Dear RTE – we need to talk


Writing a love letter to RTE is always a surprise and delight. The last four years have been roughly the same; I’m sorry you have not qualified because of x, y and z. This time, I really must get angry with you.

You used to be the Home of Eurovision. You used to know how to win this contest or, at the very least, how to do well.  Then you had a collective brain fart and went, “What the hell fire is this expanded contest?” Since then, you have done very little right.

I don’t know what you think you are trying to achieve, and, more worryingly, I don’t think you know what you are trying to achieve. They say that insanity is repeating the same thing repeatedly, which is what The Late Late Show is; it’s the wrong vehicle to select a song. Its audience is NOT the target audience of Eurovision any more – it’s harking back to an era that has long gone.

Wild Youth rehearsing We Are One for Ireland at the Second Rehearsal of the Second Semi-Final at Liverpool Arena
Photo: EBU/Sarah Louise Bennett

A bit like your songs, especially this year.  Wild Youth have said the right things, that they want to be there, and it’s the experience of a lifetime, but someone should have told Connor’s face that because he looked like he wanted to be literally anywhere else but on the stage.  It may not have helped that he believed “they” didn’t give Ireland a chance, but let’s be honest, when you have picked a song that was a plodder and is dull as ditch water, you get what you pay for.

Then there was the whole farce with the creative director and his hiring and sacking – that didn’t help, but when you see what you presented on stage – a man dressed in an Elvis off-cut plodding down some stairs looking distinctly unhappy and then getting Connor to mince about a bit for two minutes before throwing some last minute fireworks at it as a desperate attempt at doing something, anything, to get votes, you know you have a problem?

Only you don’t know – you think it is everyone else’s fault other than yours. Connor has gone on to the Insta saying “they” never gave Ireland a chance, without saying who “they” are – The Irish Independent has weighed in and ran with that as a line, and the comments are predictable. Where is your duty of care to your performers, and where is your PR strategy if you don’t qualify? – It sounds like you are just being lazy and letting a narrative play out.

My lovely horseDo you want my advice? – You don’t, but you will get it anyway. You need to ditch the Late Late Show; it’s not suitable for the contest, and if you have no money as you claim, go internal. Get a songwriter and do it on the radio or the TV; surely you could do this; after all, it’s what the UK did for years when we didn’t care.  Surely someone in your music industry is clamouring for exposure?

And even if, after destroying the reputation of the contest, you manage to find someone, the thing you DON’T do is to say to the songwriters, “Write something Eurovision 2004″ – that never works, so change the question to ” Write something good” – that’s the one you have not been asking.

I could go on and on and on, but you won’t listen because you think you know better, but, you know what, you might not.

Love to your Mum

Mr Phil

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