Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Thursday 23 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Leah Farrell
# eurovision 2023
Hearing from the six artists hoping to end Ireland's 25 years of Eurovision hurt
Tonight’s Eurosong will decide Ireland’s Eurovision 2023 contestant.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 3rd 2023, 9:30 PM

TONIGHT, SIX ARTISTS take to The Late Late Show stage in the first step of a journey that could see Ireland finally restore some Eurovision pride. 

Starting in 1970, Ireland managed to win seven titles in 26 years. Taking into account the song contest that was written off by Covid, we are now just one more contest shy of going the same amount of time without a single victory. (Our last win was Eimear Quinn with The Voice in 1996.) 

There is, of course, the school of thought that this can be explained by geopolitics – that Ireland cannot compete with the likes of Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Germany and countries perceived to have more natural allies in the form of neighbours or other lands regarded as culturally or spiritually similar. 

This argument was blown out of the water last year when the United Kingdom – a country which frequently bombs at the contest and is certainly on the receiving end of much general European displeasure  – came second only to the entry from Ukraine.

It proved an important point: Ireland can still win this thing. 

The six songs that will be put to a public vote on Friday night (which can all be heard here) each make their own compelling case, and the buzz yesterday at RTÉ’s preview for the Eurosong contest was infectious.

For a man who might need no introduction, it took two introductions from Marty Whelan to get Lydon out onto the stage, as the legendary Sex Pistols frontman protested his shyness at first.

Dressed in an eye-catching pink suit, Lydon, asked why he was fighting for the chance to compete under the Irish banner rather than a British one, said “I’m as Irish as anyone, in my blood.” Lydon also dismissed old remarks he’d made about the Eurovision, saying they had been merely “jokes on the radio”.

Asked whether he was nervous ahead of tonight’s performance, Lydon gestured to the press scrum and said “Well, all of this isn’t helping,” taking his leave shortly thereafter. 

Lydon’s song Hawaii, performed with band Public Image Ltd, is written in honour of his wife Nora, who is living with Alzheimer’s. 

Any other year, popular Irish band Wild Youth would likely be the best known entrants on the list. Their hit Can’t Move On has been a mainstay on Irish radio stations since its release in 2018, and the four-piece band will bring the confidence of seasoned performers to tonight’s Eurosong.

Longford duo K Muni and ND, whose song features a Caribbean dancehall beat and rapping as well as melody, said: “Listen, I think we need something different. Take the risk, vote for #6, that’s what I say. I think the shock factor would be really helpful. 

“I think recently Ireland has been quite safe in terms of the selections and I think everyone else is kind of bored of that.”

CONNOLLY, who was just 17 when she wrote her entry Midnight Summer Night, told The Journal her involvement is “all thanks” to her mother, who had suggested she go for it upon hearing one of her new songs. 

She described the shock of receiving the call to let her know she’d been chosen for this year’s Eurosong: “I was on the bus home to Galway when I got the call, and then had to sit there in silence for three hours.” She says she’s “been dreaming” of the chance to put together a stage show for the real thing in Liverpool this May.

The story behind Leila Jane’s song Wild is as Eurovision as you could hope for – with lyrics by Estonian, Finnish and British songwriting team of Liis Hainla, Arto Ruotsala, Aaron Sibley and Leila Jane herself. 

Whichever of the six acts makes it through to the semi-finals faces a minor obstacle, in that they will compete in the May 9 semi-final, which the Ireland-friendly UK public will not be allowed to vote in.

Twenty-six years without a win suggests there’s a major challenge facing the entrant who gets through tomorrow, but as Donegal singer ADGY says: “These days the music industry is so crazy, you have no idea how even just being involved could help your career.”

He also gives a compelling diagnosis of what Ireland might need in a Eurovision song: “I think you can get caught up in trying to create a ‘Eurovision song’ and I think that method is, in my opinion, not the best method.”

“I think you need to find an artist who has worked on a song, who is passionate, whose performance is true to themselves… To find someone with talent who can live out their creative dream on the stage.”

The winning song will be chosen by a combination of public vote, national jury and international jury, with The Late Late Show Eurosong Special kicking off at 9.35pm tonight. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel