All opinions expressed in this article are those of the person quoted and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the other team members or ESC United as a whole.

It’s Year Three of Ireland and Raidió Teilifís Éireann’s (RTV) return to The Late Late Show as a national selection for Eurovision, and while the first two years did not bring much in the way of luck at the contest, RTV is clearing hoping third time is the charm.

While a much maligned format – from the host, the feeling of it being tacked onto an existing television show, some dodgy opinions from past contestants – the fact that Ireland holds the joint most amount of wins at Eurovision earns it respect among the fans who do genuinely want the Emerald Isle to do well and return to winning ways.

So here at ESC United, we have assembled a panel of barely qualified n’er do wells to review the six hopefuls and collectively assess who we want to win Eurosong and represent Ireland at Eurovision.

Representing ESC United:

Boris Meersman (Belgium) – The biggest proponent of “snarcasm” since Real Housewives of Orange County’s Shane Simpson, his biting Eurovision commentary makes Bianca Del Rio’s act seem family friendly.

Daniel Theophanous (London, United Kingdom) – The newest Cypriot Brit on the scene since Vanderpump Rules’s James Kennedy, and he has promised to be less annoying and have much better musical taste.

David Popescu (Denmark) – He hands out so much coal in our panel reviews, we believe he is actually from West Virginia and not Romania.

James Maude (Los Angeles, California) – Probably the only one here who remembers when Ireland were indestructible at Eurovision, but being British is hardly in a position to poke fun at their demise since.

Tyler Griffith (Alaska) – A Eurovision fan thrilled that True Detective Season 4 has highlighted the icy tundra he calls home and he no longer has to use On Deadly Ground as his home’s go to pop culture reference.

William Carter (Dallas, Texas) – A Eurovision fan who remembers where he was when J.R. Ewing was shot, which should be easy as he probably wasn’t born then.

Yehonatan Cohen (Israel) – Our new golden boy, but before he leaves to skewer Ireland’s hopefuls, he will gladly show you Tel Aviv.

Ailsha – “Go Tobann”

Boris – 9 – “Sanity’s left the building and my flipping wig’s in space. I’ve understood Ailsha is mainly a composer of gaming soundtrack and it shows as Go Tobann is literal endgame boss battle soundtrack yanked up to insane asylum levels and beyond. To envision this fully unhinged chaos/carnage/slay (“BROKEN GAELIC IS BETTER THAN CLEVER ENGLISH” amen, sis.) as a potential Eurovision entry… IS THIS KEALY’S IRELAND?! (complimentary). I am pining for a live performance so pungent it leaves the weak gasping for air. Weakness shall not be tolerated however, and when Ireland pick this as their representative may it finally cleanse Eurovision of those that have been enabling its mediocrities.”

Daniel – 7.5 – “Ireland needs something like this. It needs to take a risk and elevate itself from the incredible safe entries who nobody votes for – they qualified only once in the last ten years. Not that all safe songs don’t bode well at Eurovision, if last year is anything to go by. Ailsha could save the day! The operative word ‘could’ as with all risky songs this could go either way. Go Tobann is a schizophrenic amalgamation of genres, from Celtic rock to bleepy game music, with a decent vocal and peppered with native Irish words. There is a lot of chaos, a lot of spirit and a very strong viewpoint. No clue how this would be staged, but here’s to shaking things up!”

David – 1 – “Loud, obnoxious, an absolute fucking mess! I can’t tell what’s going on, I can’t hear what’s being sung… this song is in both English and Irish? All I could hear, was a screechy possessed sound. You could tell this was a made-up language, and I would’ve believed that! All I can imagine from this song are leprechauns with electric guitars, while they vomit a rainbow from being drunk.”

James – 9 – “I never thought I’d ever hear Eurosong present something that sounds like Gaelic jammed into kawaii metal. Think of Babymetal spiked with Jamesons. If Ailsha is going to stage this in a manner similar to Babymetal, we could have a cult classic on hands, but as the Late Late Show stage is the size of a bus station toilet stall, this could doom it. My only quibble with this entry is the mix. It sounds a bit flat and dampens the moments of impact like the guitar part at the bridge. But we shall if the live presentation lives up to its potential.”

