortunately the turkey (in both senses) won; Ireland has never really recovered and the NF was consigned to history. There also seems to be an obsession with that “Rock N Roll Kids” sound that I think must still speak to Irish sensibilities (my mother and my aunt likes that kind of music), but that’s about it; Dying to… Read more »

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Everyone knows Rock’n’Roll Kids wouldn’t have bothered the left hand side of the scoreboard, had televote existed in 1994. Poland and Hungary, two countries that didn’t even have an arena to host the event back then, were the public’s favorites. Ireland should just go for something Celtic!

David S
Guest
David S

In fairness, you have absolutely no clue who the public favourites were back in 1994

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Poland was.

David S
Guest
David S

Yeah that’s probably true, her performance and running order would probably have won a televote but we’ll never know for sure, I’m Irish and I think Poland should have won ’94.

Oihana
Guest
Oihana

In my opinion Ireland did well and Brendan’s performance was good, I liked his song since it was released. I’m pretty sure that it’s a political issue and Ireland is always left aside no matter who is the singer or wether the song is good or bad.

Bill Kelly
Guest
Bill Kelly

Here we go again people now want to put in a former has been pop star who hasn’t had a hit in a long time with a Swedish song that let’s face it if it was any good would be entered in Melfest and not given to us . Brendan did his best with what was probably the best song that any established song writer was going to give to an unknown from a Boy Band that unfortunately did not make it. I blame Louis Walsh who clearly was not interested in winning Eurovision but making a few extra quid… Read more »

M_K
Guest
M_K

No, Ireland should NOT seek inspiration from Melodifestivalen, they should select something genuinely Irish. Ireland has great traditional music (popular and traditional fusion as well), it’s known for its many great rock bands… people out there know about Ireland’s high reputation when it comes to music, so I guess the general audience just expects a little more from the Irish entry (the UK seems to have the same problem). So many countries have chosen songs by Swedish songswriters in recent years that it’s getting a little out of hand. “If you want to do well in Eurovision, you have to… Read more »

Colin
Guest
Colin

I don’t know what went wrong, honestly. I don’t think “Dying to Try” is any inferir to “Beautiful Mess” in terms of production, staging, singer’s charisma or voice, yet the results are very different. Same think with “Playing with Numbers”, which should have qualified two years ago. Maybe Jamala is right and some things are just down to simple luck and randomness of voting. I mean, if ”Blackbird” didn’t make the cut, then you know for sure that quality doesn’t equal a good result. I don’t think there is a magic formula for this.

Margot
Guest
Margot

Dying to Try sounded rather dated, while Beautiful Mess had a more modern feel to it, in my opinion. The staging was better as well.
I think Playing with Numbers was indeed bad luck. The night of the semifinal was the first time I heard the song and I though it was rather boring, but the second time I heard it, I quite liked it.

Colin
Guest
Colin

“Dying to Try sounded rather dated”

Is that really a bad thing? I would use a term evergreen, rather than dated, as it implies more quality. Also, if people are all about being modern, how to explain the win of the most vintage song of all?

Matt
Guest
Matt

You can’t call a new song that sounds old ‘evergreen’. An old song that remains current fits that description.
Dying to Try was boring and his voice irritating, in my opinion.

Colin
Guest
Colin

Point taken. Does “vintage” sound better? However you call it, it’s still a good song andnot some dated mess like San Marino.

Nikos
Guest
Nikos

It’s good to see people with some sway noticing the problem and looking for solutions. I think the small hype behind Ireland this year was mostly due to the “uniqueness” of Brendan Murray’s voice, and not because of the unimpressive song. I think this is just a small hurdle for Ireland, and we will see them back to successful results in the near future!

Liam Alan Lindsay
Guest
Liam Alan Lindsay

She would absolutely slay the competition

Ern
Guest
Ern

Never knew Samantha Mumba was Irish. I loved that song from years back.

It’d be great for Ireland to have her represent the country.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Good to see the Arts spokeswoman getting involved and making some very reasonable points, her main point being “If we’re not going to take Eurovision seriously, we shouldn’t even be competing”.

I notice RTE have been keeping their heads down for the last week and saying virtually nothing about the fourth NQ in a row but they must be well aware of the anger and disquiet out there.

