On Tuesday, Ireland did not reach the Grand Final of Eurovision for the eighth time in the past decade. Speaking to Ray D’Arcy from Liverpool, the country’s head of delegation Michael Kealy explained the misfortune of the nation and Wild Youth’s non-qualification.
Many on the Emerald Isle pitied the poor result, especially as the country used to be one of the best achieving in the contest’s history. But in the past twenty years, the country has only managed to reach the left-hand side of the scoreboard twice.
“It feels like an annual Groundhog Day”, Michael Kealy stated after receiving his condolences from Ray D’Arcy on the radio.
Michael Kealy on Wild Youth’s non-qualification
Unlike other years, there was more noise surrounding the Irish misfortune.
Following their non-qualification, Wild Youth shared a somewhat controversial Instagram story by Irish singer-songwriter RuthAnne — who has written songs for the likes of Niall Horan, Bebe Rhexa and Westlife — stating that she did not know what Ireland could do next. The text on RuthAnne’s story was “Is it just political at this point?”.
This Instagram story being the only thing the band posted following the semi-final resulted in annoyance among Eurovision fans. This was reignited again after lead singer Conor O’Donohoe wrote in a now retracted Instagram post: “(…) But the truth is they never give ireland a chance, sorry if we let you down.”
Commenting on the aftermath of Wild Youth’s performance, head of delegation Michael Kealy said on RTÉ Radio 1:
“We all got in the bus back to our hotel and then we kinda had a round in the bar. We had a late night drink and a lot of the family and friends of the band were over. It is quite an emotional thing.”
“It is like a lot of time and effort. It’s a lot of emotional capital on our Eurovision effort each year. It’s devastating we don’t get through to the final.”
The Irish act received a lot of critique, with some questioning the song, whereas others focused on the vocals (or lack thereof) and the costumes.
“Conor had a very clear vision of what he wanted to do. He wanted that gold look. He wanted to wear a sparkling gold outfit.”
“[Of course, I could advise him], but it is not my job to impose my artistic vision on them. My job is just to help them realise their artistic vision.”
Ireland in Eurovision 2024: A new national final?
Ray D’Arcy told Michael Kealy that on the famous call-in radio show Liveline, there was a consensus that Ireland had to move away from selecting their entry on the long-time talk show The Late Late Show. Michael agreed, but said that the decision was not up to him.
“The Late Late Show has served us well as it has been the only vehicle of a sufficient scale that we can do to be honest. It’s very limited because of its scale. It’s pretty much the best thing that we can do in that studio, you know. One of the things that I always say, and I’m not going to win any popularity contests for saying it, but RTÉ has been chronically underfunded.”
“It shows to us particularly when going to put on entertainment shows. I think we make the best use of facilities.”
“When it comes to entertainment, you need a scale to make it look as impressive as a show that you would see in other European countries. The truth is: our facilities at RTÉ aren’t sufficient to mount shows like that. [Ray], you’ve been to stations all over Europe the same way that I have and you see the facilities that they have.”
“Finland is a country, suppose, of a similar population size, but they have much more modern studio facilities.”
Meanwhile, Ireland’s last qualifier, singer-songwriter Ryan O’Shaughnessy commented in a string of tweets on the country’s misfortunes. He states that the country should take the same direction of the United Kingdom and outsource its selection to record labels.
Irish Eurovision delegation needs mixing up, I think we should think about doing what UK did a few years back and outsource required jobs to music industry folks like myself #Eurovision2023 …— Ryan O'Shaughnessy (@Ryan_Acoustic) May 11, 2023
Do you agree with the comments from Michael Kealy about Wild Youth and their non-qualification? What do you think about Ireland’s chance to turn the tide at Eurovision 2024? Let us know in the comments down below!