Tyler – 6.5 – “Go Tobann” – “”Go Tobann” has a lot of potential to be one of the most memorable songs this year, but a lot of things have to come together for the live performance. The beat and atmosphere of the song is pure chaos and if it’s reined in and Ailsha can sing incredibly well in the live, then I can see this entry doing well as an ethno-pop banger the fanbase can get behind. It’s a mix of Irish Grimes and also being tongue in cheek with the use of the Irish lyrics, and just to see this coming out of Ireland gives me hope for Ireland to qualify this year.”

William – 3.5 – “I dunno … There are some songs that I think aren’t meant to be performed live. And that’s OK. Let’s normalize appreciating songs that are designed to be studio-crafted without needing to see them performed on a big stage. I have zero confidence in how this would come together at Eurovision, but I do appreciate the blend of electronic, metal, and Celtic sounds. Maybe my ears are just too old for this. At a certain point, this just becomes noise.”

Yehonatan – 7.5 – “‘Go Tobann’ is a really good sign that Ireland is starting to get Eurovision. Embracing the Irish language and the Celtic instruments is exactly what I want to see Ireland doing in future years. However, it is also a good reminder that just because this is not generic Irish pop, it does not mean it is very *good*. While it has a catchy instrumental line, it’s slightly too chaotic for me, and I’m afraid it’s too unaccessible for most of Europe. Yes, it is my favorite song in the selection, but a part of me wishes that it won’t win, because having an Irish language NQ might push them back to more Wild Youth entries. More than anything I hope this song will be used as a stepping stone for ethnic Irish music in the future.”

Total: 44

Average: 6.286

Bambie Thug – “Doomsday blue”

Boris – 7 – “What a delightful little weirdo this selection’s default winner is. If you have doubts between grindhouse rock, lounge jazz and balladeering, get yourself a girl who can do all three. Doomsday Blue is as insane and unhinged in scale as Go Tobann is (and those are the two natural comparisons as they’re the two faves amongst Irish people), but in a different way. While Go Tobann is a very explosive, overloady type of crazy, Doomsday Blue is defined by its musical schizophrenia, whiplashing back and forth between genres like a pinball, with free adlibs added on a dime. I don’t connect as much with it, in part because I heard Go Tobann first and my brain can only process one flavour of madness at the time, but mostly because it’s all over the place genre-wise. I prefer songs that pick a lane and sound cohesive. Doomsday Blue would make for an interesting entry though, as Ireland finally appear hungry enough to discard safety for High Risk and High Reward.”

Daniel – 7.5 – “Like Ailsha this is beautifully uncompromising and outside the box. And I do feel this may be truly something live if the Late Late Show is able to stage it properly. An enjoyable cacophonous mix of genres, distorted vocals, heavily borrowing symbolism from the occult, Doomsday Blues is a real trippy ride with a captivatingly oddball performer at the helms. It is a gamble, but as mentioned Ireland just needs to f***ing risk it. There are these soulful pop intervals throughout the track showcasing Bambie Thug’s vocals, offering respite from the discordant mayhem. But even in the mayhem, there is order, there is quality production. Please let this be good live!”

David – 3 – “I do like to hear some horror and something fearful, which can feed my inner devil. However, this is really tame. The chorus really goes soft, compared to rest of the song, but just in general, I wish there just was far more instruments and music involved. I’m lacking that feeling of actual fear, that even makes my blood freeze.”

James – 8.5 – “The clean vocals are modern, but the underlying track sounds like Nine Inch Nails type ’90s industrial. Ireland and the North of England were great wells for this sort of alternative music in the ’90s, and I glad Eurosong has chosen something a little out of the box. While Ailsha is the quirky entry for the kids, Bambie Thug might be the quirky entry for the mid-30s and up set. That doomy outro is tight, the screaming and clean vocals both shine, though like Ailsha the mix is a little murky. Also like Ailsha, staging on a platform so small you could accidentally kick Ryan Turbidy in the nuts, could be a concern for seeing its live potential. I hope both overcome, because they would both be compelling entries for Malmo.”

