Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008

Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008

ESC National Year
Year = 2008
Country = IRL
Preselection = Eurosong 2008
100% Televoting/SMS
Preselection date = 23 February 2008
Entrant = Dustin the Turkey
Song = "Irelande Douze Pointe"
SF result = "Failed to qualify" (15th)
Final result =

Ireland participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 after Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) held a national final, Eurosong 2008, to select the Irish entry for the contest, held in Belgrade, Serbia. For 2008, RTÉ reverted to their multi-song multi-singer format that had previously been used to select the Irish entry at Eurovision. Six artists competed in the final, with the Irish public choosing the winner through televoting and SMS. Residents of Northern Ireland could also take part in the voting through televoting and SMS. The winner was Dustin the Turkey with the song "Irelande Douze Pointe". At Eurovision, he placed 15th in the semi-final, failing qualify for the final of the contest.

Eurosong 2008


After placing last in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, RTÉ announced that they would review their position in the contest with Tara O’Brien of RTÉ saying that they would "definitely be having a sit-down and looking at our geographical position and going through the whole process." [cite web|url=|title=Ireland to follow Monaco out?|last=Viniker|first=Barry |date=2007-05-14|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-24] [cite web|url=|title=RTÉ look at the future participation|last=Rendall|first=Alasdair |date=2007-05-14|publisher="Oikotimes"|accessdate=2008-09-24] RTE reached a consensus and agreed to change the selection process and revert to the "National Song Contest" format that was used in Ireland before 2001, resulting in seven Irish winners. [cite web|url=|title=RTÉ to return to the National Song Contest|last=McEvoy|first=Denis |date=2007-10-03|publisher="Oikotimes"|accessdate=2008-09-24] cite web|url=|title=Ireland calls for Eurovision 2008 entries|last=Krasilnikova|first=Anna |date=2007-04-11|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-24]

Eurosong 2008 was the name of the Irish national final that replaced 2007's selection process for 2008. An open call for songs by RTÉ was conducted, with the deadline for submissions set at 23 January 2008. A judging panel, including Irish Eurovision winner Linda Martin, reduced the shortlist of entries from the 150 songs submitted to RTE to just six entries.cite web|url=|title=RTE to air national final from Limerick|last=Konstantopoulos|first=Fotis |date=2008-01-17|publisher="Oikotimes"|accessdate=2008-09-24] Of the 150 songs submitted, many were by previous Irish national final songwriters, including Karl Broderick (Ireland 2005 songwriter), Niall Mooney (You're A Star 2004 songwriter) and Marc Roberts (Ireland 1997). [cite web|url=|title=Niall Mooney speaks out to|last=McEvoy|first=Denis|date=2008-01-25|publisher="Oikotimes"|accessdate=2008-09-24] Similar to the "National Song Contest" that Ireland adopted before 2001, the contest not only took song quality into account, but also visual presentation and proposed performance details. [cite web|url=|title=RTÉ kicks off song quest; changes in NF format|date=2007-11-02|publisher="Oikotimes"|accessdate=2008-09-24] Three judges were present at the contest, giving their views on the songs, as well as their personal opinions. They were Louis Walsh, Irish music manager and X Factor judge, Dana, Irish Eurovision winner in 1970, and Marija Šerifović, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 for Serbia.

The songs

Donal Skehan

:Donal Skehan entered a song composed by Joel Humlen, Oscar Gorres and Charlie Mason, called "Double Cross My Heart".cite web|url=|title=Ireland: songs and running order confirmed|last=Viniker|first=Barry|date=2008-02-03|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] Mason had previously wrote a song for Monrose for the German national final in 2007. The song is a pop song, described by Skehan as "Eurovision by numbers".cite web|url=|title=Ireland: Donal Skehan speaks to|last=Viniker|first=Barry|date=2008-02-19|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] It was performed by Skehan with two male and two female back-up dancers, as well as a male back-up singer, with Skehan wearing a silver waistcoat and trousers. The performance started with Skehan singing in a spotlight, with the dancers swaying in the background, before coming out and dancing around him."Eurosong 2008" (2008-02-23). "Radio Telefís Éireann". Retrieved on 2008-09-27.]

