The 51st Eurovision Song Contest - Sat 20th May

Brian's own composition 'Every Song Is A Cry For Love' qualified for the final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest and made a piece of Eurovision history by being the 1000th act to perform in the competition at the semi-final show.
Lordi representing Finland were the winners on the night, with Ireland claiming tenth position

Aisling Kiernan.....
5 DAYS IN ATHENS.  EUROVISION ATHENS 2006. THE STAR – BRIAN KENNEDY!!
Well here I am sitting typing on my bed…..shattered!  Just back from the most fabulous…funny….entertaining….memorable….five days…ever! WHERE?…..Athens. WHY?……..The Eurovision. HOW COME?……Why Brian Kennedy of course!!  Need you ask?….Ha ha!!
I was always raging when BK did Riverdance in New York that I didn’t go.  So when it came up that he was doing the Eurovision, I said, what the heck!  I’m going!! Lads…...I’ve never laughed so much. We had a ball.  “We”, being, myself, my Mam (Margaret) and my Auntie Sue.  Thanks for coming guys, but I don’t think they found it too much of a hardship!

Flew via London….Terry Wogan was on our flight over from London to Athens!  Darn, never thought of asking for a photo.  Apparently I heard he said BK was the best singer in the competition by a mile. Not wrong there Mr Wogan!!  We arrived in Athens on the Wednesday evening and just chilled and relaxed.  The sun was still splitting the trees and we had left a cold Dublin behind!  The Semi-Final was the next day, on the Thursday evening, and I felt myself getting more & more nervous all day, you think I was singing the song myself, I was SICK by the time the evening came!!  God only knows how poor BK was feeling!

Got a taxi to the Olympic Indoor Stadium (2004 Olympics).  What a fabulous venue. Beautiful.  In hindsight…I think I actually enjoyed the Semi-Final more.  We met sooooo many Irish, and every other European you could imagine, and everyone was in great form.  A lot of Irish people told us that they couldn’t get tickets to the Final itself and were flying home or watching the Final in some pub in Athens.  May I say, I’ve NEVER seen so many Handsome MEN in the one venue!  Bloody Hell!!  We 3 girls were certainly “Blessed Amongst Men”!  Met some lovely couples, lads who’ve been going to Eurovision for years.  The style…everyone in their colours!  The drama!  Everyone was in flying form.  Us three were all geared up in our Green White & Orange feather boa’s, and waving our “Go Ireland Go Brian” flags, and were asked so many times for our photo.  We almost felt famous ourselves at one stage.  Photos of the 3 of us have gone back to so many households in Europe!  Funny!  Never laughed so much.  And everyone we met just LURVED BK!!  And I mean EVERYONE.  If the voting had been inside the Stadium only BK would have won it hands down.  Everyone kept coming up to us to say how much they loved him, and how wonderful the song was…..”We Love Your Brian”……and those who diddn’t have strong English…..they knew one line at least “Every Song Is a Cry for Love” was said to us so many times….and then they were off again into the sea of flags.  Hi to all the lovely people we met.  We met a lovely Finnish couple, and both lads had been to many Eurovision’s and both said that although they would be happy to win (little did they know!), and that they didn’t like their own countries entry….but just loved our Brian!  I’d say if even a fraction of the comments filtered back to BK…he’d have the head the size of a small country!!  Everyone absolutely LOVED him.


BKs performance on the night was AMAZING, I cant wait to watch it back on DVD.  Sick to stomach while waiting for no.8 to take centre stage!  As soon as we saw him in the darkness getting ready, the shouts & screams began.  The green backdrop was fab, suited them all.  I thought he stood out as CLASS in a room of sheer madness! 
I loved the bended knee…and the cheeky wink.  There were about 4 huge screens, so we saw it very clearly!  Everyone in the Stadium loved him too.  Mind you, with all the screaming & jumping up and down we did…the whole performance was over in a flash…and onto the next singer.  And then when the results started being read out, only 10 places for the Final, and when we saw WHAT was getting though….I was so nervous!!  But when the Hostess said….”A country who’ve been here many times before”….I just knew.  Well the cheers and the excitement in the Stadium was just electric.  You’d think he’d won it.  The screams & shouts of everyone.  When we left feeling elated…we were congratulated about 100 times on the way out of the Stadium.  You’d think we’d sang it ourselves (God forbid!).  What a brilliant brilliant evening.

