Ireland have qualified for the Eurovision Song Contest final with a same-sex love song.
The country will be competing in the annual music competition for the first time since 2013 later this month, with former Britain’s Got Talent contestant Ryan O’Shaughnessy hoping to get them to the top of the scoreboard once again.
Ryan’s bittersweet acoustic song Together is about the end of a serious relationship, and the music video, which was released back in March, received praise for featuring two men as the lovers drifting apart.
The 25-year-old singer performed the track during the first semi-finals last night (8 May), but the focus was largely on dancers Kevin O’Dwyer and Alan McGrath, who recreated their dance routine from the video among falling snow.
Watch the emotional performance below.
Ireland has won the Eurovision Song Contest seven times in the show’s history – more than any other country – but they haven’t come out on top since 1996, so there’ll be plenty of hope placed on Ryan’s shoulders.
The semi-finals performance certainly went down well with viewers, who shared their love on social media.
Up until 2015, gay couples were not allowed to get married in Ireland. Tonight we qualified for the finals of the #Eurovision with a song featuring a gay couple. Proud of how far we have come as a country in such a short amount of time. ???????? ????️????
— Seán Lyons (@SeanLyons1) May 8, 2018
me: ireland is a little boring…
me, five seconds later: OH IT'S GAY THEY'RE GAY IT'S GAY YES A WINNER#Eurovision
— parris (@supernovalester) May 8, 2018
— love, paola (@aintitphan) May 8, 2018
— newtmas maartje (@THEMAZEKILLS) May 8, 2018
Together, which was co-written by Ryan alongside Mark Caplice and Laura Elizabeth Hughes, was chosen out of over 300 songs submitted to RTE to be considered for the country’s entry this year.
Speaking about the gay love story in the music video, Ryan said: “It was amazing seeing the video come to life in the way it did, sticking with the original concept that love is universal and there are testing moments in every relationship.”
Watch the music video for the song below.