RTE Eurovision bosses confident Ryan air will fly
RTE bosses are confident Ryan O'Shaughnessy has what it takes to restore Ireland's Eurovision glory and bring us a solid result in Portugal this year.
The former Britain's Got Talent singer (25) will represent Ireland in Lisbon in May with the ballad, Together.
The national broadcaster sent former Hometown singer Brendan Murray to Eurovision last year, but his ballad, Dying To Try, failed to land Ireland a place in the final.
However, the head of the Irish delegation at Eurovision, Michael Kealy, insisted that did not put the team off sending another ballad this year.
"I'd be very hopeful that this song would certainly qualify, and if we get to the final it has the potential to do well," he said.
"We considered all sorts of songs. There was up-tempo, fast, slow.
"The one the panel eventually decided on just happened to be a ballad, we felt it was a strong song.
"It wasn't, 'Oh, we entered a ballad last year, we can't do it this year'."
Mr Kealy insisted Ryan is not a bit nervous ahead of taking to the stage in front of hundreds of millions of viewers.
"He doesn't appear to be. He's in Portugal at the minute filming his postcard video. He's scuba diving. He has over a month to get nervous," he said.
Rumours recently abounded that Russia, known for its anti-gay laws, might censor some of Ireland's performance as the video for Together features a gay couple.
Mr Kealy noted that RTE had not been contacted by any Russian representatives about any issues with broadcasting the performance.
"There has been no suggestion that Russia have had any problem. I think it was just a rumour from a fan site," he said.