Ireland’s Eurovision woes continued in Turin last night when Brooke Scullion’s That’s Rich failed to make the grade for Saturday night’s final.
Derry girl Brooke (23) gave a stunning performance of her catchy pop entry, but it failed to make the top 10 of the second semi-final in order to qualify.
It was the seventh time in the last eight contests that Ireland has not progressed beyond the semi-final stage.
Belgium, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Australia, Sweden, Romania and Serbia made it through to the final, where they will meet Tuesday night’s 10 semi-finalists, including contest favourites, Ukraine folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra.
There was shock and disappointment among Brooke’s fans as she failed to qualify despite an electric performance, which many agreed was Ireland’s best in years, with the hashtag #robbed trending on social media.
Brooke later tweeted that she was “beyond proud of this experience”, adding, “thank you to my wonderful team. I will never forget @eurovision.”
She added: “Onto the next.”
The last Irish Eurovision winner, Eimear Quinn, congratulated Brooke on an “amazing job”, but added on Twitter: “I’m so disappointed for you.”
Niamh Kavanagh, winner of the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland, congratulated Brooke on a “fantastic” performance, adding that “you did us proud”.
However, another previous Irish entrant also had words of consolation.
Fans of Ireland’s entry took to social media to vent their ire at the fact Brooke’s entry did not make the final.
One Twitter user wrote: “It’s going to take me a while to emotionally recover from this,” while another said they were “going through the five stages of grief for Ireland”.
Kerry TD Brendan Griffin jokingly questioned whether Eimear Quinn “honked the horn passing a funeral coming home from Eurovision ‘96 or something?” adding the #robbed hashtag.
Comedian Oliver Callan said: “I’m fuming here! Poor Brooke! Who was handling the votes?! Thierry Henry?”
And Alison Spittle had another plan for how to deal with the disappointment.
Brooke whipped the Eurovision crowd into a frenzy and went even further with a chorus of “Olé olé olé olé olé” at the end.
It’s A Sin actor and musician Olly Alexander said Brooke "killed it" with her performance, while many were in agreement 'That's Rich' was Ireland's best entry to the contest in years.
Saturday's final will also include the automatically qualifying founding countries France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, who are this year represented by Sam Ryder.
Brooke used her experience of featuring in The Voice UK, in which she finished third in season nine, to calm her nerves and deliver a strong performance full of energy and confidence.
She said she had been overwhelmed by the support shown to her in the lead-up to the contest, particularly from home.
A restaurant in her hometown of Bellaghy, Co Derry, even went so far as to name a pizza in her honour, the Brooke Special.
Derry Girls star Jamie Lee O’Donnell also reached out, offering words of encouragement.
Brooke said: “Us Derry Girls stick together, that’s epic.”
She revealed that former Eurovision winner Dana had been in touch with advice and had told her “how proud she was of me”, while pop guru Louis Walsh met with her to offer wisdom and grounding.
Brooke, whose Eurovision entry That’s Rich was co-written by her, Karl Zine and Izzy Warner, recently revealed she will soon be creating new songs with her mentor and All About That Bass star Meghan Trainor.
“My EP is dropping maybe the day after the competition,” she said. “I’m heading to LA to write with Meghan when everything calms down.
“You know, I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my life. It’s just so surreal.”
Speaking ahead of the competition, she said: “Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, do you get nervous before you go on stage?’ And I’m like, ‘No’, because I’ve done the work.
“I know I’m ready. At this moment, this is exactly where I’m meant to be. And I’m thrilled to be here.”
Ireland last reached the final in 2018, but has only managed to make one final in the past nine years.
Jedward’s John and Edward Grimes were the last Irish entry to achieve a top 10 finish with their catchy number Lipstick.
Ryan O’Shaughnessy made the final in 2018 with Together and finished in 16th place overall.
Ireland is still the country with the most wins at the Eurovision with seven, followed by Sweden with six and France, the UK, Netherlands and Luxembourg all on five.
Ireland has made 54 appearances in total at the Eurovision, reaching 45 finals since the first entry in 1965 in Naples.
Johnny Logan remains the only dual winner of the competition with What’s Another Year (1980) and Hold Me Now (1987).
He also wrote Linda Martin’s winning entry in 1992, Why Me.
Other Irish winners of the contest include Dana with All Kinds of Everything (1970), Niamh Kavanagh singing In Your Eyes (1993), Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan with Rock ’n’ Roll Kids (1994) and Eimear Quinn’s The Voice in 1996.