Can A Guitar Band Restore Irish Eurovision Reputation?
With the Eurovision Song Contest coming up in May, millions of watching Britons will be hoping the UK can go one better than last year and produce their first victory since 1997. Some viewers, however, will be aspiring musicians with ambitions of being on the big stage representing their country themselves one day.
For that reason, the event may inspire and while all eyes will be on the British choice (when it is named), observers will also take note of the acts coming from elsewhere.
Those learning to play the guitar may be keen to see how bands relying on this instrument get on against those using pianos, synthesisers or even the ‘keytar’ being deployed by Australia’s synth-metal entry Voyager. While the latter still play a metal style, few bands have represented that genre better than Italian 2021 winners Maneskin, who have enjoyed huge popularity since then.
Maneskin were the first rock band to win Eurovision since the memorable performance of Finnish monster rockers Lordi in 2006, but this year it is another country with a great past in Eurovision that may revive its fortunes with a guitar band - Ireland.
Once regular winners back in the 1980s and 90s, the Irish have lost their way somewhat in the 21st century, even plumbing the depths of allowing Jedward to represent them twice. In recent years, they have regularly failed to even make the final.
This year has seen a concerted effort at restoring past glories. While former Sex Pistols singer Joe Lydon made headlines for his attempt to win the nomination, it is a guitar band in the shape of Wild Youth, a four-man band including two guitarists, who will lead the quest. They are an established group in Ireland and have already supported the likes of Westlife, Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi.
Jed from Jedward was among the judges helping pick a winner and said of the song We Are One: "For the times we are in, I feel like that song would pack a punch. It had strong U2 and Coldplay vibes."
Notwithstanding that U2 had a song with a similar title (One), the guitar vibes certainly do have a familiar ring about them. While nobody could imagine Bono and Co stepping forth onto the Eurovision stage, the potential for this emerging band to out the rocket boosters on their flourishing career in much the way Maneskin and the already-successful Sam Ryder have done may be huge.
Of course, nobody knows how Eurovision will go this year. Not all the entrants have been chosen yet. The national juries can have their verdicts overwhelmed by the public vote (as happened last year), and it is always possible Ukraine may get another sympathetic response.
Whatever the outcome, however, it has been seen that guitar bands can win Eurovision and if Wild Youth can at least make the final and perform well, they could do as much for the reputation of guitar bands and their country alike; confirming that guitarists have every reason to dream big, be it of Eurovision glory or simply a successful career.
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