Europe in Glitter: The hand puppet Dustin the Turkey that replaced a tiger

After having been to Ukraine and Finland, it was time to visit the hand puppet that is being compared to Bono from U2 and describes Lordi as Spice Girls without make up! It is Dustin the Turkey that represented Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. 

Thursday evening DR premiered their third edition of their Eurovision warm up programme "Europa i Glimmer" (Europa in Glitter). This time host Sisse Sejr-Nørgaard travelled to Ireland in order to find out what went on when the country with seven Eurovision victories sent a hand puppet named Dustin the Turkey off to the contest they use to take so seriously. 

This visit to Ireland took place in the days around the local national final, but before enjoying that Sisse of course had to meet Dustin himself. She first met with his assistant who warned about Dustin’s habbit of coming on to attrative women, but it turned out that the puppet was thinking more of himself than of her. He says he is compared to U2’s leadsinger Bono as he puts it: "We both have big noses and can’t sing".

Dustin the Turkey is quite a darling in Ireland, and he can get away with many things, and there aren’t many things he wouldn’t do, but one of them is to take selfies at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, as he quickly explains with a reference to that the Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Smith took a selfie with her together with the British prime minister David Cameron and the American president Barack Obama, during Mandela’s funeral.

About Eurovision Dustin explains that he saw Eurovision was getting mader to the extend that it wasn’t about music anymore. When he saw Lordi win, who he describes as "just like Spice Girls without make up", he thought that he shouldn’t just be for the Irish to enjoy, but instead become international, but as he puts it "it didn’t go quite like that". He adds though that he might be back at some point to make up for that. 

After having talked to Dustin, Sisse wanted to find out more about the Irish Eurovision culture. As the phone lines in Ireland went down during the Eurovision interval act, or half time show as they call it, in 1994 she starts out taking a course in Riverdance, the act that made history. The instructor is Belinda Murphy who was also on stage that year and she talks about just how much Ireland back then saw Eurovision as a way to promote Irish culture. It meant a lot to them, and therefore they took it so seriously. 

Riverdance was replaced by the Celtic Tiger, which is a term used to describe the big economical growth in Ireland which really kicked off in 1995 and ended in 2007 when the crisis instead took over. The Irish sent Dustin the Turkey in 2008, so could that be related? To Sisse the Irish explains it as "we grew up with Dustin in child programmes, so yes, in the national final, he brought the inner child up in us, which worked as a way to forget about the problems". It is being added as that is what the Irish always do in hard times: They laugh – and they drink!

Irish Eurovision fan Gerry Martin adds that he would like things to get more serious again in Iceland when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest starting with the national selection. He says he it is too much a fun entertainment programme and he would like a big serious national final like in the Scandinavian countries.

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Below you can see a short video from Dustin the Turkey’s press conference at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. The video includes a performance.

Source: DR, EuroVisionary
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