Five reasons why Ireland can win the Eurovision again
Our Eurovison expert has landed in Lisbon and gives us five reasons to be hopeful for Saturday's final
We're not running away with ourselves here - but Ireland is definitely going to win the Eurovision Song Contest again on Saturday.
Fickle we may be - for years we pretended we didn't care about the Eurovision.
But since Ireland's Ryan O'Shaughnessy qualified for the final last night from the "semi final of death" (DEATH lads, the losers were executed) - we've been swept up in a wave of nostalgic Eurovision nationalism.
Bunting is being dusted off, Eurovison parties planned and sparkly Fr Ted blazers flying off the shelves as we prepare for win number eight.
Sure wouldn't they all love to come to Dublin next May for some overpriced pints and rain?
Right, now that our trip to fantasy land is over - can Ireland actually ever win this thing again? Here's five reasons to be hopeful.
Song with all the feels
Yes, shocking though it may be, the strength of our song plays well in this song competition. Lyrically, it's probably the strongest of any entry this year (although that's not hard when you're competing with gems such as 'Luna moon me up' and being 'stronger than cannonballs'). The heartbreaking lyrics played off the sweetness of Ryan's vocal work a treat.
Two types of song broadly have been winning Eurovison of late - uptempo party songs (Sweden's Euphoria and Heroes) or ones that pack an emotional punch (Portugal last year, Ukraine in 2016 and Conchita for Austria in 2014). And our song punches you right in the heart, in a non violent or heart attack-inducing fashion.
economy staging, stupid
For years, we have lagged sorely behind our fellow Europeans in the staging of our entries. Staging doesn't mean a gimmick - it doesn't require someone on a unicycle projected by rockets playing a nose flute. Staging just means presenting the song in a way that the viewer can visually understand the story as well as listening to the lyrics. Social media was alight with the 'goosebump moment' of last night's Irish entry as snow fell on stage and the camera swept behind the dancers to reveal a sea of lights in the audience. We got it so right this year.
Ryan is a man with a plan
It always helps when the performer believes that their song will qualify, and since day one Ryan spoke of how he felt he'd make the cut. While the rest of us were cursing and plotting Irexit awaiting slot number 10 last night, Ryan still thought it would be them. Sure enough it was. In recent years it's felt on occasion that we've been beaten before the first note of the song has been sang. The confidence and belief shown by the Irish team has paid off.
We have been drawn to perform in the second half of the final, which is always a massive boost for the televote. While juries (who account for 50pc of the final score) tend to take in everything, viewers at home are more prone to remember something they've seen recently. We don't want to come on too late, as people start to shut down around song 25 - but if we can land a nice slot between 16 and 22 we'll be off to a great start.
Anyone can win
For the early part of this century we blamed a mass eastern conspiracy for our Eurovision woes. "No Western country will ever win again, they have it sown up", angry liveline callers would shout. Well if that was true (which it wasn't), it certainly isn't the case now. In the last ten years, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Portugal have all won. Add to that Sweden's two wins over the same period. Last year, Portugal won for the first time in its 53 year history at Eurovison. Their best result prior to that was sixth place.
Eurovison has always been an unpredictable machine. Anyone can win. That means us too.
Ryan O'Shaughnessy will perform in the final of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest this Saturday at 8pm on RTE One.