Ireland at Eurovision 2016: Taking a Leaf from Australia’s Book

Singer Nicky Byrne of Westlife poses for a portrait shoot in London on October 17, 2010.

Nicky Byrne to represent Ireland at Eurovision.

A News Flash from Irish Eurovision, by Genevieve Rogers

Could RTE’s Eurovision 2016 team have been taking a sly look at Australia’s 2015 debut entry for a few pointers? It certainly looks that way.

To recap:
In 2015, on debut at the Contest, Australia sent an internal selection ( i.e. an artist chosen directly by the broadcaster rather than selected in competition) in the form of Guy Sebastian. In his capable hands Australia finished fifth behind Sweden, Russia, Italy and Belgium – with the exception of Belgium all traditional heavy hitters in the Eurovision world.

An industry professional with a self-penned song, record company backing, arena experience and international profile, Guy did Australia proud.

Fast forward to Ireland 2016:
RTE has internally selected former Westlife member, Nicky Byrne, who has co-written the Irish entry, ‘Sunlight’.

Industry professional. Tick.
Self-penned song. Tick.
Record company. Tick.
Arena experience. Tick.
International profile. Tick.

Hmmm… Rings bells with this Eurovision fan.

Nicky will also be familiar to Eurovisionaries who watch the voting as the presenter who calls in the Irish vote: ‘Good evening, Europe.This is Dublin calling. Here are the votes from Ireland.’

Last year’s Irish entrant, Molly Sterling, an emerging talent and the youngest contestant at just 17, failed to qualify for the final. Molly’s inexperience showed in the performance and her ‘piano bar’ ballad got lost in the very blingy tumult that is the modern contest.

On seven, Ireland currently holds the overall record for the number of contest wins in Eurovision history. Sweden, however, with six is now closing in on that record. After a string of poor results, RTE seems to have taken note and opted for a seasoned campaigner with a now familiar profile. Someone just like, say, Guy Sebastian from Australia. A safe pair of hands….

Good luck, Nicky. Good luck, Ireland.