RTE warms up for next Eurovision

 

THERE was a something of a warm up for next year's Eurovision Song Contest, to be held yet again in Ireland, when RTE released the logo for the 1997 competition and held a draw to decide the order of the singers.

The logo was designed by Rory Kelleher (25), front Limerick, who joined RTE two years ago.

The executive producer of the show, Mr Noel Curran, said Celtic themes had been used in the past, but for the 1997 contest they wanted a more modern, contemporary feel.

Whoever sings Ireland's entry in the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest will be the fifth artist to perform, following yesterday's draw to decide the order of appearance.

The RTE Head of Television, Mr Liam Miller, who must now rank as Europe's greatest living expert on the Eurovision, said fifth was a good position. In his view being high up or near the end of the list carried the most advantage, which means that Britain must have been pleased to have been picked 24th out of 25 entries. Iceland is last, with Cyprus opening the show at the Point Theatre on May 3rd.

The draw was conducted by an RTE presenter, Ms Mary Kennedy, and last year's winner, Eimear Quinn.

Ms Quinn, who was studying for a music degree when she won for Ireland in Oslo, has deferred her final year in order to pursue a singing career. She has continued with the classical group Anuna, and today she releases her first solo record, a four track CD. She is releasing an album in the new year.

Ireland has won so often now - seven times, a Eurovision record - that no one seems to be overly concerned at the expense. However, it is expected to cost about £2.75 million, with RTE finding about one third of that and the balance coming from the European Broadcasting Union and sponsorship.

Mr Miller said he was confident the contest would demonstrate RTE's strength and depth in both its creative and technical talent. The 1997 Eurovision would also provide a huge opportunity for the State which RTE would fully exploit, he said.

Mr Miller also said the relationship RTE had developed with the music industry in Ireland had helped secure Ireland's victory. Since 1990, only songwriters and composers, who had published at least one song with a recognised music publisher, were eligible. Since that rule Ireland had won four times and was runner up once.