Eurovision 2017: Those who chose Ireland’s unfortunate tune must be held accountable

Eurovision ballads have to be oversized, massive honking tunes that are full of fun

Brendan Murray will perform 'Dying To Try' at the Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine. The ballad was co-written by Swedish songwriter Jörgen Elofsson and British songwriter James Newman. Video: RTÉ

 

There were a lot of unfinished, stationary things in this Eurovision semi-final and not just the wooden identikit presenters who sounded like they were on the fritz. Switzerland had a half-finished stairs leading to nowhere, Belarus were on a boat that remained moored to the stage, Romania had glittery canons that weren’t fired and then there was us, poor Ireland with our hot air balloon that never got off the ground - there’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

 For the fourth year in a row Ireland have failed to qualify for a contest that previously we’d only have to sneeze onstage to win. There will be questions and accusations thrown at pop grande dame Louis Walsh and the mysterious cabal that make up Ireland’s Eurovision delegation. Those who chose the unfortunate tune must be held accountable. Dying to Try a plodding, tepid ballad that sounded vaguely like a haunted version of  R.Kelly’s Turn Back the Hands of Time was completely uneventful, a fine drizzle swallowed up by the mighty musical typhoon raging around it.

Technicolour euro–yodelling madness

Eurovision ballads have to be oversized, massive honking tunes and perhaps Dying to Try was just too monochrome and weedy in the face of the technicolour madness of euro-yodelling from Romania, folk house bangers from Belarus and Hungary and the spectacle of the night that came from Croatia. Jacques Hudek’s My Friend began with him dispensing some Oprah-lite self-help advice about loving yourself before he proceeded to sing a duet WITH HIMSELF (his own best friend) the first solo duet - part operatic voice, part pop vocals, altogether a full-on fever dream that could only exist at Eurovision.

 What these disparate songs have in common is that they’re all ridiculous fun. Brendan Murray may have had the wardrobe of a Black or White era Michael Jackson and a Matt Bellamy style falsetto but there was no levity, no spark, he failed to soar and could only plough through an unnecessary key change in his balloon of doom. Eurovision is a serious business of course but that doesn’t mean the successful songs have to be too, even the most sombre of tunes like Bulgaria’s Beautiful Mess had an X–Factor ballad meets Bieber wonky, looping infectious charm to it. Maybe we should just give up on the idea of the funereal paced ballad completely as some of the triumphant countries sounded like they were copying from our pop homework.

Mumba for Eurovision 2018

The Austrian entry was sung by a bizarrely age-less magician who turned out a tune that The Script would have vomited up in the back of a taxi after their Centra wines. It had that generic radio-friendly quality, that was so familiar it a bit scary leaving you with an eerie sense of musical deja vu. Of course Austria and their Irish-style pop song sailed through leaving our Brit-Swede effort far behind.

 At least in our Jedward years we could be proud that their songs were the type to fit snugly into the ostentatious diamanté glove that is Eurovision even if they fell short of votes, the chorus of Lipstick still infects brains, a virus you cannot free yourself from. This year it was difficult to get excited about a song that was so forgettable it oozed out of your ears as it was being sung.

As a nation we need to take back control of our song selection, we need to get passionate again, we must go back to our love by demanding that our next effort is sung by Samantha Mumba a bone fide pop star whose surname almost sounds like ABBA which is obviously a sign that this is our destiny. Mumba for Eurovision 2018. You know it makes sense.

The campaign starts now.

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