Brian McFadden Eurovision Ireland Politics 2017 2018

He’s the man best known for quitting Ireland’s biggest boy band at the height of their fame. But aside from being in Westlife, Brian McFadden also briefly flirted with Eurovision during the early 2000s. He wrote Ireland’s 2004 entry “If The World Stopped Turning”, as well as the song which finished second in the previous year’s national final “A Better Plan”. However, his love affair with the contest is long over.

Speaking to The Irish SunDelta Goodrem’s ex lays into the modern Eurovision, claiming that it’s “gone to pot”. And what is to blame? Why, politics of course… and the Baltics.

The Eurovision has gone to pot. I say that as someone who once loved Eurovision, as much as I love the World Cup. RTÉ have to realise it’s simply over. Eurovision is about the politics now, not the songs. All these Baltic countries voting for one another. It’s ridiculous.

Brian’s not the first to wave the politics card, and most likely won’t be the last. We politely refer him to the recent Portuguese, Austrian and German victories. All three countries won despite not being part of any traditional “voting bloc”. In fact, most winners tend to receive points across the board and no one country has enough neighbours to propel it to the top spot on bloc voting alone.

And what did the Baltics ever do to the man? Few would consider the trio of nations — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia — as song contest powerhouses. Between them they have two victories, the last being 15 years ago. Recently, they’ve been largely out of luck with none of them making it past the semis in Kyiv. Eurovision 2015 was the first time since 2002 that all three graced the grand final.

As for the World Cup, out of 20 tournaments, Ireland has only made it to three. Does McFadden recommend the country gives up on that too?

However, the pop star turned talent-show judge turned day-time TV presenter didn’t end it there. He also calls for a return to the old jury system.

That’s why Ireland can only win again if they have independent juries, and that’s not going happen.

And bemoans the failure of Ireland and the UK’s “great songs”.

In the meantime, it’s just heartbreaking to see so many great songs representing Ireland dying a death. And it’s the same for the ones the UK is sending over. We can never win Eurovision again.

Interestingly, these songs typically die a death in the domestic charts too. Brendan Murray’s “Dying To Try” missed out on the top 100 completely, and we have to go all the way back to 2013 to find a homegrown Eurovision entry in the top 20 — coincidentally that was the last time the Emerald Isle made the final.

In the same period, “Rise Like A Phoenix”, “Calm After The Storm” and “Heroes” all made it to the upper realms of the countdown. Make of that what you will.

What do you think of Brian’s comments? Is there some truth to them? Or is he just talking a load of nonsense? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Tigg
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The Tigg
Alex
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Alex

Guys come on! It was just an example! And it’s obvious! And yes, the Baltics, the Balkans, GreeCyprus, the Nordics, and the ex-Soviets do exchange votes, and indeed it’s ridiculous, ’cause these countries can hardly ever finish to the bottom, unlike the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, etc. Eurovision’s gone wrong in some ways, but it still rocks. Ireland has to show its music. Together with the UK and Sweden, these 3 countries are the ones that do produce big hits Europe-and-worldwide hits. The awkward thing is, if Brian (ex-Bryan) did Eurovision, he would really go well. He’s an… Read more »

x
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x

lol, Baltics barely even vote for each other. I think he means Balkans. What a moron either way.

Greig watts
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Greig watts

Sounds like someone who hasn’t been watching lately. I’ve attended the final twice in two years and until the U.K. And Ireland stop blaming politics we do not have a chance . Cultural voting maybe but take a great song and artist and we’ll do better . Irelands entry’s the last two years just weren’t strong enough to get into the top 10 voting. Remember anything outside top 10 doesn’t get points so can’t afford to be ordinary

Jonas
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Jonas

The guy has minimal talent and his 2004 song was awful.

He’s just sore that his buddy & ex-bandmate Nicky Byrne flopped hard.

He also seems completely unaware of the huge advantages that Ireland had in previous decades, mainly the English language. Poor guy.

Ireland will work it out someday, I’m sure, and the real fans will finally have something to be happy about.