Tyler – 6 – “I needed multiple listens of “Doomsday Blues” to really try to “get it” and even then, I’m not sure what this song is. I don’t think it’s terrible in how unique it is and how un-Eurovision it is. This song isn’t an automatic write-off, as I could see this being as successful as “Dark Side” back in 2021. The live performance is going to be crucial to see if it can capture televoters as this can be quite polarizing. I’m just excited that Ireland is even entertaining this song as an option to send, and the audacity of it should be praised.”

William – 7 – “This is a toughie. I have no idea what this would actually look and sound like on the Eurovision stage, and the performance on that tiny little Late Show set isn’t going to be any help in figuring that out. Recent history has also told me that dark-sided, aggressively female songs like this don’t often do well at the contest. The vibe puts people off, fairly or unfairly. And yet … I am interested. I’m getting a little Madonna, a little heavy metal, a little Fatboy Slim maybe? This has to be done PERFECTLY or it will be a total trainwreck, but I think it’s a risk worth taking for a lost country like Ireland.”

Yehonatan – 3 – “Ireland really heard all of the complaints about their national final being too Vanilla last year and said bet, we can do experimental. I find this entry very confusing. The mix of the chill guitar chorus and the extreme alternative verses don’t quite work together for me, and the overall result is too much. Between the two experimental entries in the national final, this one is significantly less accessible and cohesive, and I’m afraid it won’t translate well into votes.”

Total Points: 42

Average: 6.000

Erica-Cody – “Love me like I do”

Boris – 7.5 – “What a crazy world we live in. Here we have a GOOD New Wave song in the same style as Take On Me and Blinding Lights, light year’s ahead of the terminal lameness RTÉ usually come up with. AND IT’S ARGUABLY THE SUBOPTIMAL CHOICE??? That assessment doesn’t do Erica-Cody justice though. In a sense, I feel like Love Me Like I Do is the riskiest and most greedy option Ireland have. While Erica’s path to the Grand Final is maybe less certain than that of potential televote magnets Bambie Thug and Ailsha, (personally I think all three are headed towards the same 9th-12th place finish in the semi), she’s more likely to receive the jury votes for which fewer finalists will be competing. IF she gets there first. The song is solidly in Good But Not Great Territory as of the studio cut. Ireland will need more than that in order to reach the Grand Final. Love Me Like I Do must become a slay song through a powerful live performance, and whether Erica is capable of delivering that yet remains to be seen.”

Daniel – 5 – “Love My Like I Do starts off promising with the introduction of these spacey 80s electronic arrangements. Then 30 seconds in, it just meanders and remains in this lacklustre, run-of-the-mill synth pop territory. Further coupled by a very nasal style of singing, with a very limited range. I couldn’t tell you the verse from the chorus from the middle eight. Not wanting to imply that song writing should adhere to any pre-subscribed structures, but I do think the intention here was to create a feelgood fully-fledged pop song. One of which, as the lyrics suggest, is an empowering post break-up, pick-me-up, I’m-choosing-me-now kinda song. I don’t know, with a song so mediocre, lacking in any dynamism, I am not sure if Erica is truly over her relationship.”

David – 5 – “Power, force, rhythm, it has a lot of things that I like done right. It’s a solid pop song, but it might be a bit too demanding. A lot is going on, the sounds is quite high, and there’s also a lot of vocals involved. It might become too much and maybe a bit over the top, by trying to make itself stand out, but it’s cool as it is.”

James – 8 – “A cheesy synth-pop track with sultry vocals by an R&B diva and lyrics about masturbation make for the most unusual safe choice for Ireland in Eurosong history. The bridge slows down the momentum and the key change is a bit of a groaner, but otherwise “Love Me Like I Do” is the sort of boneheaded camp sexy song that could catch fire at Eurovision. But there again I said that about “That’s Rich,” so what do I know? Maybe the more deliberate touches to channel the ’80s will get the retro crowd on board, but there again I said that about Fyr og Flamme, so what do I know? Anyway, my thoughts on its prospects aside, I find it to be a fun little gem.”

