PANTO Dame and Eurovision Queen Linda Martin has been working in the entertainment business for 44 years.
But the defining moment of her career will always be winning the 1992 Eurovision with power ballad Why Me?
Now the song contest has become something of a joke to Irish audiences.
According to Linda, the sloppy Euro Song selection process and RTE are to blame.
“I think they should take RTE out of it,” she said.
“Going on the Late Late doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked. Coming last is a no-no. Especially when there are so many talented performers and song writers in Ireland.
“In Sweden they turn it into a national event – an occasion, something special. It isn’t just tacked onto a Friday night chat show.
“Singers perform in a 19,000 strong arena. You need to see the acts on a stage that size, get a sense of the spectacle of it all.
“You can’t do that in a corner of the Late Late,“ she added.
Linda says as a country we bit the hand that fed us when Dustin the Turkey represented Ireland in the 2008 contest in Belgrade. Dustin’s song Douze Pointe failed to make it through the semi finals.
“It was disgraceful, Dustin destroyed the Eurovision for us,” she added.
But Linda is hopeful we can regain respect within the Eurovision.
“I think we can win again and we will win again,” she said.
Before all that, Linda is busy working away on this year’s Olympia pantomime, Beauty and The Beast.
“I’m the wicked mother. It’s my fourth year doing it,” she said.
“I started out wicked then became a good fairy and now I’m wicked again. I prefer it that way.
“I quite like it when they boo and they hiss at me.”
There is plenty of panto competition between the Gaiety’s Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, the Tivoli’s Jack and the Beanstalk and Twink’s staging of Aladdin.
But Linda says there is one defining aspect that sets the Olympia panto apart.
“Jedward. It’s all down to the boys. They are the attraction. They have fans everywhere – in Japan, Sweden, Canada.
“Forget about the sets and the costumes – people want to see them.”
She also says if she had ventured farther afield in her career, she would have loved to work as a Vegas showgirl.
“I love the costumes and the sparkle,” Linda added.