Brian Kennedy, who will represent Ireland in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest semifinal in Athens, has moved up to the number 4 spot on the UK chart this week. Few artists have achieved chart success in the United Kingdom following an appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest, fewer still can claim to have had such exposure before the contest itself.
Brian Kennedy, however, has achieved just that months before his semifinal appearance for Ireland in Athens. Brian's tribute to recently departed football legend George Best climbed from 11 to 4 in the official UK singles chart on Sunday 8th January. George Best, a once hugely popular and often controvertial sports figure in the UK, passed away at the end of 2005.
A fellow Belfast boy like George himself, Brian has already performed with international names including The Corrs, Tina Turner and Van Morisson. His first album appeared in the shops in 1990, and at one time he enjoyed three albums in the Irish Top 30 simultaneously.
RTÉ have the task of selecting four songs for Brian to present to the televoting public in the Irish selection this year, and with the strong success he has achieved so far, they will be hoping to restore Irish fortunes in the Eurovision Song Contest to the success that they achieved in the 1990s.