Sunday 17 February 2019

Ryan 'all aboard' for Eurovision after China row

Ryan O’Shaughnessy
performs Together in
Lisbon (AP)
Ryan O’Shaughnessy performs Together in Lisbon (AP)

Ryan O'Shaughnessy is relishing the attention he has been getting as one of the favourites to win the Euro- vision Song Contest tonight.

Ireland's entry has made headlines all over the world because of the controversy surrounding the decision by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to ban China from airing the competition after it censored his semi- final effort.

Ryan's performance of the song, Together, features a love story between two male dancers.


As the EBU ban on China sparked global interest, bookies experienced a surge in support for the Irish entry.

Ryan is now third favourite behind the Cypriot and Israeli songs to win the contest, potentially extending our Eurovision record to eight triumphs.

The 25-year-old Skerries man revealed that he fully supports the EBU decision to stop China broadcasting the event.

"Eurovision is all aboard, it's about celebrating diversity," he told the Herald.

"What they did by censoring our performance was going completely against that. It was the correct decision by the EBU. We're all in this together, and people are really understanding what we're doing with this."

The performance is the first in the contest's 63-year history to feature a same-sex couple.

Ryan has insisted that it is important to send out a positive message in the music.

Meanwhile, his proud mum has spoken about her nerves ahead of his performance in Lisbon this evening.

Janet O'Shaughnessy said she thought she was going to be sick as she watched and waited for the results of Tuesday night's semi-final.

Ryan was the last act to win a spot in the final.

"When you buy four drinks in the Lisbon Altice arena, they give you a bucket to put your drinks into," she told Brenda Donoghue, who was filling in for Ray D'Arcy on RTE Radio 1 yesterday.

"When the semi-final results were being announced I said, 'Pass me the bucket' because I thought I was going to be sick.

"I don't know if it was excitement or what, but I didn't get sick."

Janet admitted that she cried when she realised her son had made it through, and wanted him to prove the doubters wrong.


"Our whole thing going through was if he gets through the semi-final, that's brilliant - he's done better than a lot of people have done, so that's great," she added.

"In fairness, there was a lot of naysayers. I just wanted him to prove them wrong, basically."

Janet added that people have told her it is like the Ireland football team "qualifying for Italia 90 all over again" in terms of the atmosphere in Lisbon among the supporters.

However, regardless of how Ryan does in the final, she said he is "already a winner to me".

The Eurovision final is on RTE One tonight at 8pm

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