Michael Kealy discusses plans for Irish Eurovision national final

On the next episode of The Euro Trip, Irish Head of Delegation Michael Kealy discusses RTE’s plans for its national final and reveals key details which have been secret until now.

Kealy sat down with The Euro Trip presenter James Rowe for an exclusive interview last week.

When asked when the national final will be held and what the show will look like, Kealy said: “You can pencil in but don’t hold me to it, the 21st of January.

“We’ll probably have a combination of a national jury, an international jury and the public deciding which of those five or six songs will represent us in Turin.

“I think it’s going to be 33 (%) Irish public, 33 national jury and 33 international jury. That’s my thinking at the moment but that might change.”

RTE will host a national final to choose its Eurovision representative for the first time in seven years and will return to a similar format seen on The Late Late Show in 2015.

Asked why RTE will use The Late Late Show to select its act, Kealy said: “It’s quite simply down to finance. I would love to do a Melfest style show where we have six weeks of heats and finals but it’s down to finance. RTE isn’t a rich organisation – we’re the opposite of that. So we have to be prudent about how we do things.

“I got the message from the fans. They wanted a say in what we were doing, they wanted to see a selection of songs, they wanted a chance to vote on them in a final. I explored the possibility of doing a standalone broadcast from a theatre or somewhere, but the finances just don’t add up. If I did that, we wouldn’t be able to do Dancing With The Stars.

On the podcast episode Kealy will also discuss a range of other topics including the submission window for songs and how he goes about selecting the songs that will appear in the national final. Kealy also answers questions about the Irish language being used at Eurovision.

Kealy has worked for RTE for more than 25 years, starting out as a radio producer before becoming Director of Entertainment for the broadcaster in 2001 – a role he still carries out today.

Image Credit: Andres Poveda

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