Ireland Aims to Gobble Up Eurovision Prize

DUBLIN -- Ireland's rich musical tradition has acquired an unlikely ambassador for the 2008 Eurovision song contest: glove puppet Dustin the Turkey, known for his burps and thick Dublin accent.

Dustin's song "Irelande Douze Pointe," or Ireland 12 points, played to mixed reviews on Saturday, with applause and boos from the audience.

One judge, Dana Rosemary Scallon, a former Eurovision winner, said, "If it's the turkey, I think we're better not to go into the Eurovision again."

But Dustin vowed to put Ireland, which has a record seven Eurovision wins, back on the map after several disappointing years and finishing last place in Helsinki in 2007.

"Shake your feathers and pop your beak / Shake it to the West and to the East," Dustin sings as he makes fun of Riverdance, a hugely successful Irish dance show.

He also takes on "goulash-eating" eastern countries which tend to vote for each other's Eurovision candidates.

Irish rock star Bob Geldof, who has released a duet with Dustin, denied that he was unfit to represent the country just because he is a turkey.

"The mere fact of his being a turkey should give Ireland the edge," Geldof told the Irish Times.

Because of Ireland's disastrous performance last year, Dustin will have to compete in a semifinal in May, a few days before the final in Belgrade is watched on television by an audience of tens of millions.