Spent the next few days relaxing, shopping and drinking lovely wine in lovely Greece.  The “Plaka” area seems to be the place to go to mingle, some lovely squares and side streets, filled with shops & restaurants.  We kept in touch with home & with BK friends cause we were dying to know what everyone was saying about BK and how he was doing.  No sightings of BK I’m afraid for us in Greece (although eyes were peeled!)……he was a busy man with rehearsals I’m sure!

Managed to get tickets for the Final off a ticket tout.  Don’t normally like to do that, but had no choice, Final tickets were like Gold Dust. Didn’t know if I was getting the tickets for sure, but when I got them into my wee hands I knew they were genuine.  And judging by my Mam & Aunties response when I told them…the two wusses cried!…they went down well…ha ha!!  The Final on the Saturday night was a full house for sure, packed to capacity.  About 18 thousand people I think. Not so many Irish there this time.  And again, lots of well-wishers, and huge Brian support.  Again I say….they LURVED him!!  The place was just a sea of hundreds and hundreds of flags. A lot of Greeks flags too obviously.  The atmosphere was even more Electric.  It was jam-packed and buzzing.  We got talking to an English reporter (nice guy) who was over covering the UK entry Baz.  He was saying that if this had been a Soccer match, the crowds would be divided with Police and the tension and possible fighting would be unreal.  And here we all were standing having a beer and chatting to every nationality all just out to have a ball.  He was so right.  Again well wishers and people asking for photos of the “3 Irish Girls”…..funny!  Everyone was very positive about BKs song…and we were a little hopeful for sure.  Figured Greece was in with a good shot and Sweden too.  Didn’t quite predict the outcome so!!

The show itself was brilliant.  The Greeks certainly did themselves proud.  Well, we weren’t too keen on the presenters…slightly painful!  Will & Grace they were not!  But maybe its not an easy gig. We watched each act waiting for BK.  We loved the girl from the Ukraine, she was just so cute.  And again Sweden & Greece were excellent.  The Bosnia & Herzegovina was also a gorgeous song.  Its just personal taste really isn’t it.  We weren’t too keen on the Finnish one…but hey what did we know!!  And then no.21……getting ready in the darkness again, and the screams began!!  BKs performance was even better than the Semis.  He was so cool, calm & collected.  He looked amazing. The backing singers (Paula, Una & Fran) looked and sounded amazing too (loved the dresses girls)….well done to them all for such a brilliant performance, and of course the amazing Callum too, loved the guitar opening.  What a performance.  We went mental again after it!  Ha ha!!  You’d be amazed by how many of the crowd knew every word of the song…and I mean EVERY word!
But then the voting.  Everyone sussed who was running away with it early on.  They’re going to have to do something in the future with the voting system… seriously!  I don’t know if Ireland should bother entering ….we wont have a hope of winning it again for a long time. But sure isn’t it “the taking part” that counts…yeah right!!  The blatant voting for neighbours…I mean they were actually saying “And for our wonderful Neighbour…..douze points” it was ridiculous!! Hope I don’t sound begrudging….but a fairer voting system is definitely needed.  Having said all that, BK got consistently marked by most countries.  If he enters it again…he’ll win it.  I swear!  I’d say he’s made so many new fans across Europe.  He’ll win it if he enters again…I’m telling you!  Have I mentioned before that they LURVED him!!

On the night BK of course did us proud with 10th place.  Next years entry automatically qualifies and doesn’t have to endure the semi-final nerves.  He was simply brilliant, just brilliant.  He must be so proud of himself.  And anyone in Europe who might not have heard his wonderful voice before….well…they know who he is now!  You only have to look at the well wishes on the website to see that.
Congrats to Brian…and the team…..Paula, Fran, Una….and of course the ever so talented Calum.  What a fantastic representative team they were.

BK….in the words of the Great Tina……You’re Simply the Best. Hitting the sack now!  Had the best time, five days I’m never likely for forget. Still smiling. AISLING xxx