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Tuesday 11 December 2018

Ireland wins a place at the Eurovision grand final after wowing with ballad

Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s song was accompanied by two male dancers playing out the romantic story of a couple.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy celebrates after securing a place in the Eurovision final (Armando Franca/AP)
Ryan O’Shaughnessy celebrates after securing a place in the Eurovision final (Armando Franca/AP)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Ireland has made it through to the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest – for the first time since 2013.

Former Britain’s Got Talent star Ryan O’Shaughnessy succeeded in getting through to the next stage after singing his ballad Together, about the end of a love affair, at the semi-final in Lisbon.

The UK, as one of the “Big Five” countries, is already assured a place in Saturday’s grand final.

O’Shaughnessy’s ballad was accompanied by two male dancers acting out the romantic story of a couple, which got a huge cheer from the audience.

With seven victories, Ireland is the most successful country at the contest, but finished in last place at the final in 2013.

Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest

Israel also made it through and led the way when it came to the most eccentric performances, with its singer “clucking like a chicken”.

Netta Barzilai, who performed her song Toy, has been the favourite with bookmakers to win this year’s competition.

She was dubbed “Bjork on steroids” for her energetic performance.

The first of the two semi-finals – with the second to air on Thursday – also saw former X Factor contestant Saara Aalto make it through to Saturday night, representing Finland.

The UK will be hoping for its first Eurovision win in more than two decades.

Singer-songwriter SuRie is representing the UK this year with the song Storm.

The event was screened live on BBC Four, with commentary from Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills and Rylan Clark-Neal.

The Eurovision Song Contest final will air on May 12 on BBC One at 8pm.

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