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2004-05-17 Has Chris Doran's world stopped turning after Euro whip show?

It seems ironic that Chris Dorans song was entitled If my world stops turning, as I am sure that is exactly what happened him on the morning of May 16th, the day after his disastrous Eurovision appearance. Hopefully, it is only a temporary setback in his lifelong dream of stardom.

 

A combination of factors led to the shattering of the Waterford boys Euro-dream. People mock the Eurovision, saying they only watch the voting where neighbours vote for each other, but if we were to be entirely honest more of us watch it than we would like to admit, and the contest along with its ever improving staging seems to grow from strength to strength. The year after Dana won it first for Ireland, the Eurovision was staged at Dublins intimate Gaiety theatre. What we witnessed on May 15th appears light years away from those modest beginnings.

 

Chris Doran had failed at the heat level of Youre a starin 2003. Unshaken, he went on to win the whole competition in 2004. Ireland has a vast reservoir of talent, but even that reservoir is not bottomless, and so, to run a competition two consecutive years searching for a star seems excessive. Chris has a lovely voice, good looks and great potential. After weeks on our TV screens, he was the peoples winner, fair and square. The ambitions of Chris Doran, and of his doting Mammy, had been realised and they were on the road to Istanbul and the Big Time. He was described as Classic Eurovision, with a catchy enough song penned by ex-West Life member Mr Kerry McFadden. The pressure was on to do a better job than his predecessor Mickey Harte, but even Mickey had vast experience when he headed off to Latvia : Chris Doran was representing his country before he had even embarked on a career. Chris claims to never get nervous, and yet, he definitely did not give the performance of his life in Istanbul. 700 people had travelled to Turkey from Waterford to watch him win, just as 20,000 had welcomed him home triumphant after Youre a star. On Eurovision night, Chris received 7 points, and that was thanks to our English neighbours (we gave them 8!). We had won Eurovision 7 times, now we were 2nd last with only 7 points. At least we beat Norway - famous for their nul points.

How difficult will it be for Chris Doran to reboot and build a career out of this? Often we never again hear of the winners, let alone those who have come second last, jeopardising their countrys chances of appearing in next years contest.

This is unfair pressure to put on an obviously talented but inexperienced singer. Anyway, what was wrong with the old system of sending in the countrys best 10 songs which we all voted for, and which would be then sung by seasoned professionals, in most cases at least? What was so bad about the old judging panel voting system? Why did we have to progress to phone voting?

The Eurovision Song Contest is no longer about the song, but more about the performance. Several of the highly-placed countries had been heard earlier in the week at the semi-final (also a new Euro-phenomenon), so these songs had been heard twice by their audiences. Is that entirely fair? Who can hum the Ukrainian winning song? Yes, I know we all have a good mental image of the leather gear and the whips, but that doesnt count. Maybe if we dressed up Margo or Philomena Begley in the Warrior Princess gear and send them off in 2006 to strut their stuff in a rap number, we might stand a better chance?

Who are the real winners in Eurovision? Apart from ABBA obviously, and a handful of others, the winner is rarely the singer. Sometimes the Interval Act is the big success story, or even the host country who get a chance to plug their top tourist attractions.

 

As Chris Doran licks his wounds, his mother says In your eyes I see hurt. Why me?, he replies. Hold me now, she says comfortingly. Its no longer enough to have just the voice or to be a Rock n Roll Kid. Eurovision has moved on and is now all kinds of everything. Ireland may not even be in Kiev in 2005, but sure, whats another year?