Ireland’s Head of Delegation Michael Kealy has hinted at a possible return to a national final format after he admitted that Ireland has scored “mixed results” while internally selecting their entries. Ireland last used a national final to select their entry in 2015.
He said that fans should have a say in selecting the Irish entry, however the Irish delegation has to find a way to do this within their budget. Kealy added that RTÉ is currently facing an ‘uphill struggle’ as a “small chronically underfunded broadcaster”.
Opening up to a public vote
Speaking to The Irish Sun, Michael Kealy said that he feels that it is time that the public get a say in selecting the Irish entrant for Eurovision again after Ireland finished last in the semi-final for the second time in a row.
I feel it’s time we reverted to giving the public their say in what we do but we must find an effective and cost effective way of doing that.– Michael Kealy, speaking to The Irish Sun
Before 2016, Ireland selected their Eurovision entrants via a national final format – originally the National Song Contest and then Eurosong. Ireland also used the talent show You’re a Star and the talk show The Late Late Show to select their entrants.
Former Eurovision winner Johnny Logan criticised RTÉ’s internal selection approach before this year’s contest. He said that “Irish people don’t have anything to do with the song apart from clapping when it’s on”.
Finance holding Ireland back?
The Head of Delegation also went on to add that RTÉ has been unable to put in as much money into their entries as other participating countries.
Other countries are able to invest significantly more money and resources in their selection processes, staging and support teams than a small chronically underfunded broadcaster like RTÉ, that’s unfortunately a fact of life we can’t ignore.– Michael Kealy, speaking to The Irish Sun
Michael Kealy would not disclose the cost of this year’s Irish staging – which was designed by Swedish creative director Fredrik Rydman. The Irish Sun added that some Irish fans had wondered at why the intricate staging was used, despite RTÉ’s ongoing budget struggles in Eurovision.
Lesley Roy represented Ireland at this year’s contest in Rotterdam with the song “Maps”. She failed to qualify for the grand final, scoring only 20 points and placing last in the semi-final. The start of Lesley’s performance was disrupted after a camera broke just as Lesley was about to begin performing.