Dustin's Eurosong turkey takes off as panel cries fowl
Dustin the Turkey will represent Ireland in the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade in May. The song, entitled Irelande Douze Pointe (12 points), cruised to victory in a live televised public vote last night.
In recent years, anything goes in the Eurovision, but Dustin will be the first ever gloved puppet to represent his nation in the contest.
Hosted by Ray Darcy, Eurosong 2008 took place in The University of Limerick Concert Hall. Louis Walsh, Dana Rosemary Scallon and last year's winner Marija Serifovic offered their views on the night.
Despite his success, the cult celebrity puppet performed the song to a mixture of boos and applause from the live audience and received less-than-complimentary remarks from the three commentators.
Dana Rosemary Scallon expressed her disdain at the inclusion of the puppet in the competition. Prior to the announcement of Dustin's victory, the former Eurovision winner said, "if it's the turkey, I think we're better not to go into the Eurovision again". Upon hearing the result she said, "the people have spoken, but I think it's a foul decision".
Louis predicted the puppet's victory, although qualified it by saying, "Dustin is a household name. He has an added advantage against everybody else here, and he's an RTE person and this is an RTE show."
They weren't the only disapproving commentators. Frank McNamara, who wrote two Eurovision winners, described Dustin's entry as "absolutely disgraceful". Others, however, argue that Dustin personifies exactly what the Eurovision has become -- wacky, kitsch and a novelty.
The five competitors who fell foul to the enduring turkey were Donal Skehan, Maya, Leona Daly, Liam Geddes and Marc Roberts.
Louis and Dana both felt that 21-year-old Donal Skehan deserved to win. However, they disagreed on Leona Daly's performance, particularly her choice of attire. Louis commended her "big voice and little dress", while Dana found her choice of outfit inappropriate and distracting, advising her to add an extra inch to her hemline.
Dustin's song is a musical parody of the Eurovision. Sitting inside a decorated shopping trolley and flanked by two garishly bedecked female vocalists, Dustin sang "Give us another chance, we're sorry for Riverdance, Flatley he's a Yank, and the Danube flows through France. Eastern Europe, we love you. Do you like Irish stew, or goulash as it is to you?"
Despite our very poor displays in recent years, Ireland still holds the record for the most Eurovision victories -- seven in all.
This year 43 nations will compete. San Marino and Azerbaijan are new to the fold.
Due to our embarrassing final-place ranking in last year's contest, Dustin, aka John Morrison, will have to compete in a semi-final heat, which will be held on Tuesday, May 20 in the Serbian capital. The final takes place on Saturday, May 24.