At the time of writing this blog post, the official video for Ireland’s song ‘It’s For You’ had only garnered 117,859 views. The UK’s Josh Dubovie wasn’t far behind with 105,000. The comparison suggests that between now and the Eurovision semis Irish singer Niamh Kavanagh is going to have to mount a serious PR offensive. Germany’s Satellite sung by Lena, has to-date clocked up over 3 million views on YouTube.
It’s a shame. Ireland’s song composed by Niall Mooney, and Swedes Mårten Eriksson, Jonas Gladnikoff & Lina Eriksson is their most convincing for a long time.
If Dustin The Turkey in 2008 was Ireland’s darkest hour (and if it wasn’t then it was certainly a waste of everyone’s time – the puppet achieved 22 points and fifteenth place in the semis), then this year’s It’s For You marks a return to what Ireland used to famed for. Heart-wrenching ballads and rousing choruses with a shameless modulation thrown in for good measure. If that can’t win it, then the delegation will be going home heartbroken, I’m sure. Just listen to the chords in the song for God’s sake, how couldn’t they shed a tear?
That historical hook is reflected in Ireland choice of singer for this year’s act. Niamh Kavanagh won for Ireland back in 1993 with the musically more convincing In Your Eyes. As a piece of television it works as well. Kavanagh owns the stage and fills the shot with her warm smile even when the top notes sound a bit strained. She can handle the warbling too.
It’s For You taps into that win and – in the official preview video – kids those of us old enough to remember that 1993 win how wonderful life could be if a Eurovision veteran could show the rest of Europe that ‘she’s still got it’.
On closer inspection however, the setting of the lyrics to the music let the song down. The beginning of the verse feels clumsy. The studio production papers over this, but the original live performance highlight the dangers Kavanagh will face when she bids for another chance for Eurovision victory.
Not only that, the flute gives the whole thing a pungent whiff of the film Titanic. That and the jaw dropping reference to ‘All By Myself‘ heard in the opening melancholic chords makes Kavanagh’s 2010 a poor relation to the one she swept the results table with in 1993.
But hey, Eurovision songs can’t be expected to withstand this kind of analysis. Niamh Kavanagh has won Eurovision before. We loved her then. And we love her now. And we wouldn’t that displeased if she skipped off the stage in Oslo with the trophy in her hands.