Another nation selected their Eurovision entry tonight, and for those not up on their Eurovision history it might seem like one of the smaller nations with limited scope for success. But don’t underestimate Ireland, they have won Eurovision seven times, the most any nation has managed, including a unique run of three consecutive wins in the early 90s.
But things haven’t been so rosy in recent years, with a rather bitter period of failure in the mid-00s, occasionally qualifying but never recapturing their former glory. The last three contests have been better, with former winner Niamh Kavanagh breaking a three year drought by qualifying for the Oslo final, and the infamous Jedward representing at the last two contests.
After a surprisingly successful first attempt, Jedward didn’t live up to Dusseldorf’s top 10 finish when they attempted to go mainstream in Baku, but carved a successful career across Europe. But the Emerald Isle need to keep their momentum if they want to ever see the contest return to home soil. So five hopefuls, mentored by five Eurovision-adjacent personalities, will fight it out on the Late Late Show, with a 50/50 televote & jury vote deciding the Irish delegate to Malmö’s contest in May.
Inchequin – Son Kez (The Last Time)
Intriguing idea, including Turkish influences and language in the song. Timing couldn’t have been worse, with Turkey boycotting the contest this year. Or is it? Turkish diaspora have always been good for some points from Germany and Netherlands to name a few, could this be a very shrewd move to soak up these points?
Well in principle, yes. But the song really doesn’t work as a contemporary effort. The mentors went on about Turkish influences but it sounds more like country music. Oh hang on, here are some … penny whistles? Well it IS Ireland. What an odd mix, and aside from the compelling curiosity factor, I can’t see this getting very far at all, unless the Turkish migrants like it.
But contrary to popular belief, you can’t just win Eurovision on regional votes – you need to appeal to everyone, and I don’t think this does.
Aimee Fitzpatrick – Crashing down
Ballad time, fertile territory for Irish Eurovision entries in the past. After some gushing about fresh new talent, we begin with a straight-up ballad written by a young Irish lad for a young Irish girl to sing.
I’m not sure I like her voice that much, I’m not sure why. But I won’t deny that she”s got a good controlled voice. It’s got that slow pacing that reminds me in a way of Jason Mraz’s “I won’t give up”.
The chorus doesn’t have much payoff but it’s a decent effort. She sings a bit like Jewel, which is no bad thing. I like my ballads with glory notes, but I’ve heard a lot worse, and her. I just wish it had grown into something at the end.
Zoe Alexis Bohorquez – Fire
Are they reduced to auditioning catering staff from RTE studios now? You couldn’t MAKE it up! Is it dance time? Thank God. It’s no Euphoria clone… well maybe the backing music a bit.
It’s a nice throwaway bit of pop, you could imagine someone like Alexis Jordan doing this. The vocals are a bit shaky, but I’m sure that can be ironed out. What does that “eh-eh-eh-eh” backing bit remind me of? It’s driving me crazy. It’s Malta last year isn’t it?
God that’s a bit of a rip-off isn’t it? Well it’s fun for Europe, but a bit ropey. That’s JUST what we want. Needs polish though, and something better than the least impressive pyro ever.
Ryan Dolan – Only love survives
Cred points for writing your own entry. I’m sure some people are interested in that thing. Ooh, ethno-dance, Celto-dance? You can just sing Euphoria along to this too, can’t you?
It’s all more accomplished than Zoe’s, a more sophisticated sound and the drums are a great addition. He’s just not a great performer. His voice can hit the notes, even if the lyrics just sound like vague love-shaped nonsense.
Oh COME ON, it even sounds like he’s singing the word “Euphoria” at one point! It’s the best shot they have so far from this selection, but I’m not sure this matches up to what I think Europe will bring.
Kasey – Kiss me there
Drax? What sort of a name is that for a person? That’s the songwriter, by the way. Anyway, Kasey was apparently in vaguely-remembered girlband Wonderland (I forget which one that were again).
More Euro-cheese, this time in a slightly more original sound, but still pretty dancy. This is quite nice really. Those backing singers awkwardly filling a gap by “k-k-k-k-kiss me there!”. Fairly nonsensical lyrics, random slow bit before the chorus.
It’s like a sub-Cascada track, in a year when Cascada are going for a sub-Loreen track while representing Germany.
This at least has some originality in its sound, but it didn’t sound like she was very well-practiced with the song, and it just feel a bit flat. Was that supposed to be saucy? Could’ve done with a remix and a vocal coach, but no worse than the other dance tracks from this pack (uh oh).
So I think I’d give the nod to Ryan there, or even Zoe with a bit of pre-Malmö polishing. I don’t think either are ready for the stage, YET.
But it doesn’t matter what I think. Fortunately, after a very tightly-fought race, Ryan snatched the victory at the last moment after winning the televote. It’s still a bit of a weak entry, but it’s got the best shot of any of the Irish hopefuls I think. It has potential for the big Swedish stage, at least!