Ireland’s Eurovision 2018 Entry

Ryan O’Shaughnessy is stepping out on behalf of Ireland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Here’s “Together.”

Ryan O’Shaughnessy started as a child actor appearing on the soap opera Fair City. He transitioned to a music career and auditioned for the first series of The Voice of Ireland in 2012. He ended up on Brian Kennedy’s team but was ultimately eliminated after the first live show. He had better luck on the sixth series of Britain’s Got Talent, where he finished fifth. His eponymous debut album hit number one on the Irish album charts and number nine on the British album charts.

There was a minor kerfuffle when Ryan claimed on Twitter that Russia was going to ban the video for “Together” because it depicted a gay relationship. Although the story was picked up in some press outlets, Wiwibloggs reported that no ban threat existed.

For us, it was just nice to see something interesting generated by Ireland this year, even if it was just wanton rumor. “Together” is fine: The lyrics are about the end of a relationship and are suitably heartbreaking. Musically, it is a lot better than the past two Irish entries. But it doesn’t exactly sound like an entry from a country ready to reclaim past fortunes.

To be fair, a gentle ballad won Eurovision last year, and Ireland had a lot of success with gentle ballads during its salad days. In a way, that makes the situation a lot sadder: RTE is asking Europe, “Remember when we won Eurovision? You liked us back then, right? If we give you something now that sounds like that stuff you used to like back then, you’ll like us again, right?” And they never seem to listen to the answer.