Former Westlife star Nicky Byrne failed to qualify for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest as he fell at the semi-final stage in Stockholm.
Byrne gave an energetic rendition of Sunlight, a dance-pop number co-written by Wayne Hector, but it wasn’t enough to see him through to the Grand Final.
“Obviously I’m disappointed – I really would have loved to represent Ireland at the final, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to…I have no regrets,” he said.
Ireland is the most successful nation in the competition’s 61 year history with seven wins, but this elimination means it has failed to reach the showpiece event for a third year in a row.
Amazing Time Amazing Support
I gave it my all, I’m sorry I didn’t get us there.
I pass on the torch to someone else now next year. 🍀
— Nicky Byrne (@NickyByrne) May 12, 2016
Kasey Smith failed to qualify for the final in Copenhagen in 2014, while last year in Vienna, school girl Molly Stirling didn’t make the cut.
The pop star, 37, was selected by RTE in a year which saw the public vote to choose Ireland’s entry removed.
The move was intended to improve the country’s chances of reaching the final, but with Byrne falling short, RTE will now have to defend its controversial decision.
Watch the performance here:
Eimear Quinn took was the last Irish act to take the crown, when she sailed to victory in 1996 with her song The Voice.
Since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, Ireland has failed to qualify for the final on seven occasions and has finished in last place twice.
There is some interest for Irish Eurovision fans, however, as the Czech Republic’s entry, I Stand, co-written by Limerick songwriter Aidan O’Connor, made it through.
Russia’s Sergey Lazarev is the hot favourite to take the title with his slick You Are the Only One.
And the show is unlikely to be without controversy, given the subject of the Ukrainian entry.
1944, a politically-charged song covering Stalin, Crimea and claims of ethnic cleansing has stirred tensions with Russia.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, as the conflict between the two countries escalated.
The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest is on May 14, with Irishman Graham Norton providing the commentary for the BBC.