Dancing Priest’s Song For Ireland
A singing and dancing priest hopes to represent Ireland in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, one of Europe’s premier annual television events.
Fr Ray Kelly, 66, said if his song “Hallelujah Day” is chosen for the Eurovision, it could win the contest, though he conceded to The Irish Catholic newspaper that “I’d be biased though”.
If Fr Kelly (pictured) were to go all the way to win in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on May 16, it would be Ireland’s eighth winner, extending the record which the country holds.
But it would also be Ireland’s first win in 24 years, since Eimear Quinn won with “The Voice” in 1996.
But Meath-based Fr Kelly is also realistic. He would be “shocked and amazed” to be chosen.
“I have had a great interest in the show, I’ve watched it from my early teens…going back to Johnny Logan in 1980 [winner with “What’s Another Year”] and even before; I was in school when Dana won it”, in 1970 with “All Kinds Of Everything”, Fr Kelly told The Irish Catholic.
The priest described “Hallelujah Day” as a “gospel song with a country-western flavour to it”.
While he was waiting to learn whether he will sing for Ireland in Rotterdam—the decision is expected to be announced by early March—he was competing in the popular show Dancing with the Stars, staying in the competition by popular vote despite receiving low scores from the judges.
Fr Kelly—who obtained his bishop’s’ permission to take part in the show—acknowledged that he was receiving popular support not for his hoofing skills, “but maybe for my entertainment or my popularity in other ways”.
The priest became famous overnight in 2014 when a video of him singing Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah”, with adapted lyrics, at a wedding became a YouTube sensation, garnering 73 million hits.
Fr Kelly will release his debut album in April.
But the priest of the St Patrick’s Society for the Foreign Missions stressed that the singing and dancing is secondary to him: “My first love, first of all, is my priesthood, and that’s number one in my life.”
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