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Saturday 23 August 2014

Linda Martin and Aslan star have stand-up row during Eurovision sing-off

Published 28/02/2014 | 22:13

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Linda Martin and Billy McGuinness of Aslan have a stand up row on the Late Late Show during the Eurovision singoff - 28.2.14
Linda Martin and Billy McGuinness of Aslan have a stand-up row on the Late Late Show during the Eurovision sing-off.
Linda Martin confronts Billy McGuinness.
Sisters Valerie Roe, Gillian Quinn and Bernie Caffolla got together to ROE in behind Patricia Roe earlier this week.

Heartbeat has been announced as the winner in Eurosong.

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Kasey Smith, from Can-Linn will represent Ireland in the semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen in May.

Tensions rose earlier as Eurosong contestant Laura O’Neill took to the stage to perform ‘You Don’t Remember Me’.

Former Eurovision winner Linda Martin and and Aslan star Billy McGuinness became involved in a battle of words.

The Aslan star, who is acting as a mentor to Ms O'Neill, believes that Louis Walsh should no longer be involved in Eurovision selections.

McGuinness spoke angrily from his seat in the audience and lashed out at Louis Walsh’s involvement in the panel.

Walsh mentored contestant Eoghan Quigg on X Factor and he once cast singer Kasey Smith in girl band ‘Wonderland’.

McGuinness claimed that tonight’s competition is “not a level playing field”.

After a stellar performance from O’Neill, a spat broke out once again which saw judge Linda Martin rising from her seat.

She approached McGuinness in the audience and claimed he was an “odious little man”.

However, Ryan Tubridy asked the panel and audience “not to lose sight of what was happening”, and Maia Dunphy described the Eurosong hopeful as “amazing”.

The winner Kasey Smith was tipped as the favourite to fly the flag in Coppenhagen earlier in the week by bookies Ladbrokes.

Smith, who is mentored by Hazel Kaneswaren, also garnered collective support from the judging panel.

The singer came second in the national contest last year with the song ‘Kiss Me There - but tonight she fronted the traditional group with the pop song ‘Heartbeat’ tonight.

Louis Walsh described Can-Linn's performance as “an amazing production”.

“This is what it’s all about,” he said.

Broadcaster Maia Dunphy said that the traditional “Irish element was brilliant”.

Five acts sang their hearts out tonight for the chance to perform at the 59th Eurovision Song Contest.

Ryan Tubridy hosted ‘The Late Late Show Eurosong’ special alongside a panel comprised of Eurovision stalwart Martin, The Voice host Eoghan McDermott, pop impresario Walsh and broadcaster Maia Dunphy.

Earlier this week Louis Walsh had been criticised over alleged close connections to select acts.

However, he refuted these claims and said he was “close to everybody”.

The five hopefuls were mentored over the last number of weeks by coaches selected by RTE.

Patricia Roe took to the stage first and came under criticism for her ballad ‘Don’t Hold On’ penned by herself.

Her sister- and mentor- Valerie Roe introduced her performance and said she wrote the tune about an old relationship.

However, it didn’t please the entire panel. Eoghan McDermott described it is “inoffensive” while Linda Martin said it was “dated”.

Former X Factor hopeful Eoghan Quigg performed ‘The Movie Song’ written by Karl Broderick.

Quigg was mentored by Mark Murphy and earlier received support on Twitter from One Direction star Niall Horan.

Linda Martin said she “loved" both the song and audience's reaction to it.

“I don’t know about winning the Eurovision. 

“But I know Eoghan and he is a stellar perform,” she added, tipping the song as a serious contender.

Eurovision legend Johnny Logan performed his hits ‘What’s Another Year’ and ‘Hold Me Now’ in a pair of gold leather pants.

He initially refused to comment on the spat that had marred the contest, but later he said Billy McGuinness “had every right to express his feelings”.

However, he said he was unsure if the comments directed at Louis Walsh were “fair”.

He claimed it was unfair that One Direction star Niall Horan had tweeted to his fans this week to vote a certain way.

Ireland has incredible success in the Eurovision song contest over the years, winning it a total of seven times since it first entered in 1964.

Last year’s entry Ryan Dolan finished in last place.

This year’s entry will have to compete in the second heat of the semi-final on May 8, to qualify for the final in Coppenhagen on May 10.

Emma Jane Hade

Watch Billy McGuinness's comments about the judging panel earlier today

Rows, conspiracy theories and power ballads – ah yes, it must be Eurosong

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