Another year, another loss as Eurovision wins the youth vote
EUROVISION stalwart Shay Healy said yesterday Ireland can look forward to more flops unless we put forward songs that appeal to a younger, tech-savvy audience.
The writer of Johnny Logan's famous 1979 winning track 'What's Another Year' was speaking after Ireland's Niamh Kavanagh finished 22nd out of 25 in the annual song contest.
Mr Healy said: "I think Ireland is behind the times and we've been caught out by fashion. We need to rethink our model and come up with something more contemporary.
"Eurovision is becoming a much younger contest, as evidenced by this 19-year-old German winner.
"I'm sure Lena's success has a lot to do with text voting because as a middle-aged man, I couldn't have foreseen Germany winning with that song.
"That was achieved by younger people voting by text. I'd love to see Ireland sending out someone like Gemma Hayes or Cathy Davey next year with that sort of appeal."
Kavanagh described the Eurovision Song Contest as "39 countries with 39 tastes in music" after she finished third from the bottom in the competition for Ireland.
Having won the contest for this country in 1993, the 42-year-old singer night scored just 25 points for Ireland in Oslo on Saturday night.
Yet Kavanagh remained gracious in defeat, congratulating German winner Lena Meyer-Landrutsung, whose track 'Satellite' topped the table with 246 points. She also praised the RTE team who backed her at the competition.
"I am so proud of what we did on Saturday night. We (gave it) 100pc. We sang that song and played it exactly as we wanted to. I tell you I've no regrets whatsoever. But you know, the reality is music is very subjective.
"I would like to have done better overall, but to be truthful with you, when we got through the semi-finals, I felt that was vindication for what we did.
"You know, you just can't call this -- it's 39 countries with 39 different tastes in music. We don't have as many neighbours, as we say.
"The truth is, I feel fine about it. I had no real expectation, every journey is different. The experience of Norway and the whole running of the show was fantastic. All the other delegates were very supportive all the way through," she said.
"We had a great time. I am so proud of everybody who worked on this. We did a brilliant thing and I tell you we were very emotional leaving each other this morning," Kavanagh told the Irish Independent.
Her efforts were praised by RTE, which said in a statement:"Niamh did RTE and Ireland proud."
However, sources in RTE say that station chiefs are already undertaking a review of what went wrong.
Although the performances given by Kavanagh in Oslo were seen as faultless, helping Ireland to qualify for the main contest for the first time in three years, some station insiders feel the ballad she sang, 'It's For You', was "old hat" compared to the other songs at Eurovision, including the up-tempo Lily Allen-esque track that eventually won the contest for the Germans.
"Germany had a contemporary song which appealed to young people, sung by a 19-year old singer. Ireland had something which sounded like the soundtrack to the film 'Titanic'," said one RTE source.
Turkey finished second in Saturday night's competition with 170 points, followed by Romania with 162 points. The UK came last with 10 points.
Host Norway was widely praised for its staging of the event from the Telenor Arena in Oslo, with the only slip-up coming when Spain's performance was disrupted by a spectator who jumped on stage.
Within minutes, the European Broadcasting Union ruled that Spain should have the right to sing again, prompting performer Daniel Diges to sing a second time at the end of the night before the voting closed.
The Spanish entry ended up finishing in 15th place with 68 points.