Hopefully we see some sort of changes for 2018 and not another lame internal selection that generates zero public interest.

esc1234
Guest
esc1234

leave the contest for a year, change EVERYONE who works on the eurovision project, involve record labels. Bulgaria did that and it freaking worked.

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Darth Thulhu

Yeah. Bulgaria over the past couple of years has been like “1/3 Swedish precision, 1/3 Russian drive, 1/3 our own selves”. It’s doing well by them.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

That’s exactly what I want to happen. Withdraw for a year and come back with a whole new delegation, ideas and most of all, a desire and a hunger to win.

Richardinho
Guest
Richardinho

“a bone fide pop star whose surname almost sounds like ABBA which is obviously a sign that this is our destiny.”

Obvious indeed. Incredible that no one has ever noticed this before, really.

Mike
Guest
Mike

As someone who grew up watching Eurovision in the 90s as a young kid and saw Ireland win so many times with so many great songs, it’s so weird to see the crappy stuff they send nowadays.

What the hell happened!?!?!?!

One of the most musically rich countries in the whole world!

Very strange!

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Darth Thulhu

Three things happened: 1) English was allowed to everyone, and the tidal wave of pop songs in English pushed them (and everyone) toward conformity rather than distinctiveness. 2) For a good stretch, there were no juries at all, while the staging tech got significantly higher end, pushing everyone (Ireland included) toward more novelty and more dance and more spectacle. With the return of juries, there was a further push toward mass-market pop that also needed to be spectacle-friendly. 3) The Iron Curtain fell, and Yugoslavia fractured, admitting entire new political blocs. In the time before the idea of “multiple semi-finals… Read more »

Sparrow
Guest
Sparrow

I enjoyed “Dying to try”. It was in my top 10 since it’s release. However, that horrific staging is what led to Irelands demise this year.
You need a marriage of song and visual which seems to be Ireland’s problem.
2010 and 2014 for example, good songs paired with horrible staging.

Marc
Guest
Marc

2014 was beyond horrible.
Boring, cliche and dated.

Ireland had a good staging in 2011

That said, staging is not that important.
Portugal 2017 (amazing atmosphere tho) , Poland 2016 or Italy 2015.

Darth Thulhu
Guest
Darth Thulhu

Jedward 2012 was also solid. The staging was entirely novelty-spectacle, but the mirror-imaging of the two halves of the cast, and the real-live fountain blending into the bonkers LED floodwaters, were all quite arresting. Deserved to make the Final, and a ton of fun to watch once there.

Sparrow
Guest
Sparrow

Yes 2011 was great staging but the song was ridiculous. Let’s be honest here.

Sparrow
Guest
Sparrow

2012 was hilariously bad for both the song and the staging. I don’t gunk I laughed so hard watching Eurovision before that.

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

It was rather plodding, which complimented first part of song but after key-change became boring, as there definitely should be something serious and driving already…

Jo
Guest
Jo

I told y’all there was going to be drama…
Sorry, but Ireland elimination was very predictable.

Davve
Guest
Davve

Mumba would be great! But she need something upbeat and contemporary!

Justin K.
Guest
Justin K.

UMM, if Cascada can come to Eurovision a million years after “Everytime We Touch”, why not Samantha Mumba? She was another Walsh-produced act, so it may work in her advantage. I didn’t get to listen to her comeback single, but if it’s anywhere near the level of Steps’ recent comeback (modern yet true to their style), then a proper Eurovision entry and subsequent qualification shouldn’t be out of the question. If the Sobral siblings are going to be the catalyst for “nostalgic-sounding music” (with or without meaning depending on the delegation), why not go back to proper early Noughties pop?… Read more »

Paul D.
Guest
Paul D.

Macedonia did very well this year indeed…

azaad
Guest
azaad

Portugal and Macedonia did borrow the sentiments of older times (40s and the 80s respectively), but the production surrounding the song was firmly 21st century, especially in the case of “Dance Alone”, which sounded more like a Tove Lo track than anything else.

San Marino getting one point in the semi final should be proof that genuinely dated songs will go down like a lead balloon today, especially with the juries.