Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Eurovision 2008 preliminaries off to a flying (or at least a feathered) start

Following Ireland's last place finish with 5 points in the 2007 Eurovision song contest, the national broadcaster, RTÉ, is arranging the final preliminary round of choosing an Irish entrant for the 2008 contest. The final, to which the lucky entrant will be sent, is to be held in Belgrade, Serbia, on Saturday May 24th.

A controversial entrant is the puppet, Dustin the Turkey, whose presence in the competitions led to a short debate on the political television programme, Questions & Answers.

For those interested in following Irelands' and other countries' shortlisting and voting results, the site All Kinds of Everything has a very interesting blog and an extensive News section.

From The Irish Times:

"In the past some unkind critics have described Ireland's entries in the Eurovision as turkeys but this year we could actually have a turkey performing our entry.

"The Irish final will be held on February 23rd when the public decides who will represent Ireland at the Eurovision semi-final in Serbia in May. Already the turkey has ruffled feathers with one Eurovision fans' website reporting that Dustin is in the running, with the headline "Puppet to Mock Eurovision?"

"The Dublin turkey has an impressive CV, having run for president of Ireland, recorded with Bob Geldof and made a career out of insulting Pat Kenny and mocking Leitrim. But the puppet will have to pull some strings if he wants to make it to Belgrade. Bill Hughes, chairman of the judging panel, said Irish voters would have a very strong field to choose from.

"The other songs are:
Double Cross My Heart, performed by Donal Skehan and composed by Joel Humlén, Oscar Gorres and Charlie Mason; Time to Rise, performed by Maya and composed by Maja Slatinsek and Ziga Pirnat; Not Crazy After All, performed by Leona Daly and composed by Leona Daly and Steve Booker; Sometimes, performed by Liam Geddes and written by Susan Hewitt; and Chances, written and performed by Marc Roberts, who came second in the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest.

"Mr Hughes said the panel did not choose Dustin's song in a flippant manner. "We did think seriously about it but once we heard it and we all laughed so much we decided it was worth including."

"Ireland had never entered a novelty or humorous song before, he said, and it was just one of six songs for the public to choose from. John Waters, who co-wrote last year's Irish entry, was not getting into a flap over the prospect that his successor could be a turkey. "Don't forget that we are talking about the Eurovision. It's fun, it's kitsch and nobody takes it all that seriously," he said.

"He may have come last, but Waters believes that the turkey cannot lose, because of his novelty value. "If Dustin wins it's a victory and if he comes last it's a victory. The worst thing would be if Dustin came second-last. That would be failure as we would have beaten him." Dustin's election campaigns included promises such as bringing the Dart to Dingle, but he will have to step up his game as he bids for Eurovision glory. The only problem is, will Europe understand him when he shouts his catchphrase "Go on ya good ting"?"

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