Eurovision Innovation and RTE

Whether you are a Eurovisionphile or phobe, or somewhere in between like myself, you probably could not have helped noticing the level of innovation not just by the various acts on Saturday nights show from Copenhagen, but by the production of the show itself which never ceases to impress, always outdoing the previous years extravaganza. From the Ukraine lady singing “Tick Tock” with her partner like a hamster running in a wheel, the whacky Icelandic boys with their version of Ming in  their sharp  teletubby coloured suits, to the bold and ultimately successful bearded Drag Queen from Austria, rising “like a phoenix” to claim the prize, it is clear that those that take an innovative approach have a far greater chance of winning the worlds most popular song contest. By comparison the Irish entry was lame and lacked any attempt to impress with something novel. Again and again the Irish keep making the same mistake. The act itself looked like a quickly fired together jumped up marketing mans answer to our Eurovision woes. I can imagine their pitch “Sure we will get ourselves a fine Irish Colleen called Casey, put a dress on her that makes her look like Cleopatra, and sure the Europeans will be dazzled by her beauty and of course they wont be able bate our two Michael Flatleys leaping around behind her. Now off ye go lads, may the road rise before ye, diddley dee, diddle dee, die dae…..”. While the song was good, though a bit of more of the same, Casey looking good sang it well, it lacked the wow factor. The innovating Europeans expect a show (albeit a two minute one), not just a song, something the Irish still have not copped onto. We have plenty of innovators in Ireland and some of the best artists in the world so it should not be beyond us to come up with something that makes Europe sit up and take notice. Ireland, having won the competition seven times,is the most successful country in the competition. However to be successful, organisations such as RTE, who are responsible for Irelands entry, and to quote Peter Skarzynski (CEO Strategos) “to innovate they need to stop doing the things that made them successful in the first place”. Peter Drucker offered similar advice by advising “every organisation needs to be prepared to abandon everything it does in order to survive”. I am not advocating that we have some bearded Kerry woman representing us next year (though I would be tempted to send Paul Galvin over) maybe the likes of Macnas who have an incredible mix and distinct creative and innovative artistic talents could be employed to turn our next entry into a real showcase and send out an impressive modern cultural message about Ireland to Europe and the world. In fairness to RTE and whatever about their Eurovision entry, have been innovating on the digital news side of their business with some impressive work on  their RTE News Now app which recently stated sending me out news alerts. So I am first to know about breaking news! Pity they would not widen their innovativeness to the dinosaur that is “The Late Late Show”. Innovative organisations champion change and tolerate risk, indeed encourage it as failures are a necessary part of the journey to success (Bettina Von Stamm). In contrast look at the Graham Norton Show and its very innovative and risky format which has been a resounding success. Think again of Father Ted and Brendan O Carroll, other Irish artists that had to go to the Britain to have their ideas achieve the success that awaited them but were not necessarily accepted with open arms at home. So come on RTE and Irish Eurovision hopefuls, dont be shy, dont be risk averse, dont be afraid to make fools of yourselves (The Dustin entry does not count as being innovative). Be bold and come up with something truely creative and entertaining for next year. “Make no little plans. they have no magic to stir mens blood” (Daniel Burnham,Architect and Designer, Director of Works for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1893)Image


One thought on “Eurovision Innovation and RTE”

  1. George,

    Afraid I am somewhat on the Eurovisionphobe side of the argument, maybe it’s looking at things through rose-tinted spectacles but the quality of “song and dance” acts in bygone years seem to have been better, Eurovision songs (not all of them winners) from some years back are still being played on the radio….I can’t remember last year’s winner, or even who entered for Ireland. Since the farcical situation of entering a “Turkey” I have not watched the programme….even the results vote count which in my opinion was the best bit…especially when it goes to the last or second last voting jury for a winner..

    In fact I have become so removed from the competition I had not heard the Irish entry until last week on RTÉ Radio1

    I am not sure that the current judging system is doing justice to the quality of the presentation or the song any more – would Abba have won last night with Waterloo? Would Johnny Logan have won with one of his ballads? Would Cliff Richard have managed to come second with Congratulations as he did in the 1960’s?

    I agree that the audience needs to see a show “albeit a two minute one” as you point out, but the selection processes here does not seen to be selecting that type of offering, and unless we offer something that the client (in this case the Euro viewer) wants we will continue to fall at the first hurdle, and do poorly if we get into the “final”.

    We have as you point out “some of the best artists in the world”, but how many of the established artists would even consider entering on behalf of Ireland (even if they were let!)…and I do agree with your coment that entering a Turkey is not “innovative”…real people, real talent, and most of all entertainment for all the family….possibily I’m being to “RETRO”
    Déaglán de P


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