He’s a former member of the Irish boy band Hometown, and he placed 13th in his semi-final at Eurovision 2017.
And now, as Ireland’s RTE begins thinking about its approach to Eurovision 2018, Brendan Murray has some reasonable advice: Come up with some new ideas.
“I don’t know if we need to send a better song or send a better singer maybe, hopefully we can improve anyway,” he told the Herald Diary. “They should definitely open up the selection process a bit and come up with other ideas.”
Brendan, who is the fourth consecutive act from Ireland to stall in the semi-finals, was handpicked by X Factor judge and music mogul Louis Walsh, who also paired him with the song “Dying to Try”.
Brendan emphasised that Ireland can’t rely on past glories.
“It’s a different competition nowadays,” he said. “We need to remember we’re a small country and the Eurovision is getting bigger and bigger.”
“It’s not the same competition it was in the Nineties. There’s countries like Israel and Australia competing now. There’s a Chinese delegation as well.”
He’s right. Although Ireland has won Eurovision seven times — more than any other country — it hasn’t won since 1996. And all of its wins came when there was a language rule, requiring countries to sing in one of their national languages. Many feel that gave Ireland and other English-speaking nations a built-in advantage, as English was and remains the lingua franca of pop.
Last weekend the Irish edition of The Sunday Times reported that ThisIsPopBaby — an award winning theatre and events production company — is in talks with RTÉ about Eurovision in general.
Company leader Jennifer Jennings gave 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.
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.
Self professed “theatre makers, club creatives, good time gurls”, ThisIsPopBaby are behind some of Dublin’s most outlandish stage productions of recent times.
The latter starred Ireland’s most famous drag queen Panti Bliss and Britain’s Got Talent 2017 semi-finalists Lords Of Strut.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s 2016 singer Nicky Byrne came up with an alternative solution — bring in wiwibloggs!
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,” it wrote. “Failure.”
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.”
What do you think about Brendan’s comments? Do you want to see Ireland open up its selection process? Let us know in the comments box below.