Maya G
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Maya G

I love how he says that Ireland can only win again if they have independent juries, when actually since 2012 (with the exception of 2015) Ireland did worse with the professional juries then it did with the televote . They even cost Ireland a qualification in 2014, if it was up to the televoters Ireland would have gone to the final that year. Ireland can do well or even win again – I mean who would have thought that Portugal could ever win? – they need to change their approach and make bold choices. They’ve been playing it too safe… Read more »

disposable-meter
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disposable-meter

Pretty doubtful that Brian will read this article since he has only interpreted his own experience through his Pov while he could dig much more information. But hey, that is really bad to point out only small part of bigger ever-changing picture!

manszellmelow
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manszellmelow

I’ll be glad to write him/Ireland a song. Afterwards we’ll have a talk and it will be good.

Chance
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Chance

Eurovision has “gone to pot” because 3 countries who haven’t come close to being contenders since before he wrote a song for the contests have started voting for each other?

yeah, ok, sure buddy.

Tomás Patrick davitt
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Tomás Patrick davitt

God this guy is a complete moron

Great article padraig in completely annihilating his ridiculous argument. I bet he doesn’t even know where the baltics are and actually was thinking of the balkans

HarpyDarper
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HarpyDarper

His 2004 song is very drab and soulless (much like Ireland’s last two entries and its one from 2001), and unsurprising flopped. I remember watching BBC coverage when he was interview in the green room (after the result) where even he admitted it was crap!
Being part Irish myself I am sad to see the poor quality of its entries, they’ve been of a poor calibar since 2000, with only a few exceptions (no, not Jedward?), I’m really hoping things get better, with no more Louis Walsh!

Étoile
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Étoile

Maybe some vote with political reasons, or neighbours-love or because of diaspora but it’ll never be enough to be the winner. Because now we have more than 40’s countries that participate so the song and the performance will determine the winner. Also it’s not just the televote, the national juries can be quite surprising too like in 2015. I hope Ireland will have a good song and do well next year, keep the smile.

Arlan
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Arlan

WHO is this again?

Jakub
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Jakub

He’s right. Countries like Portugal also can’t win Eurovision, they don’t really have diaspora and only one neighbour… oh, wait.

Jakub
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Jakub

And I forgot to mention. Of course neighbours often vote for each other in certain blocks, but don’t you think it can be connected to their cultural influences as well as geopolitical situation? Take Balkans, for example. If a song from one of these countries is somehow rooted in Balkan traditions, that’s pretty understandable it has higher chance of being voted for by the other Balkan countries, because that’s the music and culture they know and share to some extent. Same thing happens with other voting blocks.

Eva
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Eva

Well I’m sorry, but Baltics aren’t the only ones who vote for their neighbours. AANND Baltics always vote for the best songs and then for neighbours!

Héctor
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Héctor

As someone has point down below, his words aren’t enterily wrong. Maybe politics aren’t stronger enough to influence the overall winner, but they have an important role for other countries such as those non-qualifiers/qualifiers year after year or those getting poor results. I mean, songs make the difference, but is undeniable the presence of politics and bloc diaspora in Eurovision.

James
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James

I don’t think that’s really true. Countries with strong general diaspora such as Greece were always seen as qualifying. However in 2016, this was the first year that pretty much everyone generally acknowledged that the song (and the live performance) was terrible. The supposed bloc voting evaporated and it came 16th (14th in televote) (ironically scoring 9 less televote points than Ireland albeit in different semis) . Plus it was Estonia who came last overall. The fact is Greece sent good songs for years – or at least good enough radio friendly fodder to qualify themselves, but the moment they… Read more »

Chance
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Chance

The reason Ireland continues to fail to qualify is they keep sending songs that don’t play well in Eurovision, not politics.

AngieP
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AngieP

Nobody has nothing against Ireland. To blame all the other but yourself is repetitive. Also, I’m tired of Ireland complaining about their results the recent years.

For me Ireland should change sth. The proccess, the songs, I don’t know. It’s not everyone else’s fault.

Despite block voting having a significant role in Eurovision every year, most winners didn’t need the block voting alone to win. Portugal and Austria are the most recent examples of that.

Theatrical
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Theatrical

Yet again an article that misses the bigger picture. McFadden didn’t put his argument over particularly well but he does have a point – politics might not be far-reaching enough to decide the winner every year, but it does play a role in certain countries’ persistent success, be that mid-table finishes in the final or even just qualifying for the final every year. We can all think of countries that benefit from diaspora/regional political advantage generating extra votes – to deny this would be plain silly. Using isolated successes by countries like Germany, Austria and Portugal to argue the contrary… Read more »

James
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James

Considering how differing televote and jury scores can be from each other, and how different every contest outcomes since the 50/50 voting system was introduced in 2009 would have looked like if the results were counted separately (or otherwise for 2016 onwards), politically-motivated voting in the general sense would have been far difficult to determine at all.

