Eurovision 2018

Can Ryan O'Shaughnessy deliver an eighth song contest victory for Ireland?

Nora-Ide McAuliffe Sun, May 13
LIVE: Eurovision 2018

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  • 19:04
    Good evening and welcome to our Eurovision 2018 liveblog where the musical hopes of the nation haven’t been so high since Jedward mashed together some words about lipstick that we were certain(ish) would restore us to our former glory.

    Given that our man of the moment, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, is the bookies third favourite to win this year’s contest with 'Together', we’re feeling quite confident. Cyprus is the favourite to win, followed by Israel, so it's all to play for.
  • 19:08

    Of course there’s plenty of others in the running too, here’s Eoin Butler’s hunch on the top ten songs that are in with a chance this year.  

    Our liveblog is here until the very end so we’ll be keeping you up to date from now until midnight.

    If you are at the final or are throwing a Eurovision party, tweet me some pictures @nicamhlaoibh or email

  • 19:13

    There’s about 50 minutes to go until this year’s festival of kitsch kicks off, so, if you haven’t resolved the age old question - Marty or Graham - now is a good time to do that. We’ll be sticking with Mr Whelan on RTÉ One from 8pm, but you can also tune in to Cork man over on BBC One.
    We’re greatly looking forward to Marty’s commentary this evening after Jennifer Gannon described the semi-final as “Italia ’90 for Marty” so we’re expecting some real magic tonight.  

  • 19:19

    Ireland will compete against 25 other countries with the ballad 'Together'. O'Shaughnessy will be hitting the stage close to 10pm as he is third to last to perform. If you haven’t heard his song yet, give it a listen. It’s a lovely ballad which O’Shaughnessy co-wrote with Mark Caplice and Laura Elizabeth Hughes.
  • 19:22
  • 19:30

    The performance tells a love story play out by the two dancers, Kevin O’Dwyer and Alan McGrath.
    That was all a bit too much for one Chinese station though which was banned from broadcasting the second semi-final of Eurovision after it censored LGBTI+ content from the first leg, including Together.  


  • 19:35
    O’Shaughnessy believes this was “the right decision” on the European Broadcasting Union's part. “It’s a step in the wrong direction if they don’t take action against people who are trying to suppress a certain demographic,” he said.
  • 19:35
  • 19:37
    If you’re a fair-weather fan, fear not. Our Eurovision expert extraordinaire Karen Fricker who is reporting from Lisbon has compiled a handy guide to everything you need to know about tonight, including why Australia and Israel have seemingly relocated to Europe, and how the all important voting system works.
  • 19:42

     As mentioned, Ireland is due to perform at about 10pm. Here's the running order for this evening:

    1 Ukraine
    2 Spain
    3 Slovenia
    4 Lithuania
    5 Austria
    6 Estonia
    7 Norway
    8 Portugal
    9 United Kingdom
    10 Serbia
    11 Germany
    12 Albania
    13 France
    14 Czech Republic
    15 Denmark
    16 Australia
    17 Finland
    18 Bulgaria
    19 Moldova
    20 Sweden
    21 Hungary
    22 Israel
    23 The Netherlands
    24 Ireland
    25 Cyprus
    26 Italy

  • 19:46

    Now, if you feel like Dublin man Ryan O’Shaugnessy looks familiar to you, that may be because he is a former Fair City star. He played Mark Halpin from the age of eight for nearly 10 years.

    The 25-year-old Sutton man began to focus on his musical career from the age of 17. He made it to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice of Ireland and was featured in 2013 on the RTÉ songwriting competition The Hit. So yes, we are in pretty good hands.

  • 19:47

    And if you missed out on the semi-final action, Hilary Fannin has a nice round up of Tuesday’s evening’s antics when those winsome Portuguese hostesses lifted our spirits no end

  • 19:55
    This is your five minute warning that this year's Eurovision final is about to kick off!
  • 19:59

    Many might agreed with Patrick Freyne that our five year Eurovision final absence “was worse than the 800 years of British oppression”, so with our place secure, we could relax for the second semi-final which Patrick watched, and of course wrote about, with his usual comedic aplomb.


  • 20:02

    Ok, it's started!! Some nice opening shots of Lisbon, Marty's talking about those Portugese tarts, might be best to keep some snacks nearby.  

  • 20:06

    So, there's going to be a couple of non-competition songs first. In the meantime, test your Eurovision knowlege with our quiz  .  




