Review: How will Nicky Byrne and his song do at Eurovision 2016?
Westlife star Nicky Byrne will launch his solo career at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest – but just how will the song do?
Ireland’s record over the last decade in Eurovision has been incredibly poor, given the strong history we have in the competition.
We’ve only troubled the top ten twice in that period, come last twice and failed to qualify for the final five times.
With Sweden now on course to snatch our Eurovision record, RTE decided to put the boxing gloves on this year.
Taking what they’ve learned over the last decade – and it wasn’t a lot – it’s that experienced, professional artists do better. Much better.
The days of an amateur singing plucked from obscurity winning the competition is long gone – the contest is now a battle of professionals with serious record industry backing.
Much like elections, cash is king in Eurovision - in general well backed entries and artists do much better.
Sweden - by far the most successful country in the competition this century with two wins and multiple top five finishes – has a selection process which the record companies are heavily involved in.
They aim the launch new acts or give their established acts a push on a new album or tour – with the result that completion within the industry in Sweden is fierce.
RTE’s best results have come from professional performers.
Brian Kennedy nabbed 10th place in Athens in 2006, while Jedward came 8th in Dusseldorf in 2011.
Now Nicky Bryne will attempt to better those attempts with his song ‘Sunlight’.
‘Sunlight’ is a mid-tempo pop-rock track, a genre Take That have made their own in recent years.
It falls more into the ‘grower’ than ‘shower’ category – it gets better with each listen, but a Eurovision audience don’t get to hear it multiple times.
However a big positive is that the song sounds modern, it sounds like something you could hear on the radio.
While the Eurovision may still have a reputation for being about cheesy bubble gum pop, the songs which are winning and doing well over the last number of years have all had a commercial, modern sound. ‘Sunlight’ ticks this box.
However this genre of music has a history of mixed results at the competition – if there are too many similar songs it will bode badly for the Dubliner.
It’s not a winning song by any stretch, however there is potential to achieve quite a decent result.
It isn’t out of the question that he will achieve Ireland’s best result in a decade, if the stars align for him.
However on a bad day at the office – a bad performance slot, too many similar sounding songs or no friendly voting nations in our semi – it is possible we might not qualify.
It will all depend on staging, the area RTE have fallen down on so much over the last decade.
Some of our efforts have looked like amateur parish talent show productions compared with most of the entries.
However Nicky will have record label backing, and has declined a fee from RTE in order to plough more money into the staging of the song.
If anyone can make a success of the song on the stage in Stockholm in May, it’s Nicky Bryne.
He has played hundreds of massive arenas and stadiums during his career with Westlife, so the live audience in The Globe arena won’t phase him in the slightest.
While a TV audience of 200 million would make anyone nervous, he’s a pro and will be able to channel and control it.
He has extensive experience in performing on TV and big entertainment shows, so he’ll understand the importance of the stage performance, the visuals and good camera work.
He’ll also be able to handle the media circus surrounding the event, something which could overwhelm less experience singers.
Ultimately it will come down to two basic things, the song and the staging.
The song is good, not great. This means the staging will have to be excellent in order to maximise the result.
Sweden are breathing down our necks and hoping to nab our Eurovision record on home turf – hopefully Nicky Byrne can prove Ireland’s musical Conor McGregor and land a knockout punch.