19 April 2014

Eurovision 2014: Ireland: Heartbeat

Ireland: Can-Linn ft. Kasey Smith
If the general public was able to register its votes for the most entertaining Eurovision national final, it's highly probable the one broadcast from Ireland this year would be a strong contender for the win.

Of course, it had nothing to do with the performance of the songs, but rather the egos of a panellist and one of the mentors. An epic argument ensued between Eurovision veteran Linda Martin and Aslan's Billy McGuinness, but in the end it was Can-Linn featuring Kasey Smith that won the ticket to Copenhagen.

Heartbeat is the song which won a relatively close battle over the runner-up, The Movie Song. Probably the strongest of the five contenders, it is one that has the potential to do well in Denmark.

It has many of the elements that have helped Ireland to its seven previous wins: the Celtic instrumentation and flavouring that is a feature throughout the song. The obligatory fiddler is evident and near the beginning of the track, the traditional Irish bhodran can be heard drumming out the beat. It also benefits from a catchy chorus, which will do it no harm in collecting votes from across Europe. That's all good, but this upbeat offering is very much a reminder of last year's winner. That just may be its downfall.

What it also needs is better presentation than what was seen at the national final. Firstly, do away with the extraneous Irish dancers - they're cringeworthy and we have all the evidence we need in order to know that it's a song representing Ireland. Secondly, make sure the staging places more emphasis on the instrumentation. After all, those elements are an important part of the song. Lastly, and this could be the most challenging, make sure Kasey Smith's live vocals are more powerful than what was heard at the end of February when performing it on The Late, Late Show.

That said, all in all, it's a very good effort which should see Ireland qualify from its semi-final on May 8. It's not the 2014 winner, but it has the potential to score well enough to register on the left-hand side of the scoreboard.

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