Thursday 23 November 2017

Eurosong on the Late Late Show review -'as ridiculous as always, run to the same format as always…it was two hours of rambling, absurd, vaguely shambolic fun'

Molly Sterling performs Playing with Numbers, co-written with Greg French on the Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture: Andres Poveda
Molly Sterling performs Playing with Numbers, co-written with Greg French on the Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture: Andres Poveda
***Embargoed untill each act appears live*** Repro Free:27/02/2015 Nikki Kavanagh pictured singing Memories, written by Lee Anna James, Elena Morosanu, Simon Gribbe, Johnny Sanchez & Dimitri Stassos on the RT? Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture Andres Poveda
Erika Selin pictured singing Break Me Up Picture Andres Poveda
Molly Sterling performs Playing with Numbers, co-written with Greg French on the RTE Late Late Show Eurosong special. Picture Andres Poveda
Ryan Tubridy pictured with Eurovision hopefuls, from left, Kat Mahon , Nikki Kavanagh, Erika Selin and Molly Sterling on the set of the Late Late Show. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

There’s something sublimely ridiculous about Eurovision – and about our national song contest, Eurosong, which selects our representative to that pan-continental event. I don’t just mean the obvious stuff, like the booming choruses, that obsession with “the key change”, or Linda Martin’s spat with Billy McGuinness last year.

I mean the fact that we get worked up about it, at all. This is a competition for songs. A bleedin’ – competition – for songs. The whole concept is completely daft. They’re not sports teams or greyhounds – they’re songs. Sing, listen, dance…don’t pit them against each other.

Yet…you can’t help getting sucked into it. You can’t help, after a while, kind of taking it semi-seriously. You can’t help – and this is weird – actually caring a little about who wins.

And the fact that Eurosong is so nonsensical adds to the craic. Maybe it’s because there is so little at stake here – nothing, essentially – so the viewer can experience the enjoyment and excitement of following a competition, without any of the stress or panic of a big match or what-have-you.

Anyway: tonight’s Eurosong was as ridiculous as always, run to pretty much the same format as always…and as always, it was two hours of rambling, absurd, vaguely shambolic fun.

Beginning with former winners Niamh Kavanagh, Linda Martin and Paul Harrington singing some classic Eurovision songs, we had people in the audience holding lots of European flags, Marty Whelan backstage in the so-called Eurovision Room – sure you’d have to include Marty – and old clips of everyone from Dana to Linda M.

There were also, of course, several mentions of Johnny Logan: the man before whom all other Eurovision winners bow down as their Lord and God.

The panel of experts, commenting on each song, was Mairead Farrell, Panti Bliss, the ubiquitous Linda and Phil Coulter, toting a deep-tan-and-pale-suit combo which made him look like a movie crime-lord “gone legit”. Not a bad look for the older gentleman, in fairness.

Phil reminisced on his previous glories. Panti was sensible and likeable, albeit with a slightly annoying quasi-American accent. Mairead said we should take the competition more seriously. Linda reckoned that last year was a “missed chance” – though this was incompatible with her then suggesting we should have sent Eoghan Quigg instead.

Finally, finally, after the usual confusing instructions about voting and numbers and lines open and call charges and so on, we got to the music. The panel didn’t like the rap song, loved the Charlie McGettigan song, sort of loved the Swedish song, didn’t really love the screechy song, and totally loved the song sung by a frighteningly precocious girl, Molly Sterling, with a great, deep, mature-sounding voice.

Then the voting lines were opened and we had a painfully extended selection of lame duets, gobbledegook conversation and a silly gameshow thing with a bunch of people, none of whom I recognised. And that’s saying something. It’s both my job and my pleasure to recognise Z-listers at 1000 paces.

The votes went the way of the panel, anyway: Molly and her fabulous voice carried the day. She was admirably speechless at the end – and her passport is out of date.

It was inane. It was completely pointless. It was Eurosong. It was good craic. Best of luck in Vienna, Molly.

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