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.

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.

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.

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danny
danny
3 years ago

What about the 1993 runner up 2nd place to Nieve Kavanah, That was a great song

ophelia
ophelia
4 years ago

He was 13 in semifinal, not 18, he was above Estonia and FYRMacedonia. He could qualify, but was a very strong year, many countries had in 2017 their best song ever. Not only top 3 (Portugal, Bulgaria, Moldova), but other countries too had this year song that can be ”their best ever”.

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

I think it’s a little unfair to imply that Ireland’s seven wins are due to the language rule. Each of the seven songs sound like worthy winners to me, with some of them (Hold Me Now, All Kinds Of Everything, What’s Another Year etc.) being stonecold classics. I would argue that they absolutely won on merit. Of course singing in English was an advantage, but the actual quality was there too. Why didn’t Malta ever win? How did Ireland manage to beat even the UK? It seems to me that the changed nature of the contest has been their downfall.… Read more »

Hada
Hada
4 years ago

Brendan and Molly are excellent singers with less than stellar songs. I’d say it’s the songs that need to change (maybe Brendan and Molly’s could duet as well, their voices would complement each other nicely).

escphbelgium
escphbelgium
4 years ago

I like Brendan’s idea but could RTE at least try to “kidnap” Martin Jensen and make him to write a decent song for Ireland next year.

Charli Cheer Up
Charli Cheer Up
4 years ago

The last selection show had great songs but the most boring one won probably because of the limited timeframe and a big rivalry between fanbases of two other song entries.

Ern
Ern
4 years ago

“I don’t know if we need to send a better song or send a better singer …”

This isn’t rocket science. Brenden is a very good singer, but the song was awful.

Hopefully, in a year or two, Brenden will return with a better song … and (if you’ll permit me to be politically incorrect for a second) just a little more “masculine.” He wears it well.

Rotessa
Rotessa
4 years ago
Reply to  Ern

I hope so, too 🙂

oddsson
oddsson
4 years ago

Well, Brendan: Israel have actually been competing for quite a while now;)

Fishy
Fishy
4 years ago
Reply to  oddsson

Yeah they have been competing even before the 90s… Better research won’t hurt

Johnny
Johnny
4 years ago
Reply to  oddsson

From a lot of interviews I saw this year, I got the idea that many many contestants don’t actually know a lot about the competition. That is a bit sad because sometimes it seems we (the eurofans) take the competition more seriously than some of the contestants themselves.

Aria
Aria
4 years ago
Reply to  Johnny

And then people still vote for their bland song like crazy and they give interviews just short of stating I had the only good song in the competition worthy of a win!! So why would they bother learning about the competition?

Aria
Aria
4 years ago
Reply to  oddsson

Well probably he meant to comment on the Asian countries and picked Israel instead of one from the Caucasus.