herald

Saturday 26 May 2018

We've got a fantastic song, I think we have a great chance of winning

Eurovision hopeful Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Marty Whelan
Eurovision hopeful Ryan O’Shaughnessy and Marty Whelan

This is my 20th year coming to the Eurovision.

My first time at the song contest was when Johnny Logan had his second win in 1987 with Hold Me Now.

But I started coming back properly around the 2000 mark and have been a regular Eurovision face and voice since then.

The memories of it are phenomenal - and you're filled with a degree of nostalgia every time you come back.

But it's always new and different. I think it's becoming relevant again because it's watched by young people and babies and grannies. I think the secret to its success is its inclusivity - people like that.

So I flew into Lisbon last Saturday.

The first day we have a big meet-and-greet and that's wonderful because I get to say hello to my colleagues and contemporaries across Europe. It's great fun.

I also get to meet the contestants and some of the dancers.

Then we sit in on rehearsals and take notes - to see who's doing what and get a feel of the songs.

We're also told the correct way to pronounce different contestants' names so there are no mistakes on air.

This year, I haven't been to any Eurovision parties - that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I was thrilled when we made it through the semi- final and I announced on air that I was going to need to lie down in a darkened room for quite some time.

Over the past few years I had become used to us not getting through.

EXCITING

So to find out bang, we're in, well, it was very exciting altogether, especially after spending three hours in a box at the top of a building, waiting for a possibility.

As a result, I may have let my feelings out, but sometimes you have to let yourself go and be in the moment.

You start to whittle down the runners and riders early on in the week.

I think there are some strong contenders and then there's the mad stuff - pyrotechnics, men jumping out of God knows where and staircases on fire, but that's part of the appeal.

I think we have a great chance of winning.

Ryan knows this gig, he has done this sort of thing before on Britain's Got Talent, so he has great presence - and I thinks it's a fantastic song.

I'm very much looking forward to this evening.

It really has been something special - there's a great buzz back home and I can't wait to see how we fare this evening.

Whatever the result, Ryan has done us very, very proud.

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