Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Dustin - Ireland's Eurovision Hope?

The Eurovision Song Contest has been held, since 1956, between the member states of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

It is an international cultural event broadcast simultaneously to the competing nations and beyond, giving it a potential global audience.

Traditionally, the show is hosted by the country that won the contest the previous year. The 2008 event will be held in Belgrade, Serbia.

Ireland has participated since 1965 and has won on seven occasions, making us the most successful contestants in the history of the event, which has produced such international stars as ABBA, Lulu and Celine Dion, among others.

This year, however, due to a poor finish last time, Ireland has to pre-qualify in a semi-final to be held in the days before the actual contest.

This is the face of our potential contestant:

Dustin the Turkey.

Broadcaster, pundit, presidential candidate (no kidding!), used-car salesman, rockstar, builder - all of these are labels that can be attributed to this cult figure.

Born at an early age, Dustin first came to prominence as the prize (for finishing last) in a golf tournament. However, as his Wikipedia bio states, he turned out to be "...not only still alive, he also had a North Dublin accent and his own building company."

Dustin became a co-presenter on long-running childrens' TV show 'The Den', outlasting all of the human presenters before finally earning his own show.

Showing an interest in politics, Dustin voiced an aspiration to run for the Presidency. On the basis that there's nothing in the Constitution specifically banning a turkey vulture from attaining the highest office in the land, many people entered Dustin's name on their ballot paper (thereby spoiling their vote) as an indication of dissatisfaction with the human candidates - or maybe they really wanted him as President. Personally I'd have liked to see the footage of the state visit to the Vatican, or perhaps the White House...

In any event, Dustin has since become synonymous with a vote for 'None of the Above' (think Brewster's Millions, but with feathers, a North Dublin accent and a propensity for pouring tarmac over your lawn 'so you can get another car in the driveway, Squire').

When not keeping a low profile at Christmas or avoiding the US in late November, Dustin can be found in the recording studio.

Under contract to EMI, who boast such other luminaries as the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Queen in their catalogue, Dustin has released no less than six albums, in many cases featuring duets with established musicians such as Chris De Burgh, The Dubliners, Joe Dolan and others.

Dustin is not slow about acknowledging those whom he has influenced - here, for example, is a nod to U2:



Powerful.

But it is his announcement to take part in Eurosong and, hopefully, the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest that has literally taken the media by storm.

Six artists will compete against each other on February 23rd for the right to represent Ireland at the qualifier in Belgrade and hopefully to progress to the final. The winner will be chosen by popular vote (web, text) which gives the ebullient turkey a clear advantage.

Criticised by so-called serious musicians for lowering the tone of the contest with his entry, "Irlande - Douze Pointe", Dustin stated that he had considered dropping out 'for almost a whole second'.

Could 2008 herald a record-breaking eighth win for Ireland?

One turkey could hold the key...

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