  • 20:08
    We expect that the hardcore fans among you will be able for questions such as: What kind of icicles did the band Dervish sing about in 'They Can’t Stop The Spring?' the 2007 Eurovision entry penned by John Waters, 'They Can’t Stop The Spring?'
  • 20:09
    Now we have the flag waving compeition. . . .Some excellent pole waving going on. . . .
  • 20:10
    Ryan will be out any minute now. .. .  
  • 20:12

    There he is now. . .

  • 20:13
    That was almost as exciting as the opening ceremony of the Oympics, almost. . ..
  • 20:14

    And so now our hosts have arrived.

    As you can see, in stark contrast to last year in Kiev, Ukraine where the contest broke with the male-female host tradition and instead featured a “manel". This year it's an all female crew. For any of you worried about this development, fear not. We are quite confident the scripting will be just as cringeworthy as ever, and the ‘jokes’ will be as ‘hilarious’ as they always are.

    Filomena Cautela, Sílvia Alberto, Daniela Ruah and Catarina Furtado are at the helm tonight. They'll probably be saying "all aboard" a lot, because someone was no doubt paid a lot of money to come up that as this year's theme... Portugal, boats, water....Yes, it IS a tough life.


    All have a strong background in TV, either as presenters or actors, or both. Ruah may be familiar to some of you. She currently stars as Special Agent Kensi Blye on NCIS: Los Angeles. She was born in the US before she moved to Portugal aged five, hence the accent.

  • 20:16
    Ok, and it's off. First up, Ukraine.  
  • 20:18
    Melovin is performing the song Under The Ladder from some impressive looking stairs. . .
  • 20:19
    We're not actually seeing any ladders in this performance, probably because they have been banned from this year's Eurovision.    
  • 20:20
    No joke, among this year's prohibited  items are ladders, golf balls,  extension cords, shopping trolleys and surely,  the greatest temptation of all, adhesive tape and tool pouches. There is also ban on selfie sticks, which is quite  reasonable.
  • 20:20
  • 20:22
    Up now is Spain, with a nice two-person ballad called  Tu Canción which apparently translates as Your Song
  • 20:24

    Well that was lovely. And yes, they are actually a couple, not just putting it on for the cameras


  • 20:25
    Up next Slovenia abnd 28-year-old Lea Sirk.  
  • 20:26
    She's definitely upped the tempo from Spain's performance and we are greatly enjoying these snappy handy moves and shoulder swings    
  • 20:27
    Oh and now she wants everybody to sing it with her... a bold move.  
  • 20:29
    Three down already, up next up is Lithuania, which from that intro bit with the wind up car looks quite heavenly. Marty tells us Lithuania is the only Baltic State not to have won the Eurovision.
  • 20:32
    If you're wondering how many countires won't be singing in their native tongue this evening, there's quite a few. But don't despair, France, (of course) will be using the mother tongue as will Slovenia, Estonia, Serbia, Hungary and Portugal. Spain, who've already performed, sang in Spanish. So, not too many. There's 26 countries competing.  
  • 20:33
    Austria is up next, land of Conchita Wurst, can this Cesar Sampson live up to that performance? Let's see. . . Apparently there's hydraulics involved. He is singing all about water so. . .
  • 20:35
    Of course no Eurovision is complete with a mention of these guys....
  • 20:36
  • 20:36
    Ok, so there wasnt' any water. Disappointing.    
  • 20:37

    Now it's Estonia and 26-year-old classical singer  Elina Nechayeva

  • 20:38
    That's why she's hitting all those incredibly high notes in her more than amazing dress. That deserves a prize all of its own surely!  
  • 20:42
    So here is Norway, with That's how you write a song. If you have ever wondered how you write a hit Eurovision song, look no further, we have a guide.  
  • 20:44
    If you feel you recognised the Norweigan performer, you do. He  performed as an interval act at Eurovision 2016, satirising traditional Eurovision-friendly songs.
  • 20:48

    This year's hosts Portugal are being represented by singer and songwriter Cláudia Pascoal singing O Jardim (The Garden). The country took the title with a ballad aswell last year, so maybe they are on to something with this  


  • 20:50

    Our favourite outfit so far this Eurovision is definitely this. .. .  

  • 20:50
  • 20:51
    SuRie is up now for the UK. The UK automatically gets a pass to the final because it helps fund the event, as does France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
  • 20:53
    This is a popular one for sure, there's plenty of audience sing along to Storm  
  • 20:55
    Speaking of our neighbours, here's the two boys before this evening's festivities kicked off.  
  • 20:55
  • 20:57
    Someone just tried to bite a host. . . .Okay. Definitely time for the next performance - Serbia
  • 21:02

    Michael Schulte is up on for Germany. Some have called him the Deutschland's Ed Sheeran. We can kind of see it.  

