Ireland qualify for first Eurovision final in five years

Ireland has made it through to the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest – for the first time since 2013.

Former Britain’s Got Talent star Ryan O’Shaughnessy succeeded in getting through to the next stage after singing his ballad Together, about the end of a love affair, at the semi-final in Lisbon.

O’Shaughnessy’s ballad was accompanied by two male dancers acting out the romantic story of a couple, which got a huge cheer from the audience.

With seven victories, Ireland is the most successful country at the contest, but finished in last place at the final in 2013.

Ireland escaped from what was dubbed the 'semi-final of death' along with hotly-tipped acts from the Czech Republic, Israel and Estonia.

Israel made it through and led the way when it came to the most eccentric performances, with its singer “clucking like a chicken”.

Netta Barzilai, who performed her song Toy, has been the favourite with bookmakers to win this year’s competition.

She was dubbed “Bjork on steroids” for her energetic performance.

The first of the two semi-finals – with the second to air on Thursday – also saw former X Factor contestant Saara Aalto make it through to Saturday night, representing Finland.

- Press Association

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