The news just came in as I woke up this morning (on the 13th): RTÉ officially announced their internal selection. No Late Late Show, no national final-talk show, no performance in a studio with bad echo, and no people on stage calling certain audience members odious little men. Yes, I’m talking about you, Linda Martin.
This year Ireland internally selected former Westlife member Nicky Byrne to perform the song “Sunlight.” Overall it’s a radio-friendly, Mello-esque entry that’s somewhat catchy with a video similar to Ryan Dolan’s in 2013, and I can already hear the recap soundbites of “In the sun—light” after listening to the song once and looking at the lyrics. At the same time, because it’s an entry that sounds like a typical Swedish American Swedish pop song on the radio, there will be people arguing that it’s a formulaic Eurovision-by-numbers song written specifically for the contest and/or that it sounds like a schlager from the mid ‘00s. But even though it could be that, I still like it (as of so far after 4-5 listens) and would probably sing along with in the car if it came up.
As there haven’t been any live performances of this song yet, his vocal performance and the staging/choreography are going make or break whether Ireland qualifies for the final. I don’t want to jinx anything (*knocks on wood*), but Ireland’s done fairly well in recent years ending in 6. Eimear Quinn earned Ireland’s 7th win in 1996, and Brian Kennedy, who was also internally selected after 2 years of poor results, received a respectable 10th place in 2006.
Given that there are still 41 entries left to be presented (which include all the countries that bookies are likely to hype), I doubt that Ireland’s going to bring home an 8th win. Hopefully Ireland doesn’t suffer from early release like the Netherlands last year and will earn a somewhat decent result. And by Ireland’s recent entries, I’m going to guess that “decent” means qualifying and receiving anything higher than last place, maybe a lower mid-table score. Or maybe they’ll ride on the luck of 6’s and get something better.