RTÉ’s special edition of the Late Late Show showcased five songs tonight, and Ryan Dolan has been chosen by the people of Ireland to go forward to the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Only love survives.
Tonight was Ireland’s turn to choose a representative to sing for the country in Malmö in May. For a country with a very strong pedigree in the contest over the years, the pressure was on to pick a real contender. Ryan Tubridy, regular host of the Late Late Show guided us through the evening’s proceedings.
1. Son kez/The last time – Inchequin (writers Hugh O’Neill, Sinéad Bradley)
Six members of the band were on stage. Writer Hugh was lead singer and this had a very pleasant vibe about it. The group harmonised very well together, and the alternating between Turkish and English worked well. As Inchequin’s style is folk, the Irish fiddle also played a large part during the song with echoes of Riverdance. All in all, it was both traditional yet contemporary.
2. Crashing down – Aimée Fitzpatrick (writer Robert Grace)
Birthday girl Aimée was in a long dark dress for this contrasting ballad. It was in the style that brought Ireland so much success in the 1990s. Former winner Paul Harrington was accompanying her on piano. Her three female backing singers provided good harmonies. It received a huge cheer, and could be a winner because it was the only slow song.
3. Fire – Zoë Alexis Bohorquez (writers Lauren White, Niall Mooney, Willie Weeks)
Zoë, we were told, was formerly a waitress at RTÉ’s studios in Dublin. She was backed by former entrant Donna McCaul (2005). For this uptempo number she was in a short black and silver dress. Two female dancers also accompanied her. The acoustics appeared to cause a slight problem with the vocal, but it still came across well. It had the right ingredients if the voters were looking for a higher energy dance track tonight. To finish, flames lit up the stage.
4. Only love survives – Ryan Dolan (writers Ryan Dolan, Wez Devine)
One of the favourites tonight was another uptempo track. Ryan was dressed casually in jacket, T-shirt and pale jeans. Despite the club vibe, he was assisted by three drummers with traditional drums, and two female backing singers. You could tell this had a lot of potential. The hook was memorable was well choreographed, and would probably see this pick up plenty of votes. Pyrotechnics were much in evidence towards the end of the song. It was the liveliest song of the night.
5. Kiss me there – Kasey (writer Drax)
The final song saw brunette Kasey in black top and leggings. Only two backing singers were on stage with her. This was another high energy track, but arguably had a lot of lyric to it. She performed with a jewel encrusted microphone á la Charlotte Perrelli. The hook to this was again memorable and Kasey’s interaction with her backing singers was very professional. It ended well and got another large cheer from the Late Late Show audience.
Ireland’s show usually has an expert panel, and this year was no exception. This year it consisted of broadcasters Marty Whelan, Bill Hughes and Evelyn O’Rourke. After a brief chat with them, we saw clips of the previous five Eurovision winners, to show what sort of song can win the competition in the 21st Century. It was remarked that Loreen was like a yoga teacher in her performance. We were also reminded that a 50/50 system of juries around the country and telephone & text voting would pick the winner.
Once the songs had been heard, and the panel had given their last thoughts, the televoting lines were thrown open. The people of Northern Ireland (as well as the Republic) were able to vote, so by extension all UK viewers could vote too.
While the lines were open, host Ryan chatted to none other than Hollywood actor Danny DeVito. He spoke about his ancestral links with Ireland, his acting and current directorial career, and how he made his name on the hit US comedy show Taxi.
The voting lines then closed, and the panel gave us the opinions on who would win. Bill picked Aimée, Zoë and Ryan. Evelyn chose Aimée and Ryan. Marty suggested the he also liked Aimée and Ryan, although he admitted he had to be diplomatic since he would be the commentator in Malmö.
We then saw some of the songs already selected for this year, from Denmark, Lithuania, Cyprus, Norway, Greece and Austria.
Finally, before the votes were revealed, we saw Lordi, winners in 2006 performing Hard Rock Hallelujah. The line-up had changed a little since their win, but this was a great performance.
The regional juries’ votes (Cork, Limerick, Galway, Dundalk and Dublin) were called in first (4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 points available from each jury), and yielded the following results:
Inchequin – 34
Aimée Fitzpatrick – 54
Zoë Alexis Bohorquez – 24
Ryan Dolan – 52
Kasey – 36
The televotes were then called in, making the final results below (jury scores in brackets):
Inchequin – (34) 20= 54
Aimée Fitzpatrick – (54) 50= 104
Zoë Alexis Bohorquez – (24) 30= 54
Ryan Dolan – (52) 60= 112
Kasey – (36) 40= 76
So Ryan Dolan would be going to Malmö.
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
Since first participating in the Naples contest 1965 (Butch Moore and Walking the streets in the rain), Ireland holds the record for winning the contest seven times. Johnny Logan became the first singer to win the contest twice when he achieved his second victory in 1987 with Hold me now. His earlier success was in The Hague in 1980 with What’s another year. In the 1990s the country dominated, with four wins, including three-in-a-row. Johnny Logan also wrote one of these 1990s winners, Why me, performed by Eurovision legend Linda Martin. Since those heady days, however, Ireland has done less well, and has not been in the top 5 since 1997, the last time the contest was held in Ireland.
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