A singer from Co Derry set to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest has told how she is having an ‘incredible experience’ in Italy ahead of the competition next week.
Brooke Scullion, from Bellaghy, will perform her self-penned song, That’s Rich, during the second semi-final of the contest in Turin on May 12.
If the 23-year-old is successful, she will next perform in the final on May 14.
The young singer, who reached the final of The Voice on ITV last year, left Dublin on Monday to fly to Italy.
She received a spirited farewell from family, friends and supporters in her home village where crowds filled the Taphouse Bar to bid her goodbye and good luck.
Speaking to The Irish News yesterday, the singer said things had “started to get very real”. She said she spent the first few days of her trip doing sound checks and had the chance to practice on the “big” Eurovision stage.
She said she was delighted to see how the song “has evolved”.
“The number of people working on the production is incredible,” she said.
“I did sound checks and meet and greets. I did a stage performance. We do a lot of social media. Just loads of stuff.
“It’s always busy. I never have a minute.”
Brooke said her departure from Bellaghy moved her to tears.
“I have never cried so much in my life,” she said.
“Everyone came out and everyone said ‘You are my idol’. These are children who go to the same school as me”.
She added: “It’s so exciting. Now that I’m on stage, I feel a lot more comfortable.
“I’m so proud of everyone on the team. Everyone wants me to succeed. It’s been such an amazing experience.
“I’m working as hard as I can to make sure this career stays with me forever.”
The second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on RTÉ 2 on May 12. Viewers in Northern Ireland will be able to vote for Ireland in the semi-finals.
The final will then air at 8 p.m. on May 14 on RTÉ One.