Eurovision 2013 - Dress Rehearsals

Ireland: First Dress Rehearsal and Video – Reviews by Garrett Mulhall and Elaine Dove

Ryan Dolan - Irish Eurovision Representative 2013

Ryan Dolan – Irish Eurovision Representative 2013
Photograph courtesy of RTE

Ireland’s Ryan Dolan has taken to the stage at Eurovision 2013 for his first dress rehearsal of his song “Only Live Survives”.

This has gone up in the sexy performance stakes where half-clad leather men with tattoos is the name of the game!Yes Ryan has just put in a very strong performance for his first stage rehearsal. So let’s break it down.


Well Ryan made sure that his vocals were 100% on point as where those of the backing singers. They were supporting and not drowning his main vocals out. Job well done


Well Ryan’s attire is stylish, contemporary and youthful on stage. His suit was created through a collaboration by  Joanne Costello and designer Umit Kutluk and shows the Irish International fashion industry at it’s best which links Ireland’s past, present and future. Silver shimmered trousers – in a jean style – which is accompanied with a black fitted casual collarless jacket that has ridges of silver trimmings. It looks very striking on the camera. Ryan’s dancers and drummer are all in leather trousers and are shirtless – yes shirtless – where they all have matching Celtic tattoos on their torso. The 2 female singers are in black sleeveless dresses with long trains – this is the sexiest stage show that Ireland has ever sent to Eurovision.


The song begins with a close up of the 2 dancers at the very front of the stage on the catwalk and then leaps over them to where we find Ryan taking centre stage. The backdrop of the stage is spectacular and is the most creative of any country to date. Ryan has gone for large Celtic and Tribal animations across the massive backdrop which are in rich colours of green, red, gold and white. It has a modern edge to it which makes it very impactive.

(YouTube Video Courtesy of Eurovision)

In the final rehearsal the pyrotechnics were used and for the climax of the song. There is a huge wall of flaming fireworks – like that in the Irish National Final – but bigger and more dramatic. They die down for the end of the song where there are a small number of smaller one shot fireworks that come from the front of the stage. Our only suggestion would be to make these final fireworks bigger as they looked like they misfired on camera. You just want the last impression of the song with the audience to be as strong as the entire presentation.

This had everyone in the press hall leaning forward on their chairs and applauding all of the performances. Ryan looked totally at ease and was enjoying himself. The dancers were electric along with the drummer. They draw you into the performance which fits the large Eurovision stage like we always knew it would. Speaking to our international press colleagues they all felt that the Irish performance was the best of the day and even more to the point they felt that the Irish performance was stronger than the Danish entry that also heavily features drummers.

Final Analysis

Overall this has to be the best Irish First rehearsal that we have seen on Day one from an Irish entrant in many years. All those hours of rehearsals are paying off and the entire team look like they are enjoying themselves which is clear to see on camera. I am one happy Irish Man.

Author/Website co-founder and Editor in Chief Garrett Mulhall

Elaine has her Say

Ryan Dolan takes to the stage for his first rehearsal in The Malmo Arena for Eurovision 2013.


He appears to be in his performance clothes and looks great in black leather trousers and jacket. He has 2 female backing singers on the stage with him along with 2 backing dancers and a drummer.

The backing dancers are topless and this is a genius move as they are very pleasing on the eye. They start off the performance playing bodhran’s and it kicks off the great dance rhythm. It is very Celtic and has a tribal feel to it.


My first impression of his vocal is that he was spot on. For a first run through he sounded amazing. There is a lot of strobe lighting which fits perfectly with the drum beat and the whole performance looks brilliant. The final run through included the pyrotechnics which lit up the back wall to great effect.

Final Analysis

The backing singers add a bit of depth to the vocal and I would say as a package this performance is already spot on. Ryan’s “Colgate” winning smile adds the final but of charm to this performance and a stick on qualifier for me.

