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Friday 30 September 2016

Veteran Eurovision producer Frank McNamara on Nicky Byrne's loss: 'I lay the blame firmly at RTE's door'

Sean O'Grady

Published 14/05/2016 | 10:24

Ireland's Nicky Byrne performs the song 'Sunlight'.
Ireland's Nicky Byrne performs the song 'Sunlight'.
Nicky Byrne and team Ireland in the Green Room waiting for the result
Linda Martin
Nicky Byrne on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm (AP)

Eurovision veterans have urged RTE to change the selection process of choosing Ireland's entry for the contest after Nicky Byrne failed to qualify for the final.

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The Westlife star left fans reeling on Thursday night when his performance of Sunlight didn't make an impression on voters.

Although the Dubliner's performance was praised by viewers on social media, it wasn't enough to see him through to the main event.

The pop star's flop result marks the third year in a row Ireland have failed to qualify for the final.

Nicky Byrne on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm (AP)
Nicky Byrne on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm (AP)

Music producer Frank McNamara, who arranged songs for two of Ireland's winning acts, has slammed the broadcaster for not letting the public decide on this year's entry.

"I lay the blame firmly at RTE's door. They receive most of our TV licence revenue. I don't think they have done the public a service with this Eurovision debacle," he told the Herald.

"The issue is not with Nicky's performance, but the whole process of selection. RTE took it upon themselves to autocratically select a song and a singer without a competition.

"We had the winning formula before. National Song Contest (Eurosong). Why not go back to the system that produced seven winners?"

Nicky Byrne and team Ireland in the Green Room waiting for the result
Nicky Byrne and team Ireland in the Green Room waiting for the result

Read more: Five things RTE need to do to return Ireland to Eurovision glory

Meanwhile, former Eurovision winner Linda Martin revealed she thinks the broadcaster should consider changing the selection process.

"Maybe RTE should start going out and actually look for people," she said.

"I'm talking nationwide, I don't just mean Dublin.

Linda Martin
Linda Martin

"Maybe they should start putting out messages, come along on whatever night and sing for us, let's see what you are made of."

"[That] was what used to be done in the old days.

"They need to get a committee together and go off and do it, but I don't know if they would be willing to do that or not."

Bosses at the national broadcaster told this newspaper they would be considering several different possibilities to deliver a better result for the country in next year's competition.

Read more: 'A lot of western European countries are out' - Nicky Byrne suggests Eurovision exit may be down to political voting

"I was delighted with Nicky's performance," an RTE spokesman said.

"He did himself and his country proud.

"One of the things that we have always done is change our selection process. We have tried a lot of different methods."

"Everything will be under consideration at the moment," he added.

Herald

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