DUBLIN, IRELAND – Former Westlife star Nicky Byrne looks set to be the new host of Eurosong. RTE bosses are in talks to bring back The Hit next year – and use it as the way of selecting our Eurovision entry. Montrose are understood to want to scrap the Late Late Show selection process after it has repeatedly thrown up flops.
Last year’s winner, Kasey Smith, didn’t even get to the Eurovision final in Denmark – and was judged to be the worst act out of every country who entered. However, RTE think The Hit could find someone with actual talent to represent us – with the Eurosong version of the show likely to run over five days on RTE One. Already Spain and Portugal are trying to buy the format to use for their own selection process.
“RTE management were badly stung by criticism over Eurosong earlier this year,” a source told the Irish Sun. “But there would be no claims of bias if Ireland’s entry was selected from The Hit formula.” Eurosong winner will represent Ireland in Vienna, in Austria, in 2015 – after Conchita took home the title.
2FM star Nicky already has some experience with the Eurovision, after reading out the Irish votes last year. Last month, Goss.ie revealed that it cost over €100,000 to send Kasey Smith to Eurovision and flop.
RTE splashed out more than €100,000 on our flop Eurovision entry this year – despite not even making the final.
The State broadcaster spent the cash on selecting Kasey Smith as the Irish act and sending her to Denmark to represent the country. Figures released by RTE under the Freedom of Information Act reveal they spent €42,795 on getting the flop singer to Copenhagen and putting her up in the city.
This includes €3,064 on flights for Kasey and 15 other people in the RTE delegation, €28,665 in accommodation at the four star Grand Hotel Copenhagen and €11,067 in other expenses. It will also end up costing nearly €65,000 to have selected Kasey on the Late Late Show like previous years, although the broadcaster claim that cost is not yet “audited”. And RTE have to pay a fee of around €7,000 to the European Broadcasting Union to allow Ireland to take part in the competition, although they claim the exact cost of this is “commercially sensitive”.
This is the first year since 2009 that Ireland didn’t make the final of the Eurovison, with critics rating Kasey Smith and her band Can-Linn’s song Heartbeat the worst in Europe. However an RTE spokeswoman defended the Eurovision spend on the former Wonderland singer – and insisted the plush hotel was picked by competition chiefs.
They said: “Delegates were obliged to stay in one of the offically designated hotels, all of which are either four or five star. “In 2014, the RTE delegation stayed in the Grand Hotel Copenhagen. The price of the hotel rooms were negotiated by the host broadcaster Danish Broadcasting Corporation. All rooms were standard singer rooms. All flights were in economy class with Aer Lingus. It should be noted that the cost of sending Ireland’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 constituted a reduction of 32% compared to the costs of 2013.”