Ireland’s 2016 Eurovision Entry
Many years ago, we went to see Mark Lamarr play the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. It was a good evening, and its distinctive character was defined by the fact that Mark Lamarr took a swipe at the (then) phenomenally popular Westlife early in the evening. The swipe proved so popular with the audience, that the idea of killing Westlife became a leitmotif within the performance, getting more and more laughs every time the grisly murder of Ireland’s most successful boy band was suggested.
Well, here we are, something like sixteen years later, and Nicky Byrne is representing Ireland at Eurovision. Nicky Byrne is the RTE selection, a sign of “getting serious” about Eurovision again. Would you believe that it’s been twenty years since Ireland last won Eurovision (thanks to a Maynooth student)? A whole generation of young people has grown up not realising that Ireland is supposed to win it every year. One of the best ever episodes of Father Ted is making less and less sense with every passing year.
Ever since the Maynooth victory, we’ve tried laughing it off, being ironic about Eurovision, and telling ourselves that we’re just pacing ourselves until RTE’s budget can be restored. We tried Dustin the Turkey and Jedward etc. and it was discovered that sneering at Eurovision alienates the votes of many of those newer post cold-war polities that are taking this thing really really seriously.
So here comes Nicky Byrne. This won’t win it. The song is competent, though the verse is better than the chorus. And the weather forecast rarely supports the suggestion that you can solve everything just by standing out in the sun. Haven’t seen a lot of “Sunshine”. Certainly not this year. And it’s irritating to be reminded that we’re supposed to be getting some.
The former boy band member is now within spitting distance of forty. So what? I’m within spitting distance of a different milestone. But he’s doing that thing that former boy band members do when they want to suggest they’ve “evolved”. They look very very serious. Here is serious Nicky.
Actually, now that I watch the video again, I’ve spotted a few smiles after all. But compared to how much he used to grin in Westlife, he’s Leonard Cohen.
The earnest and serious Nicky Byrne looks a lot like Bryan Adams now. And this does nothing to tickle my sense of musical appreciation. If you taste first with your eyes, then sometimes you listen first with your eyes. And the merest suspicion of “is that Bryan Adams?” is going to sour my basic sense of rhythm and melody.
Ah, sure, it’s not that bad. But it’s not that great. For 2017 – just ask us here in Maynooth. We’ll come up with something. Promise.
Here’s Serbia, in case you were wondering…
Then again there’s Ivan from Belarus, who may or may not be dancing naked with wolves…
In the meantime, here is Israel:
You might prefer this GameofThronesy offering from Switzerland
Here, on the other hand, is Poland.
And here’s cheery Latvia,
Someone else who doesn’t look cross at all is Malta’s representative –
Meanwhile, I found Bosnia and Herzegovina somewhat intriguing this year – see below…
More interesting than Montenegro, anyhow
Far, far more conventional is Azerbaijan
More chillingly, here is Estonia
But here, by way of some (but not much) relief is Cyprus
On a lighter note, see the Czech Republic’s offering…
San Marino – folks…
Meanwhile, here’s the Netherlands…
Here’s Austria by the way…