Bellaghy’s own Eurovision contender Brooke Scullion has said she will be giving everything to triumph at tonight’s semi-final in Turin.
Speaking to BBC Good Morning Ulster, the 23-year-old spoke of the sage advice she received from Louis Walsh and Dana, and being honoured with a “Brooke special” pizza in her home town.
“There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears has went into this,” she said.
“We have a really slick, choreographed performance on the floor. It’s just centred around fun, it’s tongue in cheek. Everyone wants to have a good time.
“There’s not as many pop songs this year. There’s a lot of ballads and stuff, so I’m really excited that mine’s different.”
After feeling almost written off as a novelty act, she said her performance was now turning heads in Italy.
“Look, all I want is to get to the final. I don’t care if I’m last, I just need to get there because Ireland haven’t qualified in I don’t know how many years and it’s just not right.”
Tonight’s the night ☘️✨— Brooke (@Brooke_Scullion) May 12, 2022
Here are the numbers you’ll need to Vote to get us to the @eurovision Final ☎️
This #Eurovision experience is a dream come true and I just hope I can do my country proud. 🇮🇪
Please tune in and enjoy the performance ❤️🔥 pic.twitter.com/B7pdigrzMV
While Ireland is still one of most successful ever Eurovision nations, Brooke said she was determined to end a recent drought and jokes she wants to become the new Jedward.
On the support at home, she said: “This is when you know you’ve made it. There’s a pizza shop in Bellaghy called Diamond Slice and they have the Brooke Special.
"It’s cheese, peppers, onions, sweetcorn. Strange I know, but I love it.”
Among her new legion of famous fans is Derry Girls’ Jamie-Lee O’Donnell.
"She wrote to me and us Derry Girls have to stick together, that’s epic.
"Dana has been in touch...giving me advice and just wishes me well and also just how proud she is of me. She doesn't have to do that, that’s such a lovely thing to say.”
She said meeting former X-Factor judge Louis Walsh was the highlight of her career.
"I think you need thick skin around Louis definitely, I sat down and he said ‘ok, you might qualify but you’re not going to win.’
"I was like ‘you know what, I needed that. Thank you Louis’.”
"It was one of the best moments of my life, I never laughed as much. It was unreal.”