Brian Kennedy, Marty Whelan and former Eurovision Song Contest winner Eimear Quinn spoke to TVNow about the most talked about topic of the minute: the Eurovision Song Contest!
Brian Kennedy will perform his own song "Every song isa cry for love", in Athens, here is what he said:
Are you looking forward to going to Athens?
I really am, it's really beginning to hot up now, no matter where I go on the street, people are wishing me well so there seems to be a great feel of just well wishers really and that's really wonderful.
Who was your favourite Eurovision Song Contest winner?
It's hard to beat Johnny Logan, isn't it? Because he had that 'snazzy' Saturday Night Fever white suit and he just looked so glamourous, and of course I would have to say Eimear Quinn because it was a really unusual song and she just looked so stunning. She looked like a goddess!
How have you prepared for the big night in Athens?
As much as you can. I just try to keep healthy and keep fit. Just make sure every variation of the song is explored and we have ended up with an arrangement that we all really love. I couldn't be more happy and satisfied with everything that is going on, right down to the clothes.
Had you much input into your Eurovision Song Contest outfit?
Absolutely. I am not going to wear something that I don't like or don't feel comfortable in. I am old enough to stand up for myself, but it's been a real collaboration with a wonderful woman in RTÉ called Brigette. She had just got such an eye for clothes. She suggested one or two things and initially I was not sure but you put them on and they look wonderful.
Are you nervous at all? Do you ever get nervous?
Of course, always! I get nervous about everything. I think it is really really important to get nervous, it means you care about it, you want to do your best and you are taking nothing for granted. It's just who I am, I want to be the best that I can. I don't want to let everyone down.
If you don't make it through to the final, how do you think it will affect your career?
That will be a victory in itself, so fingers crossed. I would be very disappointed but I don't think it would be the end of anything. I think you just 'chalk' it up to experience and you put your best foor forward. I'm a survivor. I've had many knocks as well as lifts in my career, but we couldn't be more prepared.
How do your rate your chances of winning?
I have no idea! I have heard every song now, but it's hard to know. It all depends on what happens on the night.
Ireland seems to have lost its winning streak of late, do you think you can bring it back?
I am not going out there to win, I'm not going out there to lose.
Brian, what do you hope to take away from this experience?
Apart from 'douze points' from every country. I will take away the amazing feeling of being part of such an incredible competition like this. I will hopefully take away a really positive experience from it!
You have done so much in your career, regardless of the outcome. What's next for Brian Kennedy?
My brand new album is out on 26th May 2006 and it's called 'Homebird'. And whatever happens, I'll be back to start promotion on it and I'm also doing a whole week of concerts at the 'Olympia' Theatre in Dublin in July, so I cannot wait!
Eimear Quinn will announce Ireland's televote results at Athens, here'e what she said:
Eimear, what is your involvement in this year's Eurovision Song Contest?
I'm going to be presenting the results of the Irish televote. I'm going to be 'Good evening Athens, this is Dublin calling'.
Are you excited?
Actually I'm really delighted to do it, because the voting part of the Eurovision Song Contest is the bit that we remember as being the most fun. It's bizarre to think that you're going to be the contributor. It's lovely to be asked. And I think they wanted to do something to mark the fact that it's 10 years since Ireland won the Eurovision Song Contest, and I'm the most recent winner.
In what country did you perform and win the Eurovision Song Contest?
In Oslo, Norway. And to be on that stage is mond-blowing. It was just an adrenaline rush. It's hard to explain, because it is one night in your life and you go on to do so many other things afterwards but it's a thrill – it's an amazing experience.
Have you any advice for Brian about how he should prepare for the semi-final?
He is probably the most phenomenal performer I have ever seen. He has an amazing talent at live performance, so there isn't any advice that I could give him.
So do you think the Eurovision Song Contest has helped or hindered your career?
Oh for goodness sake, it helped it largely – yeah. A lot of people go on about the Eurovision Song Contest being 'a poisoned chalice', but it's not at all. It's been great for me because I was primarily a classical music student, and since winning I've toured all over the world and I've composed songs and sung songs with amazing artists. And I've just released my third album called 'Gatherings'. The Eurovision Song Contest is only a night in your life, but it brought me in so many different directions that I wouldn't even consider.
Marty Whelan is back again with commentary of the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland, here's his opinions:
Marty, you're going to Athens then?
Oh of course! because I'm doing my radio show as well, I'm not going out until the Friday beforehand. Don't forget we have two shows, you get the semi-final on the 18th and the final on the 20th of May 2006.
Do you think Brian will get through then?
I'm on my knees doing rosaries… I hope so. It's a very strange thing, but this event is what it is and all it takes is four or five Croatians and Latvians to vote for each other and we're 'shagged'.
Are you relieved that Ireland are not sending an act from 'You're A Star' this year?
Well I don;t think it should ever have been a part of it. I never thought they should be together – I think they are two very distinct items. Look, the Eurovision Song Contest attracts an audience of 600 million people. It'sa bit mega, you know. And for all the people who say they don't watch it, they do. In Ireland it's still a huge television feast every year. People love the entertainment value of it.
Do you think Brian made the right decision to be in this year's Eurovision Song Contest?
Yes I do. And I also would say to you 'Why not?' It remains in terms of TV the biggest event that is on every year. That alone means that it has significance. Cliff Richard didn't enter into the competition twice for no reason. And he should say that by entering the competition he sold more records by being a part of it, than not being a part of it.
Is Brian nervous, do you think?
He's not nervous now no, but he will be. At the moment he feels full of confidence – and he's right to be – but in a few days' time the nerves will kick in; and that's how it should be too.
It also appears that Brian's recent high profile and continuing popularity has landed him his own Friday night music and chat show on RTÉ ONEtelevision this summer. Brian has previously presented two television series on BBC Northern Ireland.
The Eurovision Song Contest will be shown on RTÉ television.
- Semi-final: Thurs 18th May at 21:00(CET) on RTÉ TWO
- Final: Sat 20th May at 21:00(CET) on RTÉ ONE.
- Sat 13th May at 16:30(CET) on RTÉ ONE.
Visit RTÉ Eurovision Song Contest website here.