Contributor/Author Elaine Dove

Source Eurovision Ireland

27 replies »

  1. Why Why Why do we insist in making it OIRISH? Have we learnt nothing from the recent winners? The styling of these songs have been an integral part of their success, professional, slick and relevant. Now Ireland takes a major step back, we have a great song, a nice singer, but woeful production and image…..The dancers have to go, really, they are not up to par and are not needed. Last year she had a professional, modern progressive dancer with her, who enhanced her performance, not 2 eegits prancing around half naked..less is more Ireland please, the celtic back projection is just too much… not good…

  2. everything spot on, but i think the staging needs huge changing. Ryan should start on his knees like in the video, with a black backdrop and a single spotlight, then the pink background from the video should be used, awful staging, so dissappointed.

  3. The backdrop is a mess guys, not relevant to the song, maybe a pot if shamrock might help ? . What happened to the heart and equalizer theme in the video !! Which looks great.

  4. When is the press allowed to record the rehersals for themselves instead of Want to see the full performance for myself and not just some snippets.

  5. What has RTE done? OMG the back ground is all wrong
    Ryan’s own official video told the story of the lyric’s this is dreadful,he is not singing an Irish lament song this is an upbeat song,thus his own video was perfect, reading all the reviews everyone has commented on the background unless they change it he will loose valuable points, such a shame as the song is excellent.

  6. The Celtic cross backdrop is getting slated online (Again people haven’t seen the live feed), they should try something a bit different next time just to experiment.

    Can you keep us updated on the developments of the stage re-design if thats happening yet.

  7. I’m very happy with the performance..however a few minor changes are needed although I’m sure that they will be fixed by the second rehersal!!! 7/10 so far!!!!

  8. This is what The Eurovision Times reviwer thought of Ireland’s first rehearsal and it seems to be a viewpoint alot of people share!!
    I agree about the backdrop… What the hell has it to do with the song????

    “After the lunchbreak, we started off with Ireland and Ryan. Most of the press only had harsh words for this. As a dated esc entry, it featurres three shirtless men on stage (two dancers, one drummer) and two backings who tried to cover for Ryan’s poor vocals. At some point they got so shouty they over powered Ryan’s singings all together. He is not amazingly dressed either, in a very camp leather way. And more importantly, the back drop presents Irish elements and celtic symbols which are totally irrelevant to the song’s genre and lyrics. In other words, a total mess of a rehearsal that brings too much on the table and doesnt appeal to anyone in the end. But there’s a second rehearsl to polish it.”

    • They are totally off the mark Aidan – and you can quote us on that. It is funny that the fan press said they didn’t like the performance as he was mobbed when he did the meet and greet – along with his dancers, drummers and backing singers.I think if you look at the video we just posted his vocals were spot on. The camera never lies

      • Sounded great to me too! The only negative I would have is the Celtic cross backdrop.. I don’t think it’s very relevant…

        • I have to agree there Aidan…I think it looks nice but it seems irrelevant

    • I don’t think it was that bad to be fair, I really think he will scape through at this point, a lot of work to do though. Watch out for Moldova, good good song, Netherlands, Denmark , Moldova and Russia are qualifiers for sure, the rest could come from anywhere

  9. Well after reading many other sites and following am not sure what to think. A lot of people were Not impressed thinking it looks dated with the backdrop not suiting the song at all and Ryan’s vocals being screechy and the backing vocalists too loud yet again. I looked at the video and I can see what they mean but I don’t think it was that bad so I take your review on board. After all there is a second rehearsal so am optimistic. Really hoping for a qualification and with some of the more OTT performances (Ukraine, Belarus, Montenegro & Moldova) this should be possible. Glad you guys met Aoife from, she’s lovely. She told me you were introduced last night and that I said to say HI! 😉 Great work today. Thanks Guys :).

      • Thanks guys. Glad to hear they will look at things after all that’s what rehearsals are for. I have faith in our team. Does Ryan still connect with the camera and smile? (just bring the backing vocals down like last weeks’ Late Late Show, although with the Arena being full, acoustics will sound different) Send best wishes and good luck to the Irish delegation. 🙂

  10. A lot of comments on youtube are saying the background looks terrible, any ideas why people think this?

  11. Is this in any way biased? most other bloggers are slating the backdrop and backing vocalists.

  12. A very positive synopsis here but I hope this is an objective review and not just patriotism. I second a lot of what you’ve written but I know that this is because my paddy glasses are erasing out all of the blotches. The backdrop may be modern, but it still reminds me of an old Nokia 32-10 cover you’d buy in Fairyhouse!

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