Another year... another dud at Eurovision: Yet again, the final looks beyond us

Our Eurovision contestant has a 300-1 shot of winning, so say the bookies. Why do we keep getting it so wrong, asks John Dolan in his weekly column
Another year... another dud at Eurovision: Yet again, the final looks beyond us

Brooke Scullion, from Derry, who will be flying the flag for Ireland at the Eurovision.

COULD you imagine Colm Meaney taking on the role of the next James Bond? Or Cavan winning this 2022 All-Ireland football title?

Both are 300-1 rank outsiders with the bookies to fulfill those unlikely scenarios.

But it gives you some idea of the hill Brooke Scullion has to climb at next week’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The Derry girl is representing Ireland in the second semi-final in Turin on Thursday, and has been ranked as a 300-1 shot to win with the bookies

It looks like Brooke will need all the support she can get as she seeks votes from across the continent in a bid to make next Saturday’s Eurovision final.

Dana who was one of Ireland's Eurovision winners.
Dana who was one of Ireland's Eurovision winners.

I know she is from the home of Dana - and it takes all kinds of everything in this world - but have a listen to the song, That’s Rich, and tell me I’m being overly pessimistic.

It’s... it’s, well, forgettable.

It starts off too drab, the chorus gets a bit lively and upbeat all too briefly, and then it’s back to drab all too quickly.

Its lyrics are OK, but it sounds like a song older people think younger people might want to dance to. OK, boomer!

That’s Rich does tick a few Eurovision boxes - there’s the usual crescendo of vocal gymnastics near the end, while the lyrics evoke girl-power as a woman puts a man in his place - ‘Bye bye fool’, ‘Hey stupid’, - but it really is unlikely to have the folks of Iceland, Lithuania, and Belgium dancing in the aisles. Yawning in their sofas more like.

Brooke, who co-wrote the track with two others, Izzy Warner and Karl Zine. can sing, that’s clear - but the song is just too dull to grab a European audience, and the bookies agree with me, hence those stratospheric odds.

I wouldn’t even risk a euro of your money...

Ireland are bottom of the betting with a clutch of other countries at those odds, and appear unlikely to even make it out of their semi-final.

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record here - I’ve been writing off Ireland’s Eurovision chances on this page on an annual basis since, ooh, the days when Bertie was boasting that the boom was getting boomier - I have to ask the questions again:

Why do we keep on getting it so wrong?

Why can’t a country of five million people, in a land famed for its musical talents, produce a single song each year which at least has a chance of troubling the scoreboards?

In fact, why have we produced not a single song of note for the annual music contest since at least 2006, when Brian Kennedy put in a polished performance and came tenth?

Brian Kennedy performing at Eurovision in Athens. Picture: kobpix/rte
Brian Kennedy performing at Eurovision in Athens. Picture: kobpix/rte

It’s not as though we don’t have the pedigree.

For a decade or two, Ireland won the contest so often, we cockily dubbed it ‘Eirevision’. But our seventh - and last - win was 26 years ago now.

We still hold the record for most victories, but Sweden, among the favourites next week, will draw level with us if they triumph.

You can’t win it every year, of course, and many nations have never won one Eurovision - take a bow Malta, Cyprus, and Iceland - but our record has been so bad for so long, you have to wonder what RTÉ, which presides over our entry each year, is playing at.

Each spring, we are presented with a handful of contenders to represent Ireland at the contest, as a fait accompli - how are they chosen? And who decides? The songs are then performed on the Late Late Show, when viewers vote for their favourite.

That’s a big mistake right there.

The average Eurovision voter is young and hip, while the average Late Late Show viewer, er, isn’t. hence we are left with a song that old people think young people will like.

Of course, when the winner of Eurosong is announced, there is initially great excitement, and we all want to get behind our act. But it is usually already clear by then to all and sundry that our song just isn’t up to scratch. Someone at RTÉ needs to re-think the whole failing system.

Since 2007, Ireland has only reached the final five times — and of those, only Jedward in 2011 have cracked the top ten. This year, I fear, will be another when Ireland’s singer is home and hosed before next Saturday’s continental party even begins.

What a shame.

******

So, who will win the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest? The hot favourites are Ukraine - driven on by a wave of emotion from across Europe following their country’s invasion by Russia, who have been excluded from this year’s contest.

Kalush Orchestra, Ukraine's entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. Picture: Patricia J. Garcinuno/Getty Images
Kalush Orchestra, Ukraine's entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. Picture: Patricia J. Garcinuno/Getty Images

Ukraine’s song, a rapping track called Stefania by Kalush Orchestra, can be heard in Tuesday’s semi-final. I’m not a fan of rap - and nor are Eurovision voters as a rule - but it’s actually pretty good, and, crucially, very catchy to my ears, despite being sung in their native language.

The band wisely avoid mention of war, and thus risk breaking Eurovision rules on political songs, and their rap/lullaby (yes!) focuses on a boy’s love for his mother. It sounds better than I just explained it, honest!

Besides, the waving of the Ukrainian flags in the arena will be enough to rouse many voters across the continent to back the war-torn country.

Look out for the UK entry too. Their recent record is almost as bleak as ours - and they, like us also falsely claim to be victims of political bloc voting by those pesky Europeans - but their song, Space Man, by Sam Ryder, might even crack the top five in the final, it’s that good.

By that stage, Ireland’s song will probably have long been forgotten.

Any chance of getting us a decent song we can all get behind in 2023, RTÉ?

More in this section

Sponsored Content

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more