IRELAND – Eurovision arranger Frank McNamara and Johnny Logan have both dubbed the Irish entry for the 2021 contest as “not an Irish song” — as the public never got a chance to vote on the entry. RTE has defended selecting the song Maps by Irish-born New York singer Lesley Roy.
She was due to compete last year before the event was canceled for the first time in its 65-year history. The 34-year-old is now due to perform the Irish entry in the first semi-final in Rotterdam on May 18. The song was shortlisted by an internal listening panel made up of industry professionals and Eurovision fans.
McNamara revealed he was never approached to be part of the panel despite arranging two Irish Eurovision-winning songs. Frank told the Irish Sun:
“No, I have never been asked and I fundamentally disagree with how RTE now selects Ireland’s entry behind closed doors. I don’t know why we can’t go back to the old days of a National Song Contest. It worked, that’s why Ireland won the contest a record seven times.”
The former Late Late musical director was speaking after Johnny Logan launched a scathing attack on RTE bosses over the way Lesley’s song was selected. Johnny said:
“I don’t feel we have an Irish entry because everything is done behind closed doors. I don’t think the Irish people have anything to do with the song apart from clapping it when it’s on. I don’t think we have anything to do with the selection process.”
Both Frank and Johnny say they are speaking out on behalf of Irish songwriters unable to contribute because of RTE’s Eurovision process, which saw Ireland’s singer Lesley co-write this year’s entry with a team of overseas writers.
Frank said: “Irish songwriters like Phil Coulter or Shay Healy launched their careers writing for Eurovision. As if the past year hasn’t been bad enough for songwriters, musicians, and producers. The fact that they were blocked from getting involved with Eurovision couldn’t make it any worse. RTE does the whole thing behind closed doors. RTE who demand transparency from the Government is a little opaque themselves.”
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