Video: X Factor's Louis Walsh caught up in Eurovision live TV meltdown
EUROVISION winner Linda Martin has defended pop mogul Louis Walsh after a live TV show to pick Ireland's entry descended into chaos.
The 1992 Eurovision winner from Belfast branded Aslan guitarist Billy McGuinness a "gob*****" in an extraordinary spat on RTE's The Late, Late Show.
McGuinness had lambasted Walsh's long-standing involvement in the Eurosong competition, saying the X Factor judge should not be involved in the selection.
A furious McGuinness said Ireland's last three Eurovision winners had links to Walsh, and he claimed it was "not a level playing field".
This raised the hackles of Why Me? singer Martin, who was on the panel with Walsh and is a close friend.
One of those competing to represent Ireland at the Eurovision competition was Dungiven singer Eoghan Quigg – who was mentored by Walsh on the X Factor.
That fact did not go unmissed by McGuinness, who also noted how One Direction member Niall Horan had asked his 17 million Twitter fans to vote for the Co Londonderry singer this time around.
The Aslan member also mentioned the X Factor judge's connection with fellow contestant Kasey Smith. She used to be in girl group Wonderland – formed by Walsh. Pop act Jedward, also managed by Walsh, have represented Ireland twice in the Eurovision, in 2011 and 2012.
But Walsh refuted the claims made by McGuinness, saying: "I know everybody."
On Saturday night, viewers also saw Linda Martin jumping to his defence. She shook her finger at McGuinness, called him an "odious little man" and then got out of her seat to confront him up close.
"You may not be used to dealing with women with brains, but I have a brain," she added.
Linda lost her cool after being escorted back to her seat by host Ryan Turbidy, and is reported to have shouted "gob******" in the direction of the guitarist.
RTE's Eurosong contest was eventually won by Can-linn featuring Kasey Smith.
The 23-year-old Dubliner – who sang Heartbeat – said it felt "absolutely amazing" to be representing Ireland at the Eurovision.
But she said she would have won without Walsh's endorsement. "It didn't make any difference at all, because when you saw the public vote, we were getting 12 points from everywhere – left, right and centre – so either way, with or without Louis, we were going to win," she said.