53 Comments

Post Mortem: Ireland


post mortemPost MortemEurovision Times is going to take a look over the next few weeks at the countries that did not make it through to the grand final this year. We’ll analyse why people think it was and the reactions of the countries and fans to the failure. First up we have Ireland’s Nicky Byrne, singing ‘Sunlight‘, who didn’t make it out of semi-final 2.

Nicky Byrne Ireland final

When Byrne was announced as RTE’s internally selected representative we were excited. Experienced, used to a big stage and a lovely guy. It sounded like Ireland were taking it seriously. Unfortunately the song and performance just didn’t grab the imaginations of the voters and wasn’t able to compete with better performances on the night.

Byrne’s initial reaction was clearly shock and disappointment tweeting:

“Amazing Time Amazing Support / I gave it my all, I’m sorry I didn’t get us there. / I pass on the torch to someone else now next year.”

Speaking to press after he was knocked out, Byrne said:

‘Obviously I’m disappointed. I really would have loved to represent Ireland at the final on Saturday, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to.’

The results, once revealed, showed he was nowhere near qualifying, coming 15th out of 18th (only 1 point higher than 16th), getting the second lowest mark from the juries and not much more from the televote.

sf2 result 2016

Byrne left Stockholm early, not staying for the final, and interviews given to the press when he returned home started sounding a little more bitter. Speaking to the Irish Mirror he said,

“I had fun, it was an amazing experience. Lots of people are saying stuff that the likes of Ukraine, Serbia, Latvia and Lithuania, a lot of people are telling me this morning that they tend to vote for each other to make sure they’re all in the final. Because they’re all against Russia, whether you can believe that or not, I’m not sure. What I do know is that the likes of Ireland, Denmark and Norway, and the night before Finland and Iceland didn’t qualify. The western European countries are out.”

Whilst many Irish fans were outraged, the Eurovision crowd seemed unsurprised, with many expecting non-qualification prior to the contest.

What is interesting is that all connected with the performance within the RTE team, and Irish media (part from the Irish Telegraph who have savaged Byrne) seem unable to see what fans could see.

An average song, uninteresting staging, poor clothing choice and one of the key issues, weaker vocals, have all been cited by fans and critics. No-one could ever suggest that Byrne, as much as he gave his all, can compete with the vocal abilities of Jamala or Dami Im. Whilst he did just about OK on the night there had been several times during rehearsals when he sounded flat.

Since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, Ireland has failed to qualify for the final on seven occasions and has finished in last place twice.

Ireland seem intent on going down the slippery slope the UK has. Not taking the contest seriously and seeing it as a joke kitsch contest (surely nothing could be further from the truth after the evolution of the last 5 years?), trying to justify their poor results with excuses about bloc voting with little evidence, and lacking in any self-awareness of the poor quality of their submissions compared to other countries more contemporary and high quality entries.

TV presenter Daithi O Se said he feels team Ireland was robbed. He said: “It’s a pile of s**te, he nailed the song, he nailed the performance and he didn’t get through. Seriously, your man from Latvia got through?”

RTE’s Eurovision commentator Marty Whelan said “What happens is you do the best you can, you bring a good act and Nicky was brilliant.  He played a blinder on stage.”

The European (and Australian) public and juries clearly disagreed.

Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.

53 comments on “Post Mortem: Ireland

  1. What were they expecting. It was pretty clear right from the start that Ireland 16 did not excel at anything, not even among the plastic debris that flooded ESC in 2016.

    P.S. – Nicky came across as desperate man in his early 40s trying to look like he was still 18 years old.

  2. Ireland sent a credible artist, with an appalling song. No wonder they didn’t qualify. Nicky was unlucky, if he had a better song, he may of finished near the bottom in the final.

    • Hardly a credible artist. He was a backing singer within a successful boy vocal group (not even a band as they never played an instrument). As a collective they may have been credible, as a solo performer (I wouldn’t even use the term artist) he most certainly is not.

  3. Average singer and underwhelming live = NON qualification…
    Besides, Lithuania did the genre far better and Justs can sing (cough)

  4. Excellent article, hulluna. Thanks!

    Everyone knew that Ireland wouldn’t qualify … just as everyone who knows the contest here in Germany knew that Jamie-Lee would come bottom 3 … yet the public and the media seem to be totallly blind and deaf when it comes to ESC and prefer playing big surprise, shouting “scandal, unfair etc” and coming up with conspiracy theories after all is said and done. Ridiculous. They are just making fools of themselves.
    And all this “the poor west” bullshit is so noughties and totally laughable these days. FGS, only two years ago, Austria won and The Netherlands came second. And of course Latvia qualified. They had a better song, a better singer and a better performance. That’s all.
    Stop whining please and start sending competitive entries again, Ireland!