Dustin the Turkey

:Rumours circulated around Ireland after a news-piece on the RTÉ website claimed that famous Irish children's-TV presenter Dustin the Turkey had entered a song for Eurosong, then called "Twelve points, douze points". When the list of songs that was issued by RTÉ, it did in fact include Dustin, who was then tipped as the favourite to win the contest.cite web|url=|title=Ireland: Dustin the Turkey to compete in Eurosong?|last=Hondal|first=Víctor|date=2008-01-29|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] Dustin's entry, "Irelande Douze Pointe", is a mock entry, making fun of the Eurovision Song Contest, with lyrics such as "Drag acts and bad acts and Terry Wogan's wig". [cite web|url=|title=Lyrics - Irelande Douze Pointe|publisher="Diggiloo Thrush"|accessdate=2008-09-27] The title of the song also mocks the contest, mimiking the famous phrase from Eurovision "douze points". The song was composed by Darren Smith, Simon Fine and Dustin (aka Johnny Morrison). Dustin was present on stage in a trolley, with Kitty B (Kathleen Burke) and Ann Harrington singing back-up, along with three male back-up dancers. The performance began with Dustin being wheeled-out from the side of the stage by a cloaked figure, with the trolley also being cloaked. The cloaks were removed and the performance included a lot of dancing by the back-up dancers, bathed in green, white and gold, the colours of the Irish flag.


:Slovenian singer Maja Slatinšek had entered her song, "Time to Rise", composed by herself and Ziga Pirnat, into not only the Irish final, but also the Slovenian and Romanian finals as well. Slovenian broadcaster Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV SLO) did not chose Slatinšek's song to compete in EMA 2008, the Slovenian final, but RTÉ and the Romanian broadcaster Televiziunea Română (TVR) allowed her to compete in their respective national finals. Slatinšek withdrew from the Romanian final, with her and Pirnat saying that the chance of competing in Ireland. The "possibility of being among the Irish finalists, one of the biggest powers in Eurovision, was an offer we could not turn down," said Slatinšek. [cite web|url=|title=Maja drops Romania for Ireland|last=Kalimeris|first=Aris|date=2008-01-25|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] [cite web|url=|title=Maja Slatinsek speaks on|last=Kalimeris|first=Aris|date=2008-02-19|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] Slatinšek's performance involved her singing for the first half of the song with four male dancers coming in later on, and performing artistic moves around her. The end of the performance involved her being raised on a box, with her plain white dress being lowered over it.

Leona Daly

:Leona Daly entered the contest with "Not Crazy After All", composed by her and Steve Booker. The song was performed by Daly in a dark coat, that was taken off during the performace to reveal a red dress. She was accompanied on stage by a band, consisting of a guitarist, keaboardist and drummer in shirts and ties, as well as a female backing singer wearing a black dress.

Liam Geddes

:Liam Geddes submitted "Sometimes" to the judging panel at RTÉ, written by Susan Hewitt. The song was performed by Geddes on the night of the contest in a red shirt and suit, as well as with a female pianist, a violinist and cellist, as well as a male and a female backing singer. The song began with Geddes sitting on a stool, leaning against the piano, before he got up and walked around the stage.

Marc Roberts

:Marc Roberts sang "Chances" at Eurosong 2008, composed by himself. Roberts was the Irish entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 in Dublin, coming second. His performance at Eurosong involved him singing from a microphone stand, with two male and two female singers singing back-up, with the female singing swaying to the song. Roberts wore a shirt and tie, with the backing singers wearing black.

The final

Eurosong 2008 was held at the National University Hall in Limerick, on 23 February 2008 and hosted by Ray D'Arcy. The National University Hall in Limerick also hosted the 1994 national final, where Rock 'n' Roll Kids was selected to represent Ireland, securing Ireland's sixth win.cite web|url=|title=Ireland selects on Saturday February 23rd|last=Murray|first=Gavin |date=2008-01-22|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-24]

The interval act of the contest was of jury member Marija Šerifović singing "Molitva", the song with which she won the Eurovision Song Contest 2007. After Dustin the Turkey was announced as the winner, he closed the show singing his song: "Irelande Douze Pointe". [cite web|url=|title=Live: Ireland National Final (transcript)|last=Murray|first=Gavin|date=2008-02-23|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-27]

Result of Eurosong 2008

Dustin won Eurosong 2008, and went on to represent Ireland in the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 on 20 May 2008. Only the winner of the final was announced; it is unknown where the other five songs placed.

