It’s the second year in a row that Ireland is not having a national final anymore. Therefore the Irish broadcaster has made an internal selection again. Ireland has not been very successful in the past years, no final in three successive years. Last year even Nicky Byrne could not change it, despite is popularity from the boy group Westlife. This year the choice felt to Brendan Murray, who is a former member of the boy band Hometown.
Brendan Murray was born in Tuam, county Galway (Western Ireland) in 1996. In early years he started with his guitar as a street musician. Later one he joined the boy group Hometown which was managed by Louis Walsh. The band had two number one hits in Ireland “Where I Belong” in 2014 and “Cry For Help” in 2015. Their debut album “Home Town” reached #4 in the Irish album charts. Last year the band split up for a creative break.
The choice of RTE for Brendan Murray was because of his extraordinary voice. The very soft and clear voice sounds very young, almost childish in a positive way. The composition of “Dying To Try” perfectly matches with Brendan’s gentle voice. When the Irish entry has been unveiled there has been a lot of criticism, even the big newspapers like the Irish Independent uttered their doubts “the song sounds like fall off a Westlife album”. Nevertheless, there is a Swedish composer responsible for this song: Jörgen Elofsson who also composed songs for Westlife, Celine Dion, Britney Spears and James Newman. The song is about love and trust in another person, there is no guarantee that love works, but it’s always worth to try. With this entry Ireland is back in the ballads with a great climax.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few ballads this year and those are sung by young men. So it all depends on the stage performance, if Brendan is able to reach the Grand Final.
Finals: 44 (7 since 2004)
Top 10: 31
Chances for Top 10: 62 %
Chances for Final: 54 %
For Ireland it will be the 51st time participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. Ireland is still the most successful country in the ESC with seven victories, closely followed by Sweden with 6 victories. Additionally, Ireland still has the record of three successive victories 1992, 1993 and 1994 and then another time in 1996. These were the golden years of Ireland in the ESC history.
Unfortunately, the jaunty times of the top positions and victories is over. This is due to several reasons e.g. the language rule was tilt in 1999, so from that year every participating country was able to sing in English or a language of preference. The unique advantage of the English speaking countries has gone. Furthermore the general interest has decreased dramatically thanks to the launch of the Semi Finals in 2004. Now Ireland has to go through the qualification process every year.
In the track record there is of course Johnny Logan, who could win two times as a singer with “What's Another Year” in 1980 and “Hold Me Now” in 1987. He could also win another time as a composer of “Why Me” sung by Linda Martin in 1992.
The chances for Ireland to be in the Top10 are still relatively high with 62%. Ireland and the music from Ireland is mostly connect with ethnic music and ballads. There were several attempts over the years to bring modern pop music. Best example here is Jedward who could bring new spirit into the contest with “Lipstick” in 2011 (8th place) and “Waterline” in 2012 (19th place). In the recent years Ireland was unsuccessful and did not pass the Semi Finals. The last time Ireland has been in the Grand Final was in 2013.