Every vote counts.

Colin
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Colin

Although I would have let Molly Stirling and Brendan Murray in the finals, his statements are poppycock. Politics has *some* degree in ESC decisions, but far from most. Would Russia or Armenia or Azerbaijan end-up in finals EVERY time if it weren’t for diaspora/neighbors? Probably not every time. But then again, if politics is to blame, would Portugal or Austria won at all? Nope, not a chance. That said, some form of politics/sympathy card *might* (really not sure) be included in most recent wins, as Salvador is ill, Jamala’s song is about war/politics and Conchita is clearly not a person… Read more »

Jak
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Jak

Baltics are the most independent traditional voting bloc at all! Since they hardly qualify to the final all together, and they do have a great taste of music, they do always vote for songs truly deserve to be voted. The same thing goes very well with Hungary and Israel too. Bloc voting exists no more in the Eurovision Song Contest, since juries had arrived and the quality of entries increased. We saw countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria, Bulgaria and Portugal becoming power-houses, those who did very bad in 2000s, with great quality entries. After all, those people who complain… Read more »

Denis
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Denis

Blaming everybody but yourself for the failures. How original. Taylor Swift would love him. They both act the same way, it seems.

L'oiseau
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L'oiseau

Wiwibloggs, thanks for this article. I liked the edgy slightly critical tone 😉 In our days, I don’t think politics, as it were, influence a great deal in voting, except maybe for the Armenia-Azerbeijan or the Ukraine-Russia rifts and a couple of others. I might also admit that Russia is not attracting all the votes it could have for political reasons. But rather neighbourly voting, cultural proximity and diaspora still has a lot of influence. But also that is fading away, thankfully. And a lot has to do with having jury vote. So, yes, I think this statement is really… Read more »

Cizzlerino
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Cizzlerino

This “political” argument is one of these remnants of the past that serve sore losers and their fans as an excuse for a bad result. Theres certainly sympathy between some countries, but the effect is tiny – usually the jury and home voters agree on who are the best entries. Couldnt believe when everyone said “Jamala only won because of politics” – how? She was second place in both the jury and tele votes. Thats as clear a result as it gets.

Hannes
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Hannes

¯\_(?)_/¯

Justanotherescfan
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Justanotherescfan

It seems ridiculous to me how he’s blaming the Baltics while he won’t even state how Greece + Cyprus. Turkey + Azerbaijan. Romania + Moldova. And how Armenia and Azerbaijan rank each other last. Also Norway + Sweden. You can’t blame the Baltics cause they almost never do well. 2017 and 2014 none of the Baltics qualified. While Jüri pootsman ended up LAST in 2016. And not to mention Latvia ending up LAST in its semis. While Ireland is also known for giving UK points. That’s my opinion about it.

Martin
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Martin

This is the best article on wiwibloggs this off season. So much subtle shade, LOVE IT!

Khiran
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Khiran

I agree that is a good article, but from the moment Laura Groeseneken from Belgium was announced, I guess we are ON season.

Frisian esc
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Frisian esc

Almost none of the balkans even qualified this year, serbia, macedonia montenegro, slovenia + albania they were all out. Also all of the balitcs.

BalticsOutOfEurovision
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BalticsOutOfEurovision

Yeah, yeah, Brian. Of course, let’s take Portugal for an example. It’s so unfair that the country got SO many neighbours (literally all the participating countries) and they all voted for them in this year’s contest, so Portugal won. Wait, what am I saying? It’s all because of Baltics, I meant! They shouldn’t be voting for each other, Estonia’s 1 pt to Lithuania changed whole result of the second semifinal, it was so political, how dare they?!!

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

He’s only saying that because his country is flopping. Typical bitter behavior of fans from formerly successful countries who can’t accept reality.