Tyler – 6 – “While I’m not blown away by the song “Love Me Like I Do”, I’m sure I’ll be blown away by Erica-Cody’s vocals in the live performance. The song is mostly fine, though the inclusion of Irish in the bridge feels forced rather than organic. I can see this being a competent entry for Ireland, and it seems to be a frontrunner to be selected. I just worry that it won’t get enough televotes to escape the semi.”

William – 5.5 – “Love a good dance-y pop tribute to masturbation. Vocally, Erica is the singer I’m most impressed by in the line up. The song itself … Eh. We’ve heard this before. But it’s delivered well! And I can imagine this really working on stage with the right production choices. Gotta lose the key change, though. I’m not thrilled on first listen, but I could see this being a Gustaph-like grower. Maaaaaybe.”

Yehonatan – 6 – “Erica is bringing perhaps the most polish and complete package of the 6 acts. A very slick and radio friendly electro pop song, possibly too radio friendly. Ireland is highly criticize of their choices of safe songs in the last few years, however if they were to choose one again this year, ‘Love Me Like I Do’ is probably the best one in the selection to pick from.”

Total: 43

Average: 6.143

Isabella Kearney – “Let me be the fire”

Boris – 6 – “As a standalone entrant, Ireland have done much worse than Let me be the fire. The song is current and on trend enough to be potentially interesting live. In this selection though… outclassed by Erica-Cody on every front. It would be a step forward but not the lunge forwards that Ireland desperately need. Such is life. If only Isabella had the foresight to try out for Luxembourg or Latvia, both of whom should be grateful to even have a song on her level in their midst (but that’s a discussion for another round of reviews).”

Daniel – 6 – “A rather pleasant dance pop song, which treads on very familiar terrain. Again, rather safe, however there is something immediate about it. Its well-produced, respectable vocals and a hooky chorus, which in my delusion I swear I hear the backing of the Irish fiddle in its first rendition. It sees Ireland bringing something current to the table. Yet I remain unsure how much of a strong contender this could be.”

David – 4 – “Very basic and simple, not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I just in some way hope for more. The beat and tempo remain pretty much the same throughout the song, which loses me eventually. Vocally, it’s also very simple and lowkey, so for a rather up-beat song, I did hope for more. It’s a decent song, that just doesn’t go anywhere really.”

James – 6 – “A perfectly serviceable modern pop song, and probably the most Eurovision friendly entry at Eurosong. Lyrics wise, sounds like the protagonist is trying to be the inspiration to a moody and distant lover, but I don’t warmth from her voice or the track. The mood is a mismatch to the lyrics, which could mean that despite a decent hook in the chorus you’d have fans simply shrugging instead of singing along.”

Tyler – 4.5 – “”Let Me Be the Fire” isn’t an explosive entry to me. Isabella sounds fine, but there isn’t a spark to the song to make me a huge fan of it. It’s solidly fine, and that might change with the live performance. Who knows! The backing track sounds a bit too generic to me, but not inoffensive. Overall the song isn’t very memorable to me and I’m not sure if this would do well to stand out in a semi for qualification.”

William – 6.5 – “This is the most basic, replacement-level Eurovision track in the field, but that’s not inherently a bad thing. I know this song has an audience. I’m reasonably confident in the delegation’s ability to put together a good stage show for it. It has a vibe. There’s nothing surprising here. It’s safe. Safe hasn’t been working for Ireland, but I could see this placing OK at Eurovision … depending on what every other country is sending. If Ireland wants to play it safe, and they shouldn’t, this is the one to go for.”

Yehonatan – 5 – “There is nothing wrong I can point out about ‘Let Me Be the Fire’. And yet there’s nothing great I can think about either. It’s one of those songs that kind of go in one ear and right out the other, it’s pleasant when it is on and that’s about that. I’m not sure if it’s going to make an impact enough to be remembered by the viewers by the end of the night, and I doubt that Ireland, even with their safe choices, will pick this one in the end.”

