SONG and dance experts are to be brought in to help fine tune the brother and sister act who will be representing us in the upcoming Eurovision song contest.
The public's choice of ginger-haired siblings Donna and Joseph McCaul as this year's winner of RTE's 'You're a Star' show on Sunday night, has drawn a mixed reaction ranging from all-out support to shocked indignation for their rendition of 'Love?', an up-tempo pop tune written by Karl Broderick, that featured an Irish dance routine in the middle of the performance.
The most vocal of its critics, former Eurovision winner Linda Martin has dismissed the pair as "childish and inexperienced", without any "star quality" who have no hope of winning the song contest.
RTE yesterday refused to be drawn on the choice but in a bid to give the teenage singers a fighting chance when they vie to be among the finalists at Eurovision 2005 in Kiev this May, the duo from Athlone, Co Westmeath will be meeting with 'You're a Star's' musical director Ronan Johnstone and choreographer Darren Crosbie this week to plot their strategy over the next eight weeks. However, RTE refused to respond to criticism that the show has lost the plot and is pandering to provincialism and sentimentality. Some have even claimed that the show has degenerated into a cynical money-making scheme for RTE, which gets a cut of the revenue generated by the 60 cents charged for each phone or text vote. RTE has denied such a claim.
But even some fans of the show are not impressed. According to some comments posted on 'You're a Star's' own online message board, RTE has an uphill battle on its hands to deliver Eurovision hopefuls who won't guarantee nul points on the night if they make it to the finals. According to one viewer from Wexford, "Donna and Joseph McCaul had better watch out or they'll have a very irate Israeli transvestite stalking them soon. That awful song 'Love' is nothing more than a rubbish copy of the equally awful Eurovision winner from Dana international. As if the song wasn't bad enough, they add a bit of Irish dancing in the middle. Why not do the job properly and have some leprechauns swinging shillelighs over their heads!!" Another viewer remarked: "All the songs sound as if there was an aul fella sitting behind the stage on a Yamaha keyboard!"
RTE had promised to change tack on the show after last year's disastrous showing at Eurovision in Istanbul, where singer Chris Doran came in with a disappointing seven points, leaving Ireland to compete in a semi-final contest with 25 other countries before being considered for the ten spots in the final on May 21.