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Bambie Thug’s Game Changing Victory For Ireland Written by on January 27, 2024 | 1 Comment

As Bambie Thug wins to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2024, Ben Robertson reacts to this change in direction that Ireland now takes to Malmö. 

Ireland has chosen something different for Eurovision.

It seemed to be unthinkable as the week progressed. The safe choice, the former Dancing With The Stars finalist, the one with the pop banger, the one drawn sixth and last on The Late Late Show running order, the one on the front pages of the Irish papers the day of the final…

…ended fourth in the televote.

I find this the most remarkable thing about Bambie Thug’s victory from a scoreboard perspective. We’ve always looked at Irish National Finals, in particular, picking the establishment act, picking the name they recognise, and picking the song that sounds Eurovision. Or at least, sounds like Eurovision to the average viewer of The Late Late Show, stuck in the Irish golden era of the 90s.

It wasn’t just that Bambie won; Bambie won by a distance. There’s a step change in Ireland to discuss, which changes how we think about Eurovision across all our competing nations this year.

The Late Late Show panellist Louise Duffy summed up the 2024 change in mentality best as voting lines closed.

“It just has to be big, it has to be different, and I think we have to rattle the cage this year. So it just has to be the one that blew our socks off.”

Usually, I’d be hearing words like “talent” at this point from a panellist, or “vocals”, or dare I go old-fashioned and say “song”.

But instead, Louise is shouting what we have all echo-chambered ourselves to believe since last May. The Eurovision of today means big, different, cage-rattling, crazy partiness is needed. This is the Käärijä effect, and it leaves an influence that’s arguably greater than any previous entrant in my Eurovision memory. 

Wherever we all were in the Loreen/ Käärijä debate, only one of them is being remembered, and only one of them is influencing the National Finals of this season so far. It’s not that Bambie Thug’s music is in the same wheelhouse as Käärijä’s. Still, an insatiable desire for something with je ne sais quoi means the Eurovision Song Contest of 2024 attracts acts like Bambie to RTÉ, and those acts see themselves at home as part of the modern Eurovision circus.

But there is another factor in all of this. We, the people. The world of social media and second-screen viewing means that we, the community closest to the Song Contest, are those who set the narratives first. Bambie’s music and presentation scream a new generation that is bursting into society, bending the formulas and rules of old into something far more individualistic and creative. It wasn’t the traditional press getting excited about this when all the songs came out; we did it, and it’s our collective noise about both ‘Doomsday Blue‘ and ‘Go Tobann‘ which got them airplay on BBC Radio 1.

Call me crazy if you like, but I don’t think Bambie would have won without the hype and noise of fans before the show, nor the vivacious crowd of Eurofans at the Late Late Show chanting their name from the get-go. It is a good thing when such art brings such passion, especially if it is challenging broadcasters who need a fresh start to be bold and brave.

That passion is our community’s biggest asset as well as its flaw. I understand why sending another chip-off-the-old-block boy band is the last thing Ireland’s Eurovision history needs. However if we want to actually demonstrate that Eurovision is a place for all we need to ensure all aren’t just welcomed, they are encouraged and celebrated and given equal chance to impress. Are we as a community as inclusive as we believe we are?

I’m sure Bambie would want to see us united by music.

About The Author: Ben Robertson

Ben Robertson has attended 23 National Finals in the world of Eurovision. With that experience behind him he writes for ESC Insight with his analysis and opinions about anything and everything Eurovision Song Contest that is worth telling.

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One response to “Bambie Thug’s Game Changing Victory For Ireland”

  1. mrs pfui says:

    Ben, that conclusion screams privileged bs. Seems like the focus is off the mainstream, palatable, white, cis, normative entry for a hot minute and you whine about inclusivity.

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