Will Ferrell is hanging out at Eurovision, but Ryan O'Shaughnessy is focused on 'mammoth task' ahead of him tonight

Will Ferrell (centre) with Ireland's dancer Kevin O'Dwyer, and backing singers Janet Grogan and Remy Anna on Eurovision blue carpet

Sean O'Grady

Eurovision hopeful Ryan O'Shaughnessy has said the "mammoth task" ahead has only just dawned on him as he prepares to perform in front of millions of viewers across Europe tonight.

The Skerries musician (25) will represent Ireland with his song, Together, and believes that after a string of losses it's our time to shine again.

"I'm feeling really good. There's a big Irish flag on the wall and I have my friends around me," he said from Lisbon.

"I'll be representing my country, and it's only just dawned on me the mammoth task I'm facing and how important it is for Ireland to succeed this year in the contest. I think we're on the right path."

Ryan O’Shaughnessy rehearsing yesterday. Photo: Andres Poveda Photography

Eurovision commentator Marty Whelan recently joined the Irish delegation in the Portuguese capital and has been imparting words of wisdom to Ryan after his years of experience.

"It's great having Marty here," said Ryan.

Ryan O’Shaughnessy with RTE’s Eurovision commentator Marty Whelan. Photo: Andres Poveda Photography

"It's his 20th year of Eurovision and he knows a lot of people, so he's been introducing me and he's been giving me a few tips as well on how to cope with the nerves. But to be honest, I don't really feel too nervous because I've got great people around me and I think we're feeling confident in our performance."

If Ryan qualifies for Saturday's final, he will be the first Irish act to get that far since Ryan Dolan in 2013.

"It's an honour to be asked to perform for my country," he said.

"It's not something I take lightly and hopefully I'll go out with the energy and support of my Irish brothers and sisters and do us proud."

Eurovision has attracted A-list celebrities in recent years, including Justin Timberlake in 2016.

Hollywood actor Will Ferrell is in Lisbon to enjoy the show, amid rumours that he is working on a Eurovision documentary for Netflix.

Ryan is joined in Lisbon by his family, including his uncle Gary O'Shaughnessy, who represented Ireland in the contest in 2001 with the song Without Your Love.

His girlfriend Ailbhe has also jetted in to support Ryan and will be sitting with his friends and family for the performance tonight.  She said it was "surreal" watching him perform during the dress rehearsal.

"I was so happy for him," she said.  "His voice sounded amazing through the arena.  The overall performance was so beautiful and really showed the story he was telling."

She added, "Everybody has landed now and are so excited to see his performance.  We have all our Irish flags at the ready!".

The Eurovision semi-final airs tonight on RTE2 at 8pm

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