The weekend is a time of rest. But when you’re in the Eurofandom, it can also be a busy period of being swept up in wild speculation. It’s January. News is slow to drip out. And Lord knows we all spend a great deal of time trying to connect the dots wherever and whenever they appear. It’s fair, it’s fun and it helps pass the time until Eurovision arrives in May.
And so it went on Saturday when Eurofans rushed to suggest that former One Direction singer Niall Horan was headed to the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 for Ireland. The source of this apparent news was a series of screen grabs shared by a user in the ESC Nation forum. The grabs appeared to depict an article from the Irish Mirror web site entitled, “Niall Horan to take on Eurovision as RTÉ set sights high for 2019 contest in Israel.”
One problem: the article is not on the Mirror web site. That led various fan sites to report that the article had been deleted. But deleted articles will still show up in Google’s cache for a certain period of time. This article has not been showing up. At all.
And there’s another issue: The article was timestamped as 23:28, 5 Jan 2019. That’s rather strange given that the grabs appeared in forums and on fan sites several hours before this time. The thinking seemed to go that maybe the article had been leaked or published early. Even so, timestamps are published in real time. They stamp the time.
Closer inspection of the article also shows several grammar and syntax errors that a native English-speaking journalist would likely pick up. It also violates house style rules for the Mirror, such as incorrectly writing “25 year old” rather than “25-year-old.”
There’s also the omission of rather important commas. Surely any journalist or copy editor would know to put commas after Mullingar and One Direction to separate the parenthetical phrase: “The 25 year old from Mullingar who has racked over 70 million in record sales as part of One Direction signed agreements with the national broadcaster yesterday.”
So the screengrabs could be Photoshop fakes. Or maybe they’re real and the article was simply unedited and accidentally published several hours early and then erased from Google’s cache? To many it’s possible.
But enough speculation. We went to Ireland’s Head of Delegation to find out once and for all if Niall Horan has been selected to sing at Eurovision 2019.
Michael Kealy made it clear that RTÉ has not yet finalised its plans for the song contest.
He told Wiwibloggs, “At the moment we are still going through the 430 songs we received, so it’s a bit early to rule anything in or out definitively!”
Kealy also compared the Niall Horan rumour to last year’s rumour, where Johnny Rotten was tipped as Ireland’s act for Lisbon. While the punk legend was revealed to be under consideration, RTÉ did not select him for Eurovision.
What do you make of all this? Do you think the Irish Mirror screengrabs are fake? Do you think that they’re real and the paper is just waiting for the right moment to publish them? Could negotiations for Niall to sing at Eurovision be ongoing? Is RTÉ being cheekily coy? Let us know your thoughts below!