    • They are right about block voting and daispora influencing the results though, however Ireland still did not deserve to qualify with their entry and along with Ireland, Poland should have been kicked out.

      • I agree. Poland is in last place on my 2016 list but alas, the old-fashioned still finds support around Europe.

    • Not everyone in Ireland is whining at the result, just to let you know. There are many here who rightly thought it was rubbish from the start and no amount of dressing it up (or not as the case may be) was going to save it.

  5. It was shite though :/ – Ireland’s entry, it was the song more than anything for me that was just not good enough, dated, lame and bland, I’ve been lean on Ireland in 2014 and 2015 because I did like those entries but this year it was shite Ireland and The UK are lacking serious imagination and creativity when it comes to their entries.

  6. And yeah they are true block voting does occur, and quite evidently with Poland finishing 3rd with a god awful shitty song accompanied with lame lyrics, dated composition/melody and extremely poor English/diction. The juries ranked Poland right, the voting needs to go back to how it was from 2013 – 2015.

  7. Τhere was nothing wrong about Ireland 2016. However, a dated song and a mediocre singer were always destined to fail miserably.

  8. There was nothing ‘wow’ about the Irish entry; it wasn’t awful but it wasn’t a strong enough song and performance to win jury votes, and it didn’t stand out in any way that would attract popular votes. Nicky’s stage presence was low key, his jeans and jacket look is difficult to pull off at a big event like Eurovision; his vocal was weak, his voice is likeable but not grand; there were no staging gimmicks (not a bad thing but sometimes they get attention and votes); the song is catchy enough, but with little dynamic range and only a slight contrast between verse and chorus there wasn’t a strong shape to it.
    This year’s entry seemed to be the lazy easy route for RTE, they accepted a song from a known artist without doing a sense check of its Eurovision appeal. Ireland needs to get serious about Eurovision if they want to keep their winning record.

  9. Such a good article – the truth is RTE and Ireland don’t care about Eurovision, everytime it’s mentioned there is the inevitable ‘we’ve won 7 times’. We sent a dated a song with a mediocre singer and got what we deserved, although I wouldn’t have been surprised if we came last in SF2. RTE needs to revamp its selection process or else withdraw – at the moment our main contribution seems to be to award Lithuania the televoting 12 pts each year.

    • I disagree. It may not seem like it but Michael HoD and RTE would definitely like to win (or at least get a good result) again). This has been documented. I do agree though that the whole selection process needs a revamp or pass it on to TG4 and see if they can bring something new to the table but certainly it needs to be addressed and sharpish!

  10. Thanks for the comments. I genuinely didn’t want to slate Nicky as I love him, but Ireland really need to take some of the many comments on board from critical friends within Eurovision.

    We’ll also look at the bottom 3 of the final scoreboard as well as those that didn’t make it to the final.

    I may be harsher on some of the other failures! *cough* Germany *cough* Finland *cough*

    • You’ve got to be cruel to be kind sometimes as they say! Thanks also for the analysis on Ireland and what more to say? Pretty much agree on all the comments here on Ireland’s failure, still IMHO it was one level up on Ireland’s lame winners in 92 and 94..blehhh!!

      • IRE94 is among my favourite ESC songs ever …

        • ok keeping up with English sayings above “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”!
          personally I hate it..such is ESC!! Is it your favourite Irish song ever?

          • Yes. It’s the only Irish song with a 12/12 on my list. “I Am Walking the Streets in the Rain” is in 2nd place with 9/12.

            • ok, sorry maybe didn’t get to see all your final song results previously!, personally Ireland at ESC is in my bottom 5 (and me a quarter Irish!), for me Ireland 94 is an outdated song with lame lyrics that neither myself nor the rest of Europe (including Ireland) ever thought about again after the win, so many better songs in 1994 FTW IMO,

            • Sorry dear Paul but Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids is actually quite a popular winner here and it was hardly outdated for 1994 since NO duetting male singers had ever won the contest prior.

            • They were still playing it in the UK last year. 🎼 Listening to those songs on the radio 🎼 Lots of Eurovision people here know all the words, it’s a reasonably well remembered one in the UK imo http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05ysp04

      • The thing with Ireland 1994 is that I was completely fed up then with the third Irish win in a row. Also 1994 was one of the best years ever imo. And there were several songs that were more worthy for the win. (Portugal, Hungary, Russia, France, the UK.)

        • I do love 94 as an edition (I don’t like Portugal, but Russia, Hungary, France and the UK are, I reckon, in my top 5 that year)… and Ireland is its rightful winner. There’s an “evidence” in its simplicity, and a bit of a meta reflection of Ireland’s miss in the 60s (awful country in the 60s) that I sorta like. It’s one of my rare Irish esc winners and a case I agree with the juries. You have to say, for a third win in a row to actually beat the point records of the time, it had to be special!

