You're a Star III: McCauls Tops, Maher Exits

by John Egan 46 views

Another week, another elimination: this time it's Lorraine Maher, the last of the wildcard entrants. But many are surprised that Joseph and Donna McCaul–seen by many as highly unlikely to win the modern Eurovision Song Contest–were tops in this week's voting. Will Ireland return to its former glory? Or once again be relegated to the bottom of the barrel?

This week Lorraine Maher leaves You�re A Star, leaving one female soloist (Ainé O'Doherty), two female bands (Jade and the Henry Girls), male soloist Peter Fagan, and this weeks surprise winners�Joseph and Donna McCaul. But does this bode well for Ireland�s aspirations to win Eurovision Song Contest number 8?

A few weeks ago it looked like this year's You�re A Star competition was Peter Fagan's to lose. After topping the polls for a number of weeks, he's slowly slipped down the last couple of weeks–even after giving what many view as the best performances each night. After one decent (Mickey Harte's final-qualifying We've Got the World Tonight) and one abysmal (Chris Doran's bottom-feeding If My World Stopped Turning) result for male solo singers, have the Irish voting public gone shy of sending your man #3 to Kiev?

Through this week�s show, it�s widely agreed that the strongest, most consistent performer has been Peter Fagan–another male solo artist. If Ireland wants to play the “culture card” the choice should be the Henry Girls. The last 3 contests have been won by female solo artists (Ruslana in 2004, Sertab Erener in 2003, Marie N in 2002), which makes sending Ainé O'Doherty tempting. Few, however, seem to think the McCauls have any chance of doing well in Kiev�particularly since Ireland must finish in the top 10 of the qualifying round to have a chance at winning the big prize.

After Ireland's worst showing ever in 2004, RTÉ promised to shake things up with this year's You�re A Star. They held performance workshops that included dance, movement, and overall performance in addition to vocal coaching. When You�re a Star 2005 débuted, many felt that Ireland's public broadcaster finally understood that the Eurovision Song Contest has most recently been won by great, visually elaborate performances, rather than merely great songs or great singers. Ireland remains the winner of more Eurovisions–seven–than any other nation, though they've not won in nearly a decade. Can they end the drought and win the 50th anniversary Contest?

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