ESC 2010 Reviews: Ireland
Hmm…remember what I said about France being the Queen of Eurovision? Scratch that. With seven victories, including 4 wins and 2 second places in the 1990s alone, Ireland is truly the one that other nations look up to (or used to, anyway). It’s getting late here in Minnesota, so I’ll just be quick about this; here are Ireland’s most glorious moments:
1970: Dana, “All Kinds of Everything“. Sweet and syrupy as treacle, Dana was only about 18 years old and in training to be an English teacher when she took home Ireland’s first victory, .
1980: Johnny Logan, “What’s Another Year?” and 1987: Johnny Logan, “Hold Me Now“. Although many previous winners have come back to the contest (Anne Marie David from France/Luxembourg, Charlotte Perelli from Sweden, Gigliola Cinquetti from Italy, etc…), only Logan was ever able to grab two victories. As wonderful as that performance was, however, I personally prefer this version.
1992: Linda Martin, “Why Me?“. This could technically be considered Johnny Logan’s third ESC win, as he actually composed this entry, too!
1993: Niamh Kavanagh, “In Your Eyes“. Niamh (pronounced Neeve) was a relative unknown in Ireland before her win, but she appeared in the soundtrack for the film adaptation of the Roddy Doyle book “The Committments”. Great flick; I recommend it!
1994: Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids“. There are rumors that RTE, the Irish broadcaster, picked this song to intentionally lose. It wasn’t upbeat or flashy, there was no fancy
instrumentation (just a guitar and piano, nothing else), and no male duo had ever won the contest before. Despite all of this, Paul and Charlie won handily, with a 60-point margin over 2nd-placed Poland. The 1994 Contest is also notable for being the world premiere of Riverdance, performed during the interval when the juries completed their voting.
1996: Eimar Quinn, “The Voice“. A former member of the choral group Anúna, “The Voice” was a definite departure from the ballads that had won the contest before for Ireland. This one was much more traditionally Celtic-inspired.
Ok, just to be fair, Ireland’s had a few crushing defeats in the past few years, and one in particular was a real turkey. No, seriously. Dustin the Turkey is a well-known figure in the Irish media, and has even run a campaign for President on the platform of promising every young man in Ireland a date with one of the Pussycat Dolls. His (its?) entry, “Irelande Douze Pointe ” was a twisted skewering of the contest as a whole, asking “Europe, where oh where did it all go wrong?” Sadly, it didn’t make it out of the semifinals. Actually, Ireland hasn’t made it out of the semis since 2007, when they eventually came in dead last in the final, a first for the Emerald Isle.
Carrying the Irish torch this year is 1993 ESC winner Niamh Kavanagh.
Her song, “It’s For You”, won the Irish preselection with the highest possible number of points from both the jury and televoters, and Eurovision almost always loves a returning champion, especially from the nation that’s won the ESC more often than any other. She looks and sounds great, even considering that it’s been 17 years since her victory. Niamh will be competing in the second semifinal, but she should definitely make it through to the final round.