LAST Sunday's You're a Star show, on RTE, has drawn both an ambivalent and acerbic reaction from music industry insiders. Previous Eurovision winner Linda Martin excoriated the ginger-haired siblings, Donna and Joseph McCaul, who were chosen by the public as the winners.
She dismissed the pair as "childish, inexperienced" and without star quality.
"We have less than no chance this year, they don't have the right image. Other countries send their stars; some have already sold millions of records. How can we compete when we send the likes of those two?" said diva Martin.
A surprised and defensive Larry Bass, executive producer of You're a Star, says: "It's a mystery to me why Linda Martin blasted the show. We made sure we showcased the very best. The standard was much higher this time. We set out to do something different, and we achieved that target."
Did Linda regard her attack as a career move?
"I am not sure that she has helped in the process of her becoming a panellist again. She was a fantastic panellist; we had her guest during this show. I was taken aback by her comments which questioned the credibility of panellist Barbara Galavan. Barbara is at a level that Linda has never seen. What the media has not mentioned is the different time slot, previously 8pm, now 6.30pm. That's a more challenging spot but we have better viewership figures than the previous incumbent."
Some people believe the panel lacked credibility because the mighty Louis Walsh was missing. "I have been so busy, I didn't see the show. G4 are Number 1 this week, and we are holding auditions in May for X Factor - Belfast, by the way - so you can imagine how frenetic it has been. No, I didn't see the show, but I heard it was amateur hour.
"Why would a great songwriter give their song to an amateur? When Brian McFadden wrote one, it came back to haunt him. Phil, Linda and I decided that we were not going back, we have had enough, people would only get fed up of us. But as a panel, we had the most to offer from a music perspective: Phil has written Eurovision songs, Linda has sung and won the Eurovision and I have managed various acts.
"Linda was just being honest, she is always kind and considerate to young performers - she was fabulous on X Factor. It was a big mistake using a nobody who wants to be a somebody, like Barbara Galavan. I don't know who she is - I never heard of her. Dave Fanning is too old, too tired and not-too-talented. Hazel Kaneswaren brought the common touch to it."
Succinctly put, as usual!