This year's Irish Eurosong 2008 has enjoyed a lot of publicity, the most in fact since the heady days of Ireland's Eurovision Song Contest treble when they won for three years in a row between 1992 and 1994. Articles have appeared in the United Kingdom, Spanish and Australian press, to name just a few.
A lot of the interest has been generated by the fact that a famous television puppet, called Dustin the Turkey has been allowed to participate. This in itself however has also caused controversy amongst Irish musicians and composers, who question the decision to let a puppet take part in such an event, and what the repercussions would be if he were to win Eurosong 2008, and go on to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade.
Originally, 150 songs were submitted to RTÉ. These were narrowed down to the final six by a judging panel, chaired by television producer Bill Hughes. Hughes said: "This year RTÉ decided to take a different approach to Eurovision putting emphasis on performance and stage appeal as well as finding a cracking song".
Meet the participants
The order of presentation of songs will be as follows:
Donal Skehan - Double Cross My Heart
Dustin The Turkey - Irelande Douze Pointe
Maya - Time To rise
Leona Daly - Not Crazy After All
Liam Geddes - Sometimes
Marc Roberts - Chances
Two of the participating artists already have Eurovision Song Contest experience; Marc Roberts finished in second place behind Katrina & The Waves in the 1997 contest with his song Mysterious Woman. Maya participated in Athens in the 2006 contest as a backing singer for her native Slovenia on Anzej Dezan's song Mr Nobody.
Dustin the Turkey bookmakers favourite
So high has the interest been in Eurosong 2008, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has released a set of betting odds on who will be victorious. According to them, Dustin the Turkey is the clear odds on favourite to win the title, and go on to represent Ireland in Belgrade. It will be the Irish televoting public whoever, who will decide the outcome on Saturday evening.
For those who would like an early preview of the songs prior to Saturday's show, these can be heard on Derek Mooney's Radio 1 Show on Thursday 21st February from 16:00 CET on RTE's official website.
Eurosong 2008 will be held at the University Concert Hall in Limerick at 20.00 CET on Saturday 23rd February, the show will last for one hour. The results programme will follow at 22.30 CET. Whoever wins Eurosong 2008, will go on to represent Ireland in the First Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade on Tuesday 20th May.