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'It's been a total whirlwind': Meet the teen singing for Ireland in the Junior Eurovision final

Tune in to TG4 at 3pm to watch the final live from Paris, and cheer Maiú on.

Maiú on stage.
Maiú on stage.
Image: TG4

Updated on Dec 20th at 9.55am

IRELAND HAS HAD a bad run of Eurovision luck since our glory days of the mid-Nineties, but if things go well in Paris this afternoon, that could all be about to change.

Maiú Levil Lawlor is 14 – meaning he wasn’t yet born when Eimear Quinn belted her heart out and took home our last Eurovision win back in 1996 – and he’s this year’s Irish contender in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Singers aged between 9 and 14 from nineteen European countries will take to the stage at the Seine Musicale in Paris this afternoon for the live televised final. Irish viewers can tune in on TG4, or watch live on the TG4 Player, from 3pm.

Maiú was named as the Irish entry back in October after wowing the Junior Eurovision Éire judges (among them Euro-veteran Linda Martin) and winning TG4′s annual selection competition.

1IMAGE_TG4_997A5606 Source: TG4/Bryan James Brophy

“The competition in Junior Eurovision Éire was tough, so to win it was such an incredible experience. It’s been a total whirlwind since the moment I picked up the cup,” says the Greystones teen, who’s been in Paris for the last week with his mum, Dawn.

Like all of Ireland’s previous Junior Eurovision entries, Maiú will be singing as Gaeilge. His song Saor (Disappear) is a celebration of the strength of young people who were separated from their friends and classmates at the height of the Covid pandemic.

“There’s a real message of hope in it. It’s a song of resilience,” says Maiú of the song, written by Niall Mooney, Lauren White Murphy and Anna Banks. “I only heard it for the first time about a month ago but I liked it instantly.” Plus, he adds, it’s perfect Eurovision fare:

It’s really upbeat, it’s such a get-the-crowd-going song, definitely the kind of song you want to be singing live.

Watch the video here – and spot Maiú’s school, Coláiste Ráithín in Bray, in the opening shots:

Source: TG4/YouTube

A massive eight million people across the world tuned in to last year’s Junior Eurovision final in Warsaw, but large audiences don’t faze Maiú. The Greystones teen sang for the Britain’s Got Talent judges at the London Palladium in 2019, and gave a rendition of Don’t Rain On My Parade on the Late Late Toy Show back in 2017.

And if there are some nerves brewing about performing in today’s final, he’s hiding them well:

I’m excited more than anything. I’m feeling fairly confident, I’ve practiced the living daylights out of the song at this stage!

If you’re ready for Ireland to revisit its Eurovision glory days, you can cast your vote for Maiú right now – yes, unlike its older sibling, the Junior Eurovision’s public voting system allows people to vote for their own countries, along with up to four others.

Votes opened earlier this week and will remain open until the final begins at 3pm today. There’ll be a second brief chance to vote once all contestants have performed. Show your support for Maiú here.

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast live on TG4 and the TG4 Player on Sunday December 19 from 3pm. Watch it here, and follow TG4 on social media for updates from Junior Eurovision Éire presenters Louise Cantillon and Niamh Ní Chrónín.

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