FORMER Eurovision winner Paul Harrington has questioned why RTE chose to show a Eurovision skit that claimed Linda Martin was Johnny Logan in drag.
Paul Harrington blasted Swedish TV producers for their "extraordinary jibe" at Ms Martin saying it was "really unfair".
And Harrington, who took part in the Best Of Eurovision tour with Martin last year around Ireland, questioned if RTE had the option to drop the segment from their broadcast.
IN THE OFFENDING SKIT BROADCAST FROM MALMO ON SATURDAY NIGHT, EUROVISION PRESENTER PETRA MEADE EXPLAINED HOW JOHNNY LOGAN HAD WON THE EUROVISION THREE TIMES.
But footage included Linda Martin performing Why Me – a song that Logan wrote – in Malmo in 1992. Meade then suggested Martin was Johnny Logan in drag. "What made it worse was Linda was over there in Malmo as a guest of honour, having won there in 1992," Harrington told the Herald.
Linda has so far made "no comment" on the joke that was aired in front of 125 million viewers across the world.
It is understood that RTE raised concerns with Swedish organisers SVT that the joke was too harsh. The Irish delegation did not request that the segment be scrapped, but suggested that it should be toned down, given that Linda was in the arena for the final.
"Did RTE have the option to opt out I wonder?" asked Harrington. "What made it doubly wrong is that the presenter might not have known Linda, but she is a huge part of the Eurovision family. She was gigging in Malmo," said Harrington (53).
Irish entrant Ryan Dolan told the Herald that he also thought it was "unfair". "I haven't been chatting to her yet, but it's going to be water off a duck's back for Linda. I'm sure she's not going to be bothered with it too much. I think it's just the Swedish sense of humour is peculiar. They were slagging themselves all night."
HARRINGTON, WHO RECORDED HIS NEW EP GROW OLD WITH ME WITH THE RTE CONCERT ORCHESTRA, SANG OUR WINNING ENTRY IN THE 1994 EUROVISION, ROCK'N'ROLL KIDS, WITH FELLOW MUSICIAN CHARLIE MCGETTIGAN.
Harrington blamed Ireland's poor performance on the public vote element. "We won back in 1994 with juries' votes. Unfortunately, anything can happen with public votes. You get great singers beaten on Britain's Got Talent by dogs spinning plates."