Total: 38

Average: 5.426

JyellowL & Tonshin – “Judas”

Boris – 6 – “A genuine throwback to late 90s early 00s rap. Cute, but not quite my personal cup of tea. I’d say it’s bold for Ireland to let a Judas in their selection, but let’s be fair, JyellowL and Tonshin are not winning and that’s perfectly okay. They add VARIETY, spicing Eurosong up beyond its usual “five flavours of meh and one of mild like”, and that by itself is already huge.”

Daniel – 2 – “Sadly, another safe song. But I would say, Judas is beyond safe. So beyond safe that its unlistenable. There is absolutely nothing remarkable about this. Lyrically it’s trying to send a message with its conscientious rapping, but I got nothing! And you would think with the introduction of a female vocal in the chorus, things would pick up a little, but no. Its not a bad female vocal or a bad rap by JyellowL by any means, but it’s just all so dreary and uneventful, accompanied by such bland sounds. It makes you question the rather insipid musical tastes of its song’s creator. Surely with a record year of submissions, there were better songs than this?”

David – 2 – “I feel like there’s a VERY hard hidden religious message behind this song, and it just puts me off. Other than that, the melody is the same throughout the song, as in literally. Nothing really happens, and the rapping feels really out of touch, since there ain’t no beat in the tune. You don’t even need the melody to freestyle like this, so the song is just dried out. Respect to the homie for the freestyle though.”

James – 6 – “If you want a song about the black experience in Ireland and breaking free from limits imposed by society, “Judas” would be a decent entry point. That being said, Eurovision would be a terrible venue for a song like this. There’s the fandom’s usual aversion to rap, but “Judas” doesn’t contain the fireworks necessary to succeed in a contest. “Judas” tells a story, and after last year’s tone deaf fiasco Ireland brought in someone who could actually tell it with authenticity. JyellowL’s flow is great, and though the chorus does seem a little incongruous to the rap part, it’s an overall effective song. But considering the ludicrous noise other countries are threatening that make Finland’s Kaarija sound like Norah Jones, “Judas” will get lost in the cacophony.”

Tyler – 5.5 – “I like “Judas” a little bit! It makes sense though if this song flops in the national selection as rap doesn’t translate that well to Eurovision, and the mix of the rap with the chorus is not meshing well. Feels discordant and I could have done without the chorus and revised that with a rapping chorus. JyellowL seems promising though as a rapper and an artist though, so I’m excited to see his presentation at Eurosong.”

William – 5 – “This is maybe a little too … lowkey? I don’t know if this is a song that’s really gonna grab people, but I don’t mind it! He has a nice flow and her vocal interludes are smooth as butter. This could fall flat on stage just as easily as it could soar. There’s some simple magic dust in the mixture here that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I don’t know if I trust the delegation to bring it forward. I’m engaged, but I’m not compelled.”

Yehonatan – 2 – “Malik Harris proved a good point on the Eurovision stage. American rap verses with “emotional” lyrics and a pop chorus, isn’t the best choice for Eurovision. ‘Judas’ is exactly that, another English language rap that will most likely struggle to come across well live, and end up in a rather small niche. I’m personally not a part of that niche, and the song is losing me about right when it starts. However, it is a mainstream sound outside of Eurovision that might have enough interest in to pull through if more casual viewers vote.”

Total: 28.5

Average: 4.071

Next-in-Line – “Love Like Us”

Boris – 4 – “Next-in-Line are here to promote their new single “I’ve been waiting for this nightly table of fools that makes you beautiful”. We’ve heard this song countless of times and it’s hardly novel ok, sit down boomers. There’s no vision or identity beyond “probably lay dormant on a composer’s usb-drive for five years”. Thankfully, Next-in-Line are not in contention to win, so I hope they have a fun time promoting their single. Hopefully the publicity envigours their career enough so they need not try Eurosong again.”

