Last month Ireland suffered the indignity of a fourth consecutive non-qualification at Eurovision. While Irish commentator Marty Whelan maintains RTÉ is “doing nothing wrong”, both the media and politicians are sharpening their knives. Noughties popstar Samantha Mumba has already expressed an interest for 2018, as has Eurovision 2008 flop Dustin the Turkey.
And now another name can be added to the mix — ThisIsPopBaby.
The Irish edition of The Sunday Times reports that the award winning theatre and events production company is in talks with RTÉ about Eurovision in general.
Company leader Jennifer Jennings gives a status update.
We are talking to RTÉ about Eurovision in general, and it is our ambition that ThisIsPopBaby and RTÉ concoct some magic together to reignite Ireland’s stake in the finals.
However, less than a month after Brendan Murray’s not-so-surprising elimination in Kyiv, nothing is set in stone.
For now, we’re just chatting creatively and offering some opinions on how Ireland can shine again.
— thisispopbaby (@thisispopbaby) May 24, 2017
According to Marty Whelan, RTÉ’s Eurovision team won’t stir again until later in the summer.
We’re having a meeting in a few weeks’ time about it. But the point is, we can have meetings till we’re blue in the face but all we can do is have a plan. It doesn’t mean it’s going to work… It just means, ‘here’s another idea.’ Brendan was good this year and the song was decent. But it didn’t get through. It’s four years in a row and we don’t need that again. We need to be in the final so we’re just going to see if we can come up with another formula.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s 2016 singer Nicky Byrne came up with an alternative solution — bring in wiwibloggs!
Who are ThisIsPopBaby?
Self professed “theatre makers, club creatives, good time gurls”, ThisIsPopBaby are behind some of Dublin’s most outlandish stage productions of recent times.
Their shows include Alice In Funderland — “a colourful tale of camp magic, mischief and machinations in an acid-trip Dublin” and the award winning Riot. The latter starred Ireland’s most famous drag queen Panti Bliss and Britain’s Got Talent 2017 semi-finalists Lords Of Strut.
Ireland at Eurovision 2017 — the fallout
In the aftermath of Eurovision 2017, Ireland’s leading media outlets were highly critical of RTÉ 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.”
The “national disgrace” — as The Irish Times labelled it — even made it as far as the houses of parliament. Fianna Fáil, the biggest opposition party, called for a fundamental review of Ireland’s approach to the pan-European spectacular.
What do you think? Should RTÉ and ThisIsPopBaby join forces? Do they have what it takes to get Ireland back in the final? Let us know in the comments below.