Entertainment Music

Saturday 18 November 2017

Comment: Ireland's 2017 Eurovision entry fits RTE's recent run of musical mediocrity

Louis Walsh and Brendan Murray appear on the Late Late Show
Louis Walsh and Brendan Murray appear on the Late Late Show
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

When Irish Eurovision fans heard Louis Walsh was involved in selecting this year's Eurovision entry, embers of hope were created that Ireland could qualify for the final for the first time in four years.

The music supremo was been involved in some form or other with almost half of Ireland's Eurovision winners throughout the 80s and 90s.

He was also behind our best performing entry in over a decade with Jedward's 'Lipstick' in 2011.

So understandably hopes were raised that former Hometown member Brendan Murray could break the mediocre run of results we've experience in the six years since the Lucan twins stormed into the top ten in Dusseldorf.

Hopes were further raised when it was revealed Jörgen Elofsson - who penned many of Westlife's biggest hits - would be writing the song 'Dying to Try'.

Unfortunately the song sounds like something that was left on the cutting room floor of a Westlife album. Track 16 on a 15 track album.

Ireland hopeful Ryan Dolan
Ireland hopeful Ryan Dolan

It's not a write-off by any stretch, it has haunting verses and the classic big key change at the end - but will that be enough to qualify?

Ryan Dolan's underrated entry in Malmo in 2013 was the last time Ireland made it to the final of the annual music competition.

Despite a strong song and stage performance, the Tyrone native came last after suffering from a new voting system introduced that year, which would have seen him finish just outside the top ten in the years previous.

Unfortunately blame for our failures since then have been down to poor staging of songs which did have potential to qualify.

Brendan finds himself in the unenviable position of being in one of the toughest semi finals we have been in so far. The UK are voting in the other semi final, with Norway and Denmark the only other countries in our semi final with a fairly friendly voting history with us.

The song again falls into that category of a potential qualifier. Brendan has a fantastic voice and plenty of live experience, and a strong visual could really lift an otherwise average ballad.

Jedward during a press confrence after they qualifed for the Final in Dusseldorf at the Eurovision Song Contest
Jedward during a press confrence after they qualifed for the Final in Dusseldorf at the Eurovision Song Contest

But unfortunately this is where RTE have fallen down - rather than the staging of our recent entries elevating the song, in most cases they've detracted from it.

The contest has moved on from the 1990s, a good song alone is no longer enough.

We can moan and complain about how things have changed - or realise that in 2017 a good song only makes half a winner, good staging is the other piece of the puzzle.

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