Watch Ryan Dolan's Eurovision final entry

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Ryan Dolan performs at Only Love Survives Eurovision dress rehearsal

Ireland's 2013 competitor, Ryan Dolan, qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest tonight. Dolan and his five-person backup act, performing the song 'Only Love Survives,' were among 10 of 16 competing countries to win a place in Saturday's final.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be through to the final," Dolan said tonight. "I have such an amazing team behind me. Leanne, Alison, Nicky, Colm and Alan are all brilliant to work with and they did Ireland proud on stage tonight. A big shout out to my mentor Stuart O'Connor for all the support and believing in me. It was such a buzz being on stage tonight performing to 15,000 in the arena and 125 million viewers around the world."

Top-rated countries Denmark, Russia, and Ukraine all also qualified. The latter song, ‘Gravity’, has a fairy-tale staging theme and opens with a 7 foot, 8-inch tall man, Igor Vovkovinskiy, carrying the petite female singer Zlata Ognevich onstage. For the first time in nine years, the Netherlands qualified for the final with the haunting ballad ‘Birds’ by Anouk, one the country’s most popular musical performers. The other qualifiers were Belarus, Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, and Moldova.

Dolan gave a high-energy performance that received a huge reaction in the packed Malmö Arena. Audiences have been reacting well in rehearsals to the up-tempo number that Dolan wrote with Wez Devine. Dolan has been growing in confidence with each performance in the run-up to this year’s competition.


When asked today about his pre-show rituals, Dolan revealed that he and his backup group do meditation and visualisation exercises before each performance, led by his voice coach: 'We imagine what everything is going to look like on stage, the way everybody's going to be going on, and flags waving... it's rehearsing what's going to happen.' Dolan also wears a medal given to him by his parish priest, Fr. Declan Bolan, who has travelled to Malmö along with many members of the Dolan family.

In a new twist this year for Eurovision, the qualifying finalists did not pick their place in the final by drawing lots a press conference immediately following the announcement of semi-final results. Rather, the Swedish producers will set the running order once all the finalists are decided. The European Broadcasting Union, which produces Eurovision, advocated for this change in order to craft the most compelling evening of entertainment possible out of the final. It has proved controversial, however, with contest aficionados who are concerned that this could be used to influence results.

The contest continues on Thursday night with another 16 hopefuls, including Norway’s powerful electro-pop number “I Feed You my Love” and Georgia’s classic power ballad “Waterfall.”