Sunday 17 February 2019

'We're going to win Eurovision this year' - Ryan

Ryan O'Shaughnessy
Ryan O'Shaughnessy

Ryan O'Shaughnessy has told of his pride at making it through to the Eurovision song contest final in Lisbon on Saturday night.

It was a nail-biting wait for him to see if we would qualify from the first semi-final heat last night, with only 10 places up for grabs - and then Ireland got the last spot.

"For a moment, I thought this is it, we're out," said Ryan.

"But something inside just said, 'That can't be it', and the camera moved over and they called out Ireland. They left us last for a reason.

"We've been the underdogs since we came here.


"But we made the Eurovision what it was and we're going to make it what it is in the future. We're going to win it on Saturday. Dublin for 2019.

"I'm feeling so happy and I'm feeling so proud of my team."

Ryan looked thrilled as the news sunk in that he had made it through thanks to a note-perfect performance of Together.

It had been labelled both the Eurovision "semi-final of death" and "The Bloodbath", given the sheer intensity of competition.

However, Ryan did the country proud and qualified for the final.

There was delight as Ryan’s place in the final was confirmed
There was delight as Ryan’s place in the final was confirmed

It wasn't going to be an easy fight, with all of this year's heavy hitters due to perform in the first semi-final.

There was concern that Ryan's ballad, co-written with Mark Caplice and Laura Elizabeth Hughes, would fall by the wayside, but all those fears proved unfounded.

The 25-year-old, from Skerries, got a fantastic reaction from the crowd after he sang.

Ryan had described the challenge of making it through to the final as "mammoth".

"It's only really kind of dawned on me the past few days the mammoth task in front of me, and how important it is for Ireland to succeed," he said.

The last time we made it to the final was in 2013, and the whole country can now look forward to watching it.

The reach of the song contest is not to be sniffed at. With an average audience of 200 million, more people watch the camp contest than the Super Bowl, and its global appeal looks set to grow.

This week, former RTE director general and current European Broadcasting Union (EBU) director general Noel Curran said the singing contest had "a life beyond Europe".

He said his team were looking at how to bring it to audiences beyond the continent.

This could extend to the US. In 2016, Justin Timberlake performed as the interval act and this year Hollywood actor Will Ferrell has been spotted at the contest.

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