          • Did you see the contest live back then? Because I can understand that judging in retrospect is different then witnessing three Irish wins in a row.

            • To be honnest, yes, and I totally get you. Plus 96 must have felt like a setback (though everyone knows my love for Ireland 96) that and Uk and Malta overrated every year… I started following in 99 after the HUGE Israel 98 talk here

            • And don’t forget that Norway ’95 was Irish in a way too. And then ’96 was the quintessential Celtic song. It was so very very very boring. I almost hated the contest back then.

            • I can see that. Like me with the Eastern/Southern bimbo every year doing well for shaking it… but then we did move around Europe. And Lordi came lol

  11. Since we talk about Ireland that seems to have lost their esc touch here are some interesting facts i’ve collected from various sources: The Netherlands and Belgium seem to be the 2 western countries that are gaining momentum and seem to know how to stage a song.A win for them may be close.
    My thought on Poland is that with a song that will please the juries they are also close to taking the crown.Look at their televoting scores since their return(5th,14th and 3rd)and all that with songs that were far from great.

    • Nl and Belgium yes, and Italy sorta knows to, but lets its singers overtake them in what they want to do, so if the singers have their own personal ideas and that those arent esc friendly, then they’re out for the year… I’d totally add Austria, maybe they wont win soon, but look at how good in televote they did in the last three years, and 2015 was a good staging and now the country has grasped a good idea of the contest… Sweden, Azerbaijan, Ukraine or Poland… I remember a few years ago, I think it was in 2013 right after Emeline’s win, Randomvan and I discussing which countries had the best chance to win soon and back then I said Italy and Ukraine, and I was quite close!

      • Sweden is always a mighty force.I trust the Netherlands more than Belgium at this point because i believe they have learnt their lesson from last year and they have found the selection method that best suits them.My only objection is that they should try with different genres too because they’ve started sounding like Texas is taking part in eurovision.Belgium is doing fine but it could be just luck.Their 2014 atrocity is too recent.Azerbaijan is experiencing an esc fatigue.Maybe they lack motivation but their efforts become lazier with every new edition.Plus they usually lack strong singers/performers.Poland can easily win with a song that will be liked by the juries.They have the televtoing support with their usually lacklustre efforts so what they need now is a song that juries will like as well(i do believe their 2014 entry was slighlty mistreated by the juries but their 2015 and 2016 jury results make sense).The problem is they don’t have a pre-defined selection method and their staging is very old school esc.However with Michal’s unexpected success,i’m sure more singers will be interested.As for Russia,they are the big questionmark atm.Will they withdraw?It doesn’t sound like them.I believe they will be in in a kind of provocative way.There’s a list of Russian singers who are banned from entering Ukraine due to their pro-annexation of Crimea stance.Some Ukrainian officials fear that the next internally selected Russain singer may come from this list.And there’s always the Red Army choir that has already stated their desire to go to Ukraine.I’m sure it’s going to be a rather turbulent esc season.

        • The problem with Belgium is that the Flemish and Walloon broadcasters have to take turns, which makes it much more difficult to continue success. While in the Netherlands there is already talks about our next participant, the Flemish have to wait two years.

  12. It was pretty obvious that the song didn’t have what it takes. It simply lacks something to make it remembered.

    • I wonder what happened in the RTE local pub in Dublin when Nicky Byrne walked in and after a few pints of guinness they all decided he’d go to Stockholm , am sure ESC works a lot like that these days!!

  13. I knew from the moment it was thrust upon us back in February that our entry was going nowhere and I quite rightly said so to anyone that would listen.
    It’s time people within the Eurovision bubble (RTE delegation, HoD, Marty Whelan and Eurovision Ireland) and those who have no idea what they are talking about (Daithi O’ Se, Ryan Tubridy et al) stopped harking on that everything was good bar the result. It was NOT! It was a shambles. Poor staging, dreadful camera work, weak vocals, too dark (Sunlight……hello?), nothing innovative and the song was only okay…..just!
    Recipe for success? I think not and so it would seem did the rest of Europe. Back to the drawing board. Ireland has the talent but it’s just not being tapped into.

    • I agree with you and rest of Europe agreed with the shambles, so what’s the answer to Irish success again? have heard some suggestions about a ballad about the “Irish troubles” after Ukraine success, here in Spain there is also plenty of post mortem about it too, Spain was hoping to get their best result ever since winning then, yet again bottom 5,,give up?

