BRIAN KENNEDY: Surviving Eurovision


This year’s Irish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest was written and performed by Brian Kennedy, whose voice has been described as ‘romantic’, ‘sophisticated’ and ‘evocative’, so when compared to the, surprising, winners, the heavy metal band, Lordi, it’s no surprise he did not win.

Talking to Brian about the Eurovision, I said I thought he should have won. He laughed. ‘That might have been a poisoned chalice!’ but he admits ‘It’s one of those things I’m going to look back on and think: ‘I’m glad I did that because it was such an extraordinary experience’, adding more specifically. ‘I think it was the campest thing I’ve ever done in my life. We just never knew what was going to happen from one moment to the next and I have never rehearsed so much in my life - for three minutes performance time! But we got out of the semi final, which was the main objective, and into the final.

That means Ireland goes through automatically to the final next year.’ For Brian the important thing was to represent Ireland. ‘What was really touching was you stand up there and you suddenly think: My God, not many people get to represent their country in anything let alone music.’ Describing the atmosphere, he laughed. ‘Certainly you’re breathing in sequins every few minutes. It’s very high octane and every single country firmly believes they are going to win so it’s very competitive but also very friendly. I made some good friends, like Fabrizio from Malta. At some point you suddenly realise: This isn’t a war, nobody died. It’s a song competition and it should be really good fun. Basically, it’s a ten day party.’

So what is Eurovision? For sure it is no longer a song contest. If it were, Finland’s heavy metal band ‘Lordi’ – resembling Roy Wood and the Who on speed - probably would not have won.

‘After Lordi had won we came out to meet the press. They asked me what I thought of the winner’. Brian explained. ‘Remembering that Lordi had just walked off stage, I asked. ‘You’ve been here at rehearsals all week – how does their song go? And not one of them could tell me. I wasn’t surprised because that is the point. It hasn’t been judged on music …’ and he laughed. ‘but fair play to them. They won and they will get to be Lords of Finland for the next year at least’.

He also believed the final result had shocked many. ‘A lot of people were very upset but about half way through we realised we weren’t going to win – we couldn’t catch them- so we just popped the Champagne and started having a laugh. We thought: It’s a song competition and it’s a privledge to be here, let’s just have a laugh.’
Would he consider appearing again?

This interview appeared in the Irish Post June 24. 2006

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