Daniel – 2 – “A country known for its boybands, think Westlife, Boyzone, Jedward…. can we include U2? And like all these boybands, apart from U2, Next In Line have been conjured into existence by the foremost boyband muppet master himself, Louis Walsh. An ethnically diverse quintet which appear vocally competent, but what is on offer with Love Like Us is substandard. Below average and incredibly dated pop music, featuring flavourless production that I cannot recall a single thing post listening, let alone make out one voice from the five. Admittedly there’s an audience for this (not me) and maybe the current Eurosong voting system of unlimited public votes may help this get selected. Personally, I’m not convinced this would do anything at Eurovision.”

David – 2 – “Cute and sweet boyband song, but it’s just your standard song. It sounds like it tries to be as nice and well behaved as possible, so the song just doesn’t go near any edges. Doesn’t dare to have power, doesn’t dare to reach out, just plain and simple. It doesn’t take long before I’m just bored, and want it to be over.”

James – 2 – “As boy band songs go, this is canned, sounds expired, and is totally devoid of personality. Surely boy bands don’t sound like this any more, or has K-pop mania totally passed Ireland by? And for a boy band, each member pretty much sounds the same. I could, at best, pick out two unique voices (the verse singers) before they blended into the grating and repetitive “whoas!” and faux footstomps. I am also not sure who this would be for. The old ladies who are still looking for the next “lovely lad” after Danny O’Donnell moved his act to Florida?”

Tyler – 4.5 – “I’m not sure going with a boy band after last year will be a good move, but “Love Like Us” at least sounds like a One Direction B-side track so that could be successful? I’m not the target demographic for this song, so while this just isn’t my thing, I can see this being catchy and on the radio from years ago. It’s fine, but I’m not excited about it personally.”

William – 4 – “There’s nothing at all wrong with this. It’s slightly dated but catchy and radio friendly. It at least HAS a hook, which can’t be said for every song competing to represent Ireland this year. I’m mostly just confused as to why the delegation let this get into the selection. It is JUST sticky and slick enough to win a national final, but it will do nothing at Eurovision. And the delegation has to know that. I’m happy to listen to it, but sending this would be a mistake. Give this song to a solo singer and REALLY strip it back, make it more acoustic … I think you might have something. Not sure how this track is elevated by being performed by a group with all this production.”

Yehonatan – 5.5 – “Wild Youth were such a success so why not do it again? At least that is what I imagine the thought process behind this song must have been. And yet, these type of songs always manage to bring a smile on my face. It’s the early 2010s nostalgic sound of boyband nonsense, which is so full of joy, which makes it authentic and charming in a way. Nevertheless, if it ends up going to Eurovision, Ireland needs to work on that learning curve of theirs.”

Total: 24

Average: 3.429

And after our review of the six entries, ESC United’s nomination for Eurosong 2024 winner is Ailsha’s “Go Tobann.”

  1. Ailsha – “Go Tobann” – 44 (Average = 6.286)
  2. Erica-Cody – “Love Me Like I Do” – 43 (Average = 6.143)
  3. Bambi Thug – “Doomsday Blue” – 42 (Average = 6.000)
  4. Isabella Kearney – “Let Me Be the Fire” – 38 (Average = 5.426)
  5. JyellowL feat. Toshin – “Judas” – 28.5 (Average = 4.071)
  6. Next-In-Line – “Love Like Us” – 24 (Average = 3.429)

There is also a major takeaway from the scoring here: The Top 3 scored in the 6.000 point region, but there were high scores in there. They’re divisive, but they’re risky and some fans love them. Remember, people vote for the favorites, not their 3rd or 4th place.

RTE should be commended from bringing in a more interesting selection with some risky choices, not something Eurosong is usually known for. Time will tell if Ireland goes with a quirkier option, or if they go the safer, more radio friendly route. But with our Top 3, ESC United is recommending Ireland take a risk.

What do #YOU think of the Eurosong selection this year? And who do #YOU want to win and represent Ireland at Eurovision 2024? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum.

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