      • For a start, we need to have a more transparent and relevant collective of people sifting through the submissions and we need to have some decent well-written songs. There needs to be more than a half dozen thrown into the mix. Even if they did a Switzerland and put so many up on the internet initially so that they can be short-listed. Am not sure on the whole ‘trouble’ subject matter as that will cause many to say it reeks of desperation. Perhaps the north and south could try and work on it together try and encourage proper artists that work their butts off entertaining many, many people all over the island and beyond to go for it. Goodness knows there are enough of them out there. Bréag, The Eskies, Rackhouse Pilfer, Balkan Alien Sound, Bronagh Gallagher to name but a few. The hard bit is convincing them as they don’t see it as a credible event to be part of.

        • seriously Martin , you’re telling me Ireland 94 was somehow a big hit? with who? with absolutely nobody apart from yourself, according to Eurostats it is in the bottom 5 of least successful ESC winners, thankfully, nobody remembers it either…

          • I didn’t say it was big hit. I said it was ‘quite’ a popular winner here. It reached number 2 whilst staying in the chart for 14 weeks. It was also deemed a good enough winner to be performed at the Congratulations 50th Anniversary Show. It was the first winning song to not use the orchestra with only the lads two instruments in the mix and was the first song to ever score over 200 points too (hardly unpopular as the score would suggest). Whilst I accept your dislike for the song and that’s fine by me, I cannot accept such a sweeping statement as nobody liking it apart from me nor nobody remembering it either. I

            • agree with you 100 % , that anyone remembers that song in ESC? have my doubts, 100% nobody, if you ask them, remembers that whatsover

            • As I said it’s more here. We’ll just have to agree dear Paul on people not remembering it although to be fair, I would say most people will mainly remember Riverdance from 1994 more than the actual songs in the contest.

  14. I can tell you all for a fact that nothing will change, RTE know because the Irish people are fond of eurovision that they will get the viewers in the final regardless if Ireland qualify or not. RTE are just stingy with money and will look for the most cheap way possible and this year Nicky essentially agreed to go for free which is probably why he was picked. HoD Michael Kealy said in an interview that the reason RTE can’t do a Melfest etc is because they don’t have the resources/finances for it, and says we need to settle for 5 song NF’s on the LLS and internal selections because thats all they can afford…yet countries much worse off can put together strong selections annually (Estonia and particularly Hungary) and based on what I saw this year I’d be surprised if RTE payed much at all participant fee aside. RTE know that the Irish public have been brainwashed into believing that ESC is all political and Ireland can’t do well because they are an Island and have no neighbours when infact all these accusations are so flawed is laughable, what they don’t get is that our entries sucked each year which is why we get sucky results. What fans should do is look at the fan reaction and there they will see that there is ALOT more to our failures than politics and based on the media reactions this year will be NO different! My advice will be simply take a look at our 2011 entry, like it or loathe it but the entire package was excellent.

    Even looking at or HoD when the qualifiers are being announce, praying to the gods for a miracle even he has no faith in the entry p.s I don’t know how he can still have a job as he has a last place and 3 NQ’s to his name.

    Cya next year with either A. a dreadful NF or B. A washed up artist/ talentless artist who is a sugar daddy.
    and if any of these are what we end up with can RTE stop embaressing to nation and just withdraw for our own self-respect…

  15. Very poor vocalist, not much charisma and a very dated boring song!

  16. http://www.irishmirror.ie/whats-on/film-news/nicky-byrne-speaks-eurovision-disappointment-7960867

    Who is that Daithi O Se, who said about Justs: ““There’s a saying in Kerry that you wouldn’t bring him out with the wren boys, he was that bad.”?

    Half of the countries that didn’t qualify in semi 2 were from eastern Europe. You have to be very selective to blame block voting for your own failure. There were recent years that every country from Scandinavia were in the final. And now that they failed for once we can hear cry foul. I can’t remember the same outrage in the west when the Balkan failed in 2013.

    • It simply shows that we are still living in very racist societies who love pointing the finger to the “other”. Alas, most European societies suck big time these days.

    • And he managed to say all that with a straight face? I wouldn’t if I were in his shoes. He hardly sang by himself, he chose the wrong look and one of the most forgettable songs of the year. Are there peoblems with bloc voting in ESC? There have always been such problems in ESC, even before Eastern Europe showed up. Show some class, Nicky!

  17. Pretty weak (kinda dated) song + pretty weak vocalist = pretty sure non qualifier. :P
    I hope they come up with something good next year!

  18. His comments are even funnier considering the Irish televote gave Lithuania 12 points and Latvia 7 points (and Ukraine 4), while the Irish jury gave Latvia 4 and Lithuania 3, so clearly even Ireland thought Latvia and Lithuania should’ve qualified. :-P

    (In contrast, Denmark only got three points from the Irish televote and Norway got none.)

  19. So it is the Eurovision maffia which decides which countries will battle it out:
    http://www.rte.ie/entertainment/2016/0523/790375-nicky-byrne-eurovision/

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