EscFan
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EscFan

There will always be politics in Eurovision but Brian is making out that this just happened in the last couple of years when in reality it was much worse in the early 2000s when Brian claimed it used to be good. Also, in recent years neighbour voting has been disappearing. I mean look at how well Belgium, Poland and Bulgaria have done in recent years and look at how all the Balkan countries are not doing as well as they used to do. Responding to Brian, how can you say that there is still serious block voting in the baltics,… Read more »

Underrated
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Underrated

I can understand him
He think that almost every year Ireland send one of the best songs and still fail And I agree with him
You need to understand that some people thinks the songs that stay in the semi and better than most of the songs that qualified and some people watch song from their top 10 win only every decade approximately.

blondboybc
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blondboybc

Much ado about nothing. Move along, Brian. 😉

Efraim
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Efraim

Politics and bloc voting: the go-to excuses for ESC sore losers. As the text already mentions, we have recently seen wins for countries not considered to be in any ‘voting bloc’ like Germany, Portugal or Austria (and don’t get me started about Australia finishing second in 2016). At the end of the day, you win because pretty much everyone considered your song one of the best in the lot. Just take a look at Salvador Sobral’s scoreboard: he got points from all but two national juries, and scored at least a 5 in every single televote.

Hada
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Hada

He must probably mean Balkan countries. And he chose the worst possible moment to say Eurovision’s been ruined. It was at some point, in the late 90s/2000s, but now it’s precisely when it’s getting better. Only Ireland hasn’t gotten with the program, which is sad because the talent itself is good, but the Walsh guy prevents them from doing as well as they should.

Samo Lee
Guest

I think he means Baltic as in Scandinavia – Terry Wogan used to say the same as well.

James
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James

IN other news, Brian and a couple of ex-members of Westlife and Boyzone are teaming up for a one-off concert in Manila in the coming weeks. If I could get myself a ticket to watch them perform, I’ll see if I could slap some sense to him. lol
hehehe

OhhHoney
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OhhHoney

Just like a 5 year old having a tantrum because they can’t take a step back and look at what is actually happening around them he has to pass the blame on to someone else. Ireland is to blame for their poor results. Let’s just take a look at France for example. After a change in head of delegation I believe and putting in the effort to make a competition worthy entry they have managed to place 6th and 12th after years and years of embarrassing results. So Mr Fadden don’t you blame the politics or the juries or any… Read more »

Mark
Guest
Mark

Western Europeans use the word ‘politics’ to ease their mind that former communist countries have bested them in a contest on culture.

Also Brian McFadden is a loser.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I want to send Aminata Savadogo around to his house for a cup of tea.

ZMG
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ZMG

You always have the most polite responses 🙂

SebastienXavier
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SebastienXavier

Bring Jedward back then

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Lmao, those whisperers flopped on their second attempt.

Frisian esc
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Frisian esc

They still qualified tho

Andy Lamp
Guest

Waaa someone is butthurt and trying to blame everyone else instead of putting out a decent song.

Jo
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Jo

Of course he wants the old system back, like in the 90s. That’s because it was pretty fair how UK and Ireland finished well every single year, with a jury that prioritised English songs. But I guess it only hurts when you’re the damaged one.

Adam
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Adam

Has he not watched Eurovision in the past couple years? That’s the typical BS excuse used by Western Europe (mainly UK, Ireland, France): blame it on the politics. It’s the most overused and completely stupid arguments in Eurovision. Portugal, a country that has never even been in the top 5, was in nearly EVERY country’s top 3 in the televote and jury. People vote for songs, not for countries. Obviously there’s bias and thats gonna effect it a bit, but the days of “12 points from Croatia to Serbia” or “12 points from Latvia to Lithuania” are over and countries… Read more »

D
Guest
D

Pretty sure he’s just mixing up Baltics with Balkans.

Anyways, the “Eurovision is all political” whining needs to stop soon. How on earth could Portugal win if voting was entirely political, and how could Bulgaria get second place. Just send a good song with a good performance and you’ll do well, it’s that simple.

Richardinho
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Richardinho

He’s talking nonsense. Ireland has pretty much submitted the same boring entry every year for the last 30 years. The Baltic countries, Estonia in particular, produce far more interesting entries.

Möhrant
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Möhrant

I think Brian is a bit out of touch if he thinks the Baltic states are the worst for neighbour voting. For example, though Lithuania gave Koit and Laura 12 points in the televote of semi final 2, Estonia only gave Fusedmarc 1 point. I think it’s just another excuse to try and justify Ireland’s poor performance in the last decade.