Tuesday 28 March 2017

Lil Wayne's rap on guns and class A drugs gets the Rose of Tralee treatment as contest heats up

Dáíthi Ó Sé with the roses. Picture: Frank McGrath
Dáíthi Ó Sé with the roses. Picture: Frank McGrath
New Orleans Rose Shannon Marie Burke. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath
Dáíthi Ó Sé samba dancing with Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath
Cork Rose Denise Collins demonstrates a classroom science experiment to Ó Sé. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath
Germany Rose Kari Foss raps. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath

Kirsty Blake Knox in Tralee

We've seen it all now, Ted. Lil Wayne's 2008 hit 'A Milli' at the Rose of Tralee. A song about toting guns, consuming class A drugs, venereal diseases, and popcorn millionaire Orville Redenbacher.

Not the usual party piece you find on stage at The Dome.

Cork Rose Denise Collins demonstrates a classroom science experiment to Ó Sé. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath
Cork Rose Denise Collins demonstrates a classroom science experiment to Ó Sé. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath

To suit the sensibilities of the crowd, the rap had been given the "Rose of Tralee treatment".

"I've changed the lyrics to make it more PG," German Rose and rap battle enthusiast Kari Floss explained. "Because y'know it's Lil Wayne."

Late changes were being made during the dress rehearsal yesterday afternoon.

"We've taken the venereal disease part out," a very tense and prickly RTÉ researcher stressed.

New Orleans Rose Shannon Marie Burke. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath
New Orleans Rose Shannon Marie Burke. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath

Instead, Kari rapped about a vague but equally ominous sounding "reoccurring disease".

Kari grew up in Texas and chose the rap as "it was the jam I would listen to in the locker room in high school".

"I've been practising with the escorts - those guys know their rap."

Meanwhile, scientists say the hole in the ozone layer is on the mend, but the skies over Kerry took a battering as the Rose of Tralee finals kicked-off.

Dáíthi Ó Sé samba dancing with Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath
Dáíthi Ó Sé samba dancing with Sydney Rose Brianna Parkins. Picture Credit : Frank Mc Grath

A total of 137 cans of hairspray were emptied and tossed aside to ensure that the 65 Roses’ hairdos were camera-ready.

Still, we probably have no-thing to worry about. Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has gone out of his way of late to remind us that climate change is nothing but a load of hot air and cited the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark as proof. You can’t argue with logic like that.

The Dome was brimming with nervous energy as families, escorts, former Roses and Rosebuds settled into their seats for the first televised night of the 57th festival.

The Roses who didn't make it past Sunday morning's 'Rose Cull' also sat in the audience stoically cheering on their pals.

Germany Rose Kari Foss raps. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath
Germany Rose Kari Foss raps. Picture Credit; Frank Mc Grath

As the lights went down host Dáithí Ó Sé bounded on stage.

Once the garda band and the judges were introduced, the first batch of 18 Roses took to the stage.

Sydney Rose, Brianna Parkins, put Dáithí through his paces when she got him to strap on a sequinned bra and Samba dance around the stage.

Read more: Rappers, fire starters and stage invaders: All the best tweets from a wild night at The Rose of Tralee

Read more: Part sisterhood, and part family wedding - but the Rose is no simple beauty pageant

Backstage, Brianna commended Ó Sé for his enthusiasm, but admitted his "stiff hips" had hampered his performance.

"He is very stiff and very Irish with his hips," she said. "He is definitely not South American."

And there were gasps when Cork Rose Denise Collins set Ó Sé's hands on fire.

"I'm a science teacher so I wanted to bring that to the stage," she said. "But, it's very, very important people don't try that at home."

Dáithí didn't walk away from the experiment unscathed. "I have no hair left on my arms," he lamented. "It's all gone."

And then there was harp and bongo playing, jiving and weaving.

There was another first too, when for the first time in the festival's 57 years - a protester stormed the stage.

As Cavan Rose Lisa Reilly spoke sweetly and serenely about her boyfriend, 'Fathers 4 Justice' founder Matt O'Connor scaled the stage.

Dressed as a priest and waving a banner, O'Connor (49) who is second generation Irish but lives in Clapham, urged the audience to "join him and the broken families of Ireland".

As Dáithí and Lisa stared in disbelief, the sound in The Dome cut off, the VT rolled (Colette) and four fine Kerry security men rugby tackled O'Connor to the ground. After a scuffle, he was picked up and turfed out the back door.

There, according to a Rose of Tralee spokesperson, he was met with members of An Garda Síochána - who escorted him away and presumably gave him a stern talking to.

Back in the dome, the Cavan Rose got not one, not two, but three standing ovations.

Hosting the Rose is a marathon. After seven years helming the show, Ó Sé knows how to make it through the festival in one piece.

"I am staying away from the noise at night.

"The temptation is there alright, you think 'there's a party going on at 4am why amn't I down there?' but I'll make up for it on Tuesday and Wednesday."

As Dáithí perfected his PTC and intros, a team of 35 hair stylists and make up artists from Sean Taffe Hair and Beauty salon were preening the cáilíní.

Over 137 cans of hairspray and countless kirby grips were used to ensure the 65 Roses were coiffed and lacquered to the point of madness.

"The Rose of Tralee is very dressy," General Manager of Sean Taffe Cara O'Shea said.

"It's ball gown hair. It's all about big lashes and a strong lip - everything is high definition. No two girls are allowed to have the same hair style and there is absolutely no shimmer whatsoever."

O'Shea added that "fresh and flawless skin" was a must.

Unfortunately she was unable to reveal the secrets of Dáithí Ó Sé or Mary Kennedy's beauty regime as "RTÉ insist they do their faces."

The remaining fourteen Roses will take to the dome stage tonight. "There's nothing between these Roses. The judges have a hard task," Dáithí said.

Irish Independent

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