  • 21:04
    His song You Let Me Walk Alone is an ode to his deceased father  
  • 21:06
    Albania is up now with Eugent Bushpepa singing Mall. We've no idea what he is singing but it's kind of catchy.  
  • 21:09
    So Twitter is clear that nobody knows what the stage invader during the UK's performance said. If you do figure it out, answers on a postcard please.  
  • 21:09
  • 21:12
    So this French entry is inspired by  a little girl born on a rescue ship on its way to Europe . . .Madame Monsieur are a husband and wife duo so just like Spain, those loving looks are real.  
  • 21:14
    The Czech Republic are up now which means we are nine performaces away from O'Shaughnessy taking the stage. This is snappy number from the Czechs. . .
  • 21:16

    He is wearing a backpack though, just like the guy who gate-crashed during SuRie's performance.   .   . He wears it well though.  

  • 21:18
    There's some excellent beards on display tonight, Denmark is no exception.  
  • 21:20

    So Australia is up now. Yes, it is the Eurovision but a lot of non-European countries take part.   Eurovision’s definition of Europe has long been broader than most people expect. The right to compete comes with active membership in the European Broadcasting Union. Israel has competed in the contest since 1973 and has won three times; and Australia has competed since 2015, and finished second in 2016.

  • 21:21
    We couldn't quite place where we had seen him before. . . .
  • 21:21
  • 21:22
  • 21:23
  • 21:24
  • 21:24
    Yes, me too.  
  • 21:25
    Well that performance went down well in Lisbon anwyay, whatever about the internet. . ..  
  • 21:29

    The photo that just flashed up there was Lys Assia, the winner of the first ever Eurovision who died in March aged 94. The Swiss-born singer triumphed at the inaugural edition of the competition with winning song Refrain in her home country in 1956.

  • 21:31
    We are now on number 17, Finland, so we're just six performances away from O'Shaughnessy taking the stage. It'll be here before you know it so you've now been given fair warning.  
  • 21:32
    For more on that UK stage interruption, we've got the latest here
  • 21:37

    Bulgaria sang their heart out with that one! Moldova is up now, they came third last year and apparently there's a Ryan Tubridy lookalike in this one, do we see it?    


  • 21:38
  • 21:41
    Do you ever feel for Sweden, who every year will be compared to the might of Abba? So much to live up to, so little chance of every living up to it.  
  • 21:43
    So the UK were offered the option to sing again but being happy with their performance have opted to leave it as it is. It was certainly an excellent performance and kudos to SuRie who completely kept her cool  
  • 21:43
  • 21:47

    And now for something completely different. . . . Sweden gave us some nifty dancing, Hungary is giving us some heart-felt headbanging. You know people mean business when there's fire on stage.  

  • 21:49

    We are now just two performances away from Ireland taking to the stage. Israel is up next which seems like a good time to re-iterate this:  The right to compete comes with active membership in the European Broadcasting Union.  Israel  has competed in the contest since 1973 and has won three times; and  Australia  has competed since 2015, and finished second in 2016.

  • 21:51
    Israel's 'Toy' performed by Netta is currently the bookies number two favourite. Cyprus is number one and we are the third favourite, so this is one of the ones to beat.  
  • 21:52
    This has got a lot of solid elements, a catchy song, enthusiastic dancers, and is that a  xylophone in the background?  
  • 21:54
    Neves are now setting in....We've just one more to go before Ryan O'Shaughnessy hits the stage  
  • 21:55

    We think this is The Netherlands answer to Garth Brooks  

  • 21:57

    So no pressure Ryan, but it's been a while.  Together  features O’Shaughnessy playing his guitar and gazing at backing singer  Claire Ann Varley, while Alan McGrath and Kevin O’Dwyer dance together in the background.  

  • 21:58

    If he looks familiar,   that's because from  the age of eight for nearly 10 years he played  Mark Halpin  on Fair City.

  • 21:59
    O’Shaughnessy  is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from  Skerries.
  • 22:00
    We're loving the dancing, though it wouldn't be to the taste of the Chinse of course.  
  • 22:01
    Well done Ryan! That seemed like a pretty solid performance. Up next is Cyprus, who is tipped to win this year's contest.  
  • 22:02
    Marty just said it's the case of the mermaid meets Beyoncé so we are most intrigued  
  • 22:03
    Oh yes, we see it now. That is some very  Beyoncé-esque dancing alright, fair play to her.    
  • 22:04
  • 22:05
    Not everyone is convinced about this song Beyoncé-Shakira song.  
  • 22:08
    So we are on to the final performance of the night, Italia!! After this it'll be almost time for us to start shouting “Irelande douze points” while shaking our hands vehemently at the screen and channelling our inner Davy Fitzgerald.  
  • 22:10
    People are pretty happy with O'Shaughnessy's performance  
  • 22:10
  • 22:10
    Lines are now OPEN!  
  • 22:12
    Now it's time for the recap. If you're in Ireland, you can't vote for us. You can vote for everyone else though, texts will cost you 60c
  • 22:15
    So this is how the voting works, as explained by our woman in Lisbon, Karen Fricker -  The results are chosen by a combination of country jury voting and public voting. The juries vote on Friday night’s dress rehearsal (also referred to as the jury final) and the public votes live on Saturday night.  

    Each of the participating 46 countries has a professional jury who rank its top 10 performances, awarding points of 12, 10, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and one to its favourites songs in descending order.

    Viewers from each country also vote via phone or SMS - called televotes - awarding points (1 up to 12) to their favourite songs. Then, all the results from each country’s public votes will be combined to give one overall Eurovision viewer score per song.

    Then the Eurovision 2018 presenters will read out the results of public vote in ascending order, beginning with the county that received the lowest number of televotes and finishing with the country that received the highest. The country with the highest number of votes wins the competition and gets to host it the next year.

  • 22:18
    The latest on the interruption to SuRie's performance is that the  stage invader shouted about “Nazis of the UK media” as he snatched the microphone during the UK’s Eurovision performance. The man is now in police custody. You can get more here
  • 22:22
    If you're wondering about the first time Ireland hosted the Eurovision, Brian Boyd has this really intersting piece about 1971, the year the contest was beset by Troubles with a capital ‘T’
  • 22:23
    So headlining this year’s interval act will be 2017 winner Salvador Sobral, who has recently undergone heart surgery. He will perform his winning entry Amar Pelos Dois and a new single from an upcoming album. RIght now though we have the fado singers Ana Moura and Mariza in a rare combined performance.
  • 22:24
  • 22:27
    This is a good summation of Denmark's performance
  • 22:27
  • 22:29
    Has he no trousers, asks Marty....We're not sure....The graphics were placed in a particular way. It was a bit of an odd moment.  
  • 22:34
    Ah, the lads from Ireland. There were some lovely glittery shamrock suits on show for a second there. The SusieShake? We're not quite sure either. . .  
  • 22:39

    Here is the 2017 winner  Salvador Sobral. He gave Portugal his first ever win by  taking the prize in  Ukraine  . His jazz-style ballad written by his sister Luisa, was a pretty clear winner from the start last year

  • 22:41
  • 22:42

    So can you get douze points in this Irish Eurovision quiz?  

  • 22:43
    It features Dustin, Dervish, Johnny Logan and Sandie Jones. We don't know who the last person is either but the quiz is an education in itself, even if you do badly.  
  • 22:45
  • 22:48
    Lines are coming close to closing so this is your last chance to get your vote in. And win or lose, people are pretty with Ireland's performance and its message  
  • 22:48
  • 22:50
    In case you missed it, you read all about the controversy with China and its exclusion of LGBTQ+ performances here
  • 22:51
    In January China stepped up censorship of content it considers “moral degeneracy” and “vulgarity” including people with tattoos and hip-hop. Then last month, the social media Sina Weibo banned gay-themed content to “purify” the online environment.  
  • 22:51

    As a side note, the move came from the same country which banned Peppa Pig from a video sharing platform which deleted more than 30,000 clips, upload by people who are   “unruly slackers roaming around and the antithesis of the young generation the [Communist] party tries to cultivate.” Indeed.

  • 22:54

    And now, the results! We'll be getting the results from 43 countries, starting with last year's hosts, Ukraine.  

  • 22:58
    So it's one point for us so far, but there's 43 countries voting, so need to lose hope just yet. Israel in the lead so far, followed by Austria.  
  • 22:59
    Malta is country number seven to give its points. Cyprus claim the 12 there and now in the lead with 44 points
  • 23:01
    We've got ten points so far. A bit away from the leader Cyprus, on 56 points  
  • 23:02
    Ah Mel, we've missed you!!  We'll be hoping for a good showing from the UK. They're usually generous to us. We repay them by giving them low enough points. Some might say that Ireland has been historically undermining the UK's Eurovision chances for years.
  • 23:03
    No, it's jut three points from the UK this year.  
  • 23:04
    Israel are still in the lead with 80 points. Ireland has 17
  • 23:04
    Austria, Israel and Cyprus are the top three at the moment, with not much between them  
  • 23:06
    We now have 23 points. On just two points is host Portugal.  
  • 23:06
    Ah hello Nicky Byrne. Not a bad job on the Gaeilge bit. We gave 12 points to Cyprus putting them in second place with 95
  • 23:07
    Iceland is the 20th country to give its votes out 43 countries  
  • 23:08
    We are now on 34, Israel has taken the lead with 122.  
  • 23:09
    We're in 12th place now. The UK is currently coming in last, at 4 points, followed by Denmark and Portugal  
  • 23:10
    It's not looking too good for us, Israel, the bookies' favourite is now on 138 points, we are now in 14th.  
  • 23:12
  • 23:12
    Thanks lads!
  • 23:13
    Ok, so we're back, there's 21 countries yet to give their vote, and then there's the public vote, so all is not lost for Ireland yet.  
  • 23:16
    So we are now on 45 points. Israel still in the lead with 158 points, followed by Austria wutg 157
  • 23:16
    Sweden now in fourth place after the Aussie vote  
  • 23:17
    Hungary is now in last palce with 10, followed by Ukraine, while Austria have jumped to first place with 173 points  
  • 23:18
    Cyrpus, whic was a favourite to win is now in fifth place with 128 points
  • 23:19
    Sweden moving up into third, Austria, Israel and Sweden are now the top three  
  • 23:19
    Ireland is still on 45 points, any sign of a few points there, anybody??
  • 23:20
    Sweden now in second place. It's close with Austria on 176 and Sweden on 173
  • 23:20
    Greece, the 32nd country to give its vote. Austria now on 188, Sweden on 181 and Israel on 176
  • 23:21
    Greece, no need for that 'joke'. Who let you on the TV?!
  • 23:22
    Thank you for those three points Hungary, we are now in 16th position
  • 23:22
    Montonegro is the 34th country to give its result so there's just ten countries left  
  • 23:23
    We are now on 57 points after Germany gave us 8. Austria is on 213, followed in second place by Sweden with 202
  • 23:24
    Finland's 12 points go to Israel, putting it third with 195
  • 23:25
    Russia, who didn't make the final this year give their 12 points to Moldova bringing them to 88 points
  • 23:25
    Sweden and Austria are now tied on 217
  • 23:26
    Austria are back in the lead after 12 points from Israel  
  • 23:27
    There's only three countries left now to give their result, Lithuania,   Slovenia and hosts, Portugal  
  • 23:28
    We are now on 74 points, with Austria now in the lead with 253 points  
  • 23:28
    Marty's very unimpressed with some of this evening's rigouts it would seem
  • 23:29
    Sweden now in second with 253, Austria 263
  • 23:29
    This is the last of the countries' votes, from Portugal. Great crowd out in Lisbon for it, in good spirits even though they only got 21 points, putting them second last  
  • 23:30
    So the jury vote is now over, time for the popular vote. We are 14th, with 74 points. Austria is on 271 points, Sweden with 253 and while Israel is in third place.  
  • 23:32
    Okay, the popular vote. Anything could happen.
  • 23:34
    62 points for Ireland in the popular vote!  
  • 23:35
    So we are now ninth with 136 points. Austria now in the lead with 342 points  
  • 23:36
    This popular vote can be a blessing or a curse. . . It's all to play for.  
  • 23:37
    Currently it's Austria on 342, Sweden on 274 and Estonia on 245
  • 23:37
    Germany now in second place!  
  • 23:37
    Denmark, who were essentially at the bottom, have now moved to fifith place on 226
  • 23:38
    Austria holding its lead on 342 points, but there's still three other countries left to get their results.  
  • 23:40
    Italy was on 59, is now in   third place
  • 23:40
    Israel have won!!!!
  • 23:42
    Israel finish on 317 points. They were tipped to win from the get go and Netta will now perform the winning song 'Toy'
  • 23:44
    So next year's Eurovision is headed for Israel, that'll be interesting.  
  • 23:46
    Well done to Ryan O'Shaughnessy who finished 16th and gave a great performance. It wasn't our year but it was good to be at the final for the first time in a long time!
  • 23:47
  • 23:56
  • 23:57
    The Israel win is getting a mixed reaction
  • 23:57
  • 23:58
  • 00:01
  • 00:05

    Israel has competed in Eurovision 41 times and won three times before, most recently in 1998 with Dana International.

  • 00:06
    Our Eurvision reporter Karen Fricker has nicely summed up the evening's festivities here
  • 00:14
    Well that's it from us. Thank you and goodnight!  
  • 00:14