As RTE start the planning for who will represent Ireland in Malmo in 2013 I will begin to look at some of the likely or indeed unlikely candidates to follow in the footsteps of Jedward and attempt to bring Ireland their 8th Eurovision victory and first since 1996.
And first up is one of the unlikely candidates, UK X Factor winner Shayne Ward. 27 year old Shayne is from Manchester, England and comes from an Irish Traveller background, he came to public attention in 2005 by winning the second session of ITVs X Factor, where he was mentored by Irish man, and Jedward manager, Mr Louis Walsh.
Shayne’s first single “That’s my Goal” was a huge success, being the UK and Irish number one that Christmas and selling 1.3m copies in the UK alone. That was followed up by a cover version of “No Promises” which was released in April 2006 and the self-titled album shortly after went on to go platinum in the UK and making number 1 across Europe.
Shayne’s second album “Breathless” was released in November 2007, reaching number 1 in Ireland, number 2 in the UK and the top 10 in several countries throughout Europe and Asia. Three singles were released from the album “If that’s Ok with you”, “No U hang up” and the title track “Breathless”, all top 10 hits in Ireland and the UK.
Despite Shanes success it was three years later before his third studio album “Obsession” was released. Shayne’s record company, managed by Simon Cowell, invested their attention on the success in the American market for Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle, seemingly at the expense of Shyane. The album was kicked off with the single “Gotta be Somebody” which make the top 10 in Ireland and top 20 in the UK, the album was a minor hit getting to 11 in Ireland and just number 15 in the UK but the follow up single failed miserably.
Shayne then turned his attention to London’s Westend and from June 2011 he has appeared in the hit show Rock of Ages. Shayne proved the range of his voice from candy pop to pure rock. His run in the show is due to end later this summer and Shayne plans to go back to the studio to record his third album. So, if the timing is right he would be ripe for the picking if RTE could get the right track to help him re-launch his career on the European scene.
Shayne would be ideal for Eurovision; he can definitely sing and has a versatile range that can see him deliver from rock to ballads. He can also hold his nerve on the big stage and proved he can dance, which can help deliver on a big performance. Although born in England Shane has strong Irish roots and would potentially be the second member for the Irish Traveller community to represent Ireland at Eurovision, the other being Chris Doran in 2004.
Shayne’s connection with Louis Walsh is a definite plus, Louis has demonstrated how Eurovision can be used to launch Jedward across Europe and with the vocal creditability of Shane the likelihood of an even more impressive result cannot be ruled out.
Shayne has proved he can compete and knows what winning is like – so will it be Shayne Ward for 2013 or is not all over till the fat lady sings?