Inside the Eurovision Song Contest - from Una Foden as a backing singer to Jedward's Baku rain fountain
Published 19/05/2015 | 08:49
Whether you love it or loathe it, the Eurovision Song Contest is a fascinating affair and here in Ireland have a particular love/hate relationship with the competition.
A new book by Eurovision insider Julian Vignoles, who worked with the Irish entries in various capacities from 2003-2012, reveals the inner workings of the contest, the controversies, and the key players of the past ten years.
Inside the Eurovision Song Contest: Music, Glamour, and Myth is crammed full of behind-the-scenes revelations and photos of everything from Una Healy (now Foden) as backing singer for Brian Kennedy in Athens to Jedward's rain fountain glitches in Baku.
The costumes are often a source of huge debate. In 2009, Sinead Mulvey had an expensive dress made specially for her but refused to wear it after her mother saw a rehearsal on Eurovision.tv and told her daughter she 'looked fat'.
A trawl of the streets of Moscow resulted in the purchase of a tutu, but this was discarded after the wind machine blew it up to reveal everything. Sinead ended up wearing a regular t-shirt and leggings.
Then there was the dress disaster of 2010 when a dressmaking firm from Dublin were not impressed that their garment was not the one chosen to be worn by Niamh Kavanagh on the night.
"The story was all over the papers," writes Vignoles, "People in RTE were getting worked up. I remember at what appeared to be the height of the controversy, the day before our semi-final, Sharon Brady, our press officer, and myself were wearily grabbing a coffee in the stadium when the phone rang again.
"At the other end was a senior RTE person: 'How did you manage it?' he asked. 'How do you mean?', I repied, expecting to be told off. 'How did you manage to get such great publicity on the day before the show?'."
There are also the backing singer success stories. Una Foden, of THe Saturdays and The Voice of Ireland judge, sang backing vocals for Brian Kennedy and in 2009 Leanne Moore sang backing vocals for Jedward. She went on to become a journalist and TV presenter.
Of all the Irish acts, Jedward have probably earned one of the most fervent fan bases and continue their quest for world domination. The book features many behind-the-scenes shots of the boys' as they prepped for their Eurovision performances in both 2011 and 2012.
Julian Vignoles, with photos by Kyran O'Brien
Liffey Press, €16.99