Welcome back! Last night marked the fourth episode of Junior Eurovision Éire, as the show moves ever closer to choosing Ireland’s Junior Eurovision 2022 representative. We’re now firmly over the halfway mark — this was the fourth show of six, and the last heat. So, how did it go?
Each week, the show has platformed six promising talents, who must perform an Irish-language version of a song of their choice. A panel of three judges — two permanent (Niamh Ní Chróinín and Chris Greene) and one rotating guest judge — score the performances with an amount of “stars” out of 10. The performer with the most stars automatically qualifies for the next stage of the competition, while the two next best must compete in a sing-off to determine a second qualifier.
In the series finale in two weeks’ time, a public vote will be introduced for the first time in order to decide the winner. Once a representative has been chosen, a song for Junior Eurovision will subsequently be written specially for them.
Each week, the show features a guest judge from Irish Eurovision history. This week, Ní Chróinín and Greene were joined by none other than Linda Martin, who gave Ireland their fourth win in 1992 with Why Me? as well as coming second with Terminal 3 in 1984. Martin remarked that being invited to judge was an honour, as it is “a privilege to listen to young voices.”
This week, we opened with Phoebe McIvor, singing Hold Me While You Wait by Lewis Capaldi. Phoebe drew praise from Martin and Greene for her excellent stage presence, with Martin complimenting her ability to show emotions in her facial expressions. Martin also praised her pitching and control over her breathing. Phoebe recieved 26 stars for her performance.
Next up was Sophie Lennon, who took the show by storm. Her name will be familiar to those who tuned in last year — this is her second time on Junior Eurovision Éire, having made last year’s final. Indeed, she achieved the coveted feat of being awarded the full 30 stars out of 30 by the judges! This time, she is performing Paloma Faith’s New York, to great success. Martin “loved” the performance, saying that Sophie “has star quality in bucket loads.” Both Martin and Greene praised the power and control present in Sophie’s vocal. Ní Chróinín asked her not to forget Junior Eurovision Éire when she becomes a star; and indeed, Sophie is set to play the lead role in ‘Marine and the Kaleidoscope’ on London’s West End. Just like last year, Sophie achieved a perfect score of 30 stars!
Sophie Lennon tríd go dtí an babhta leathcheannais ✨
— TG4TV 🕯️ (@TG4TV) October 9, 2022
Third to the stage was Holly-May Vaughn, performing Sam Smith’s Stay With Me. Greene called the performance “brilliant,” and remarked upon the high standard of the show. Martin “really enjoyed it,” adding that it was impressive how Holly-May hit every challenging note. Ní Chróinín called her “the complete package,” with great tone, a great voice, and great style. Holly-Mae was awarded 23 stars.
Once a quick commercial break was out of the way, we returned to see Lauren Wallace take to the stage. She sang a lovely cover of Gavin James’ Always. Greene and Ní Chróinín commended her powerful and controlled voice. Martin also had praise, saying that Lauren had “a lovely persona and wonderful dynamics in [her] voice,” and that people would gravitate towards her. Lauren achieved 25 stars.
Next, it was time for Gillian Brennan, covering Hozier’s Take Me To Church. Gillian’s voice impressed the judges — Ní Chróinín, who has experience with managing the Irish-language radio station Raidió Rí-Rá, said that Gillian’