At Eurovision

Since Ireland came last in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 Dustin was obliged to perform his song in one of the two semi-finals of the 2008 contest. [cite web|url=|title=Eurovision: 2 semi finals confirmed!|last=Viniker|first=Barry|date=2007-09-28|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] The EBU split up countries with a friendly voting history into the two different semi-finals, to give a better chance to other countries to win. On 28 January 2008, the EBU held a special draw which determined that Ireland would be in the first semi-final, held on 20 May 2008. [cite web|url=|title=The Eurovision Song Contest semi final draw|last=Viniker|first=Barry|date=2008-01-28|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25]

Dana, one of the judges at Eurosong, spoke out against Dustin's entry, calling it a "mockery of the competition" and calling for Dustin and RTÉ to withdraw from the contest. [cite web|url=|title=Exclusive: Dana speaks out to about Dustin|last=Murray|first=Gavin|date=2008-02-25|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] The entry was also said to have been in breach of the rules of the contest, due to the mocking nature that could "bring the Shows or the ESC as such into disrepute", however, the song was not disqualified. [cite web|url=|title=Does Dustin's song break the Eurovision rules?|last=Viniker|first=Barry|date=2008-02-24|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] Due to the controversial nature of his entry, Dustin received wide-spread publicity over his entry before and after his victory. He was mentioned in Spanish media before winning Eurosong and after his victory, Dustin appeared on "This Morning", a popular British morning programme on ITV, during Saint Patrick's Day celebrations. [cite web|url=|title=Dustin The Turkey invades Spanish press!|last=Jiandani|first=Sanjay|date=2008-02-12|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25] [cite web|url=|title=Ireland: Dustin the Turkey on UK television|last=Murray|first=Gavin|date=2008-03-17|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25]


Dustin, along with his back-up dancers Kitty B and Ann Harrington, sang at the first semi-final on 20 May 2008, performing 11th on the night. The EBU had forced a change of lyrics of the Eurovision performance of the song after the Greek broadcaster Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi (ERT) complained over the use of "Macedonia" in the lyrics of the song in light of the Macedonia naming dispute. The EBU reference group forced the Irish delegation to either change the lyrics of the song to "FYR Macedonia" or similar, or remove Macedonia from the lyrics altogether. [cite web|url=|title=Ireland: Dustin to change Eurovision performance lyrics|last=Murray|first=Gavin|date=2008-03-25|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25]

The stage show at the semi-final included Dustin in his trolley, wearing a silver suit. The trolley was dressed in green, white and gold, with the girls wearing gold dresses, green gloves and head-dresses in green, white and gold. Two of the male backing dancers wore large green, white and gold wings and danced around the stage, while the third back-up dancer wore a gold jump suit. The stage involved rippling effects of black and white, as well as waves of green, white and gold through the LCD screens on the stage. ["Eurovision Song Contest Semi-final 1, 20 May 2008, Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ)". Retrieved on 2008-09-24.] Despite being one of the favourites to win the contest outright Dustin only managed to receive 22 points, placing 15th of the 19 countries competing and failing to reach the final. He received seven points from Estonia, four from Belgium, three from Israel, two from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Finland, and one from Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain. The highest number of points a country can award is 12.


For the contest, the commentator for the semi-finals and final on RTÉ One and Two, was Marty Whelan, while the commentator for RTÉ Radio 1 was Larry Gogan. [citeweb|url=|title=Ireland: Eurovision week schedule of events on RTÉ|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-29|last=Murray|first=Gavin]

After Eurovision

After his Eurovision experience, Dustin returned to Ireland where he launched a campaign against the Lisbon Treaty in the European Union, calling for a 'No' vote by the Irish on the referendum for the amendment of the Irish constitution to allow the adoption of the treaty. Dustin's campaign included the slogan "They didn't vote for us. Get them back. Vote 'No' to Lisbon", referring to his failure at Eurovision. [cite web|url=|title=Ireland: Dustin says 'No' to EU treaty|last=Murray|first=Gavin|date=2008-06-12|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-26]

RTÉ also announced that it was seeking a new television format for the turkey, targeting a more mature audience, but the show will not be in a chat-show format. Pilots are currently in production, however the show is not expected to be aired on RTÉ until next year. [cite web|url=|title=Ireland: New TV show for Dustin?|last=Davies|first=Russell|date=2008-09-08|publisher="ESCToday"|accessdate=2008-09-25]

ee also

* Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
* Eurovision Song Contest 2008


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