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How to write a Eurovision Song Contest winner


Singer Conchita Wurst has returned to Austria following her Eurovision Song Contest victory (AP)

Singer Conchita Wurst has returned to Austria following her Eurovision Song Contest victory (AP)

Singer Conchita Wurst has returned to Austria following her Eurovision Song Contest victory (AP)

Tomorrow, a momentous event takes place: Ireland will pick our annual entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Ryan Tubridy will host Eurosong. Five acts will sing. You – the unwashed public – will choose a winner. And that winner will invariably turn into a big fat loser once they get to Vienna.

I’m sick of Ireland sucking so badly at Eurovision. I remember a time when we couldn’t stop winning the stupid thing – and actually used to call it “the stupid thing” because we’d become so blasé about winning. Now we couldn’t land the Eurovision title if the game had been rigged for us by the Cosa Nostra. And that’s a crying shame.

The problem, as you might expect, is the songs we persist in sending out to bat. They’re not good enough, and they don’t follow in the tradition of classic Eurovision winners.

There’s a formula to writing these yokes, and guess what? I’ve worked it out. Here’s our step-by-step guide to creating a classic Eurovision Song. You’re welcome, RTE…


1. Have it sung by a woman with a voice so colossal, it literally causes the venue’s foundations to shake. Alternatively, rope in a pleasant-looking young lad in a shiny white suit and Ken Doll hair.

2. Make it a ballad. Yes, pop songs sometimes win Eurovision – but ours don’t.

3. Call it something vaguely poetic and wistful-sounding. The Hush of the Wind. Love Taking Flight. A Song for the Boatman. My Heart Cries Anew.

4. Begin with some plaintive fiddle or accordion. No, make it a low whistle, for that really authentic “Celtic” touch. Europeans love all that stuff.

5. Add some gentle plinky piano. (Note: ask Phil Coulter for advice on this bit.)

6. First verse – sung as quietly as volcano-voice can manage – with lyrics such as “The whispering sea, it calls to me, bringing home your memory…” Meaningless drivel, in other words.

7. Chorus sung in an absolutely booming voice – Foundation-Shake Level 7 – with lines like “The times we shared, me and you, the tears we shed for love we knew…”

8. Repeat verse and chorus, adding in progressively more snippets of diddley-aye fiddle and whistle as the song moseys along.

9. Middle eight. Everything goes intensely quiet and an Anuna-style chorus makes spooky, ghostly noises for thirty seconds.

10. Back with the loudness. Foundation-Shake Level upgraded from 7 to 8.5. Repeat the chorus twice, modifying the lyric on the final line to show how creative and clever we are.

11. The most vital part: key change on the final singing of the chorus. Foundation-Shake Level ramped right up to 10 (maximum setting).

12. A line of Irish dancers file past, high-kicking as energetically as Bruce Lee auditioning for the Moulin Rouge Dancers.

13. One last bellow from the vocalist. Ideally, her eyes will look about to pop out of her skull by this point.

14. Final whirl of fiddles and accordions and whatever.

15. Abrupt ending, for dramatic effect .

16. Sit back and wait for the douze points-es to start rolling in. Goodnight and thank you, Yerrup, we love you.