Ireland were one of the first nations to reveal their song and artist for 2016. They chose former Westlife and RTE radio host Nicky Byrne and the song he will sing is entitled ‘Sunlight’. We take a look at the song in our review.
Ireland have changed tact in picking Nicky Byrne. Instead of opting for a relative unknown chosen by the public in a live selection show, as has been the case for the past few years, Ireland have this year opted for internal selection and chose a household name. Nicky Byrne is strong choice for Ireland. He has the experience of performing in boy band Westlife for 15 years, he has a huge international fan base that will help him reel in the votes and he is known to Eurovision audiences having announced the Irish votes for the past number of years.
The song ‘Sunlight’ is a mid tempo song with bursts of energy especially in the bridge and chorus. The lyrics evoke imagery of light, darkness, shadow, clouds and promote the idea of living life to the fullest.
Nicky has come under some scrutiny from Eurovision fans for failing to promote the song to its fullest extent. Some commented how he has been too busy with his radio show and other work commitments to be able to perform at many of the Eurovision party in the lead up to the contest in May, with the exception of an appearance at the London Eurovision party and the Ukraine selection show.
Another concern for Ireland is Nicky’s voice. He was never the lead singer in Westlife and tended to support the stronger voices of Shane Filan and Mark Fehilly. Will he be able to stand out on his own, or will his voice crack under the pressure?
If Nicky’s lyric video is anything to go by (see below), the staging of the song could also effect his chances. It is quite dated with cliched strobe lights, 90s boy band hand clenches and all in all a static piece with no real entertainment value.
I feel like Ireland has put more effort into their Eurovision selection than any other in the past few years. They are willing to take the contest seriously again, and I think it will work for them. I don’t think Ireland are in any danger of winning, however they stand a good chance of qualifying from their semi final, and should give them a good base on which to rebuild their Eurovision reputation.