Sadly, given the clear interest of many readers, Ireland has failed to qualify for the Eurovision final: the first time this has happened since 2009. Ireland has had poor results two years in a row – last year Ryan Dolan singing ‘Only Love Survives’ made it to the final but placed last. Ireland’s act was a contemporary pop number styled in a Celtic vein: Kasey Smith wore a gold encrusted dress and gold neckpiece evoking Game of Thrones, and the act also features fiddle and bodhrán playing and Irish dancing.
Even without Ireland, viewers seeking kitsch and bling-bling will have plenty to choose from amongst the qualifiers. They include the Conchita Wurst (can that possibly be her real name?) from Austria singing ‘Rise like a phoenix’; buxom butter-churners for Poland with ‘My Slowanie’ and Norway’s heartfelt ballad ‘Silent Storm’.
The much-talked about Austrian act received a huge ovation in the press centre when the results were announced, and was also a particular favourite in the hall, along with Greece and Poland.
Over 10,000 spectators enjoyed the spectacular production in the Eurovision arena. The interval act included a live montage of ordinary European citizens doing hip hop dance; the first to perform was eight-year-old Megan Geoghegan from Bray, Co Wicklow.