Ireland’s Brendan Murray won over plenty of new fans at Eurovision 2017, serving charm, good looks and a very unique vocal register. Sadly he still wound up in 13th place — and sent Ireland crashing out of the semi-finals.
Despite clear effort with the stage show and the involvement of legendary music mogul Louis Walsh, Ireland faced its fourth-straight year of non-qualification. That puts the tally up to seven. Ireland now has as many non-qualifying acts as it has had winners.
Nicky Byrne & Jenny Greene chat with wiwibloggs
It’s time to turn things around.
Like so many of you, Nicky Byrne — Ireland’s Eurovision 2016 singer and a former member of Westlife — wants to see Ireland back in the final. The Dancing with the Stars host made that much clear on Friday during The Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene, his popular RTE 2FM radio show.
The “Sunlight” singer, who showed fans nothing but kindness during his 2016 bid, invited wiwibloggs founder and editor William Lee Adams to discuss what’s been going wrong for the Emerald Isle.
You can listen to the full program above.
William, who has written about Eurovision for The New York Times, CNN, The Financial Times, Newsweek, Billboard, Time and others, made it clear that no one doubts Ireland’s talent pool or its abilities.
The issue, in his mind, is usually the song (and, by extension, how it’s selected). As he’s said repeatedly throughout this Eurovision season, Brendan Murray is a standout talent. But his track “Dying to Try” lacked the immediacy (grab ’em in the first minute) and contemporary feel needed to slay Eurovision.
In our initial reaction video, filmed just moments after the song’s release, our panel was instantly turned off.
“This just isn’t good enough,” William said of the studio cut. “I forget the melody. I am not convinced by the delivery. Yes, it’s very emotional and fragile which plays to Brendan’s strengths. But I just don’t think he has a good enough product to sell….Ultimately it’s forgettable.”
Now Nicky has issued an SOS and suggested that wiwibloggs weigh in on the selection process. We just have three words for that: LET’S DO THIS!
In the aftermath of Eurovision 2017, Ireland’s leading media outlets have been highly critical of RTE and, more specifically, the team that chose its song.
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 blamed RTÉ for Ireland’s “embarrassing run of Eurovision failures”. The paper hit out at the broadcaster’s selection method, and urged 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.
The Irish Times argued 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.”
A lot of you have already sounded off in an earlier post with your suggestions for how Ireland can improve. But what are you thinking a few days later? How would you choose Ireland’s Eurovision 2018 singer? Would you stage an open call for songs or focus on handpicking a track submitted by record labels? Would you involve an international panel if choosing a song behind-closed-doors? What about focus groups with members of the public? Who, besides or in addition to Samantha Mumba, would you call on? Let us know EVERYTHING you’re thinking in the comments box below!