He was only officially confirmed as Ireland’s Creative Director for Eurovision 2020 on Thursday. But Philly McMahon is already making big promises about the country’s song for Rotterdam. Speaking in a weekend interview, the ThisIsPopBaby founder described it as “an almighty bop”.
Ireland at Eurovision 2020 — “An almighty bop”
Talking to RTÉ 2FM’s Louise McSharry on Sunday, McMahon turned the hype machine up to 90. Audibly excited about the Emerald Isle’s 2020 effort, he called the chosen song “an almighty bop”.
Careful not to spill all the beans, he continues “it is taking all of me… I can’t even allude to anything else. What I kind of thought when hearing the song is that in 10 years’ time we will still be dancing to this song”.
When pushed by McSharry on whether the song matches up to Loreen’s “Euphoria” — Sweden’s Eurovision 2012 winning entry and a number one hit in Ireland — he answered in the affirmative.
“I think we’re up there! I think this is a new direction for Ireland. We haven’t heard this style of song and the act is just bloody cool”.
Ireland’s Eurovision 2020 act
Speaking of the act, McMahon remains somewhat tight-lipped.
“It all starts with the song. Whatever about a show or production, it has to start with the song. I’ve been chatting with RTÉ for a long time about this. And they came to be and they played this song and I thought ‘actually, yes. I can really, really get on board with this. I can really do something with this’. So, I’m very excited about the artist. No, I wasn’t involved in picking the song”.
McSharry raises his earlier comments that the act will be LGBTQ+. McMahon confirms that is the case but doesn’t elaborate further, save that he came into the process after the act had been selected.
ThisIsPopBaby has made its name working with drag acts such as Panti Bliss and staging circus style variety shows like Riot. What can we expect on stage in May?
“Our job is really to support the song. You can’t dress something up that it’s not. Our job is to make a really brilliant pop moment in three minutes… We’re gonna smash it this year”.
When asked where previous Irish entry had gone wrong, Philly highlighted the small size of Ireland’s pop scene and the country’s struggle to grasp the modern contest.
In the ’90s, we really settled into a groove… we really owned that. And then when the competition went through a massive change, Ireland didn’t really understand what that change was. But here’s my thoughts on the past entries over the past however many years. Nobody goes to Eurovision thinking that they’ve got a bad song.
I think what’s worked against us is that we just don’t have a massive pop industry in the country. And so in terms of talent development… if you look at Swedish or Australian entries, you’re talking about massive record labels behind those, massive development periods, massive songwriting hubs — none of which we have. So, our kind of stock in trade is a ballad. We have succeeded with that in the past and we also haven’t succeeded with that in the past.
What do you think of McMahon’s comments? Do you believe the hype? Let us know in the comments below.