Saturday 23 September 2017

Ranked: Ireland's top five Eurovision entries this century

Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

Ireland's 1990s heyday in the Eurovision seems like a distant memory; but the 2000s haven't been all bad. We rank Ireland's top five best entries so far this century.

5. Niamh Kavanagh - It's for you (2010 - Oslo)

We love to gaze misty eyed back at our previous glory, however 1993 winner Niamh Kavanagh attempted to bring it back in 2010.

Ireland had been going through its worst ever run of results, failing to make the previous two finals and coming dead last in 2007 final.

She delivered a confident, assured performance - and looked like she's barely aged a day since 1993.

Her choice of purple dress grabbed the headlines, but her powerful vocals dispelled any discussion of her fashion  choice.

The celtic-tinged ballad finally broke Ireland's qualification drought, and brought us back to the grand final.

Although it didn't light up the scoreboard in the final, that was down more to the changed tastes of the Eurovision audience rather than any failure on the song's part.

 

 

4. Mickey Joe Harte - We've got the world (2003 - Riga)

The first winner of talent show 'You're a Star', the Donegal man presented one of our catchiest entries ever.

Although similarities to Denmark's 2000 winning song song 'Fly on the Wings of Love' caused some controversy, it didn't stop the song reaching the top ten in Riga.

He performed against infamous Russian duo TATU, who had the media speculating that they would perform the contest's first lesbian kiss on stage.

Some speculated that that many broadcasters would cut the feed if the kiss took place - same sex kisses are almost as common as glitter sequins in the contest these days.

In any event the kiss didn't happen - and TATU didn't win in one of the contest's biggest upsets.

 

3. Ryan Dolan - Only Love Survives (2013 - Malmo)

The Tyrone man represented Ireland the last time we made it to the final, in 2013.

Not only was it a modern pop song, it was also notable for its very slick staging.

It ticked many of the Eurovision boxes - a good looking young singer, topless backing dancers and a strong dance beat complimenting an energetic performance.

Again it wasn't to be on the scoreboard; a new way of amalgamating the public and jury scores that year saw the song finish last - under the previous year's rules it would have come just outside the top ten.

 

2. Brian Kennedy - 'Every Song is a Cry for Love (2006 - Athens)

Brian Kennedy finished 10th in the Eurovision final - although the scale of this achievement can sometimes go unappreciated.

Just one year later the EBU would be forced to change the rules of the competition due to political voting preventing any western European countries qualifying for the final in 2007.

So Brian Kennedy managing to qualify and finish in the top ten during that period of Eurovision was an amazing achievement and a testament to both the strength of the song and performance of the singer.

Originally presented acoustically on the Late Late Show Eurosong special, it was re-worked to add base to the second half to give it the necessary Eurovision 'umph'.

Keep an eye on the backing singers; a very young Una Healy from the Saturdays lent her support on vocals.

 

1. Jedward - Lipstick (2011 - Dusseldorf)

Who knew when those spikey haired twins bounced on to X Factor just two years previous they'd offer our best Eurovision entry in well over a decade?

2011 was notable for Ireland in many ways - not only were we sending an act at the peak of their popularity, but they had an incredibly catchy, modern pop song to boot.

For the first time in a long time, Ireland were being touted as potential winners.

The incredible stage show featured Jedward silhouettes dancing as graphics - complemented by the boys in red glitter blazers.

For once Ireland set an example in how to stage a Eurovision entry, no longer desperately behind our competitors in stage shows.

Unfortunately it was not to be - Jedward performed during the first ten songs in the final in a cluster of the other up-tempo favourites, which damaged all their chances.

Just over a year later the rules were changed to allow the producers to select the running order to prevent too many of the same style of song being grouped together by a random draw. Who knows where Jedward would have come if these rules had been around in 2011?

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