Review: Ryan O'Shaughnessy - Together - Ireland

Event: Eurovision 2018  Category: Eurovision  Published: Fri 30th Mar 2018 22:18
TellyStats Rating:

7 Day YouTube Views: 307,384
7 Day YouTube Likes: 7,838

Six years on from his appearance on Britain's Got Talent, Ryan O'Shaughnessy is back on the scene with Together, another track about being unlucky in love - a specialty of his it seems. Sung in a style immediately recognisable to anyone who's switched on the radio recently, most people would surely guess this was an Ed Sheeran track (or someone similar) if they didn't know it was Ireland's Eurovision entry. It's not a track anyone can absolutely hate, for sure, but is it a track people can absolutely love - and will it finally turn Ireland's poor showings in recent Eurovisions around?

The music video features a gay couple walking home through the cobbled streets of Ireland after a night out, considered controversial for the undeniable display of homosexuality as they hold hands and dance together in step. However it treats the topic with respect, avoiding cheesiness and anything that could be considered obscene by the countries that still have a problem with this sort of thing. One reason I like Eurovision is that no matter how much so-called 'gay propaganda/agenda' is suppressed the rest of the year in some of these countries, during Eurovision they generally just have to suck it up and broadcast it, at least in the final - anything that forces these places to face up to uncomfortable realities gets a thumbs up from me. Saying this though, the progressive theme of the music video won't help O'Shaughnessy's chances on the night. We don't yet know how the staging will be but I imagine it'll be one of two scenarios - O'Shaughnessy alone, or O'Shaughnessy accompanied by two (likely male-female) dancers who glide on stage together in a similar, unified way as the music video.

As for the song itself, I was saddened to see such a muted and/or negative reaction on social media as I find myself repeatedly coming back to the track for another listen. Can anyone seriously suggest that if this song was released by Ed Sheeran or Jamie Lawson it wouldn't be doing very well in the charts globally? It has "Thinking Out Loud" or "Perfect" writen all over it. With this in mind it's a shame though that the reviews are likely correct, this song just isn't right for Eurovision, pleasant as it is. It's similarity to other already established songs is also it's undoing in a way - does it really take us anywhere new? Is it pushing the envelope? In shows like the X Factor, the acts that get the most votes tend to sing either well-known upbeat songs, or incredibly emotional ballads that'll get Scherzinger squeezing out a tear for the cameras. While this song aims for the 'emotion' checkbox, the lyrics simply don't have the depth to invoke the level of emotional response to really get people voting. The overall message is: "I thought we'd be together forever but we're not now", a little too broad on the relatability spectrum.

O'Shaughnessy would do well not to check the betting markets which at the time of writing have him in 29th place. However his YouTube stats don't actually paint such a bleak picture - his Views count after 7 days is actually higher than that of France and Italy (8th and 13th in the betting markets). The arguably more important metric, YouTube video Likes might also give Ryan a little hope, he beats Portugal's Likes by 1,200. However, this may simply be down to the aforementioned fact that this style of song is currently popular. I personally hope Ryan scrapes through his semi-final but if he does, nobody should be too surprised to see him very much on the right-hand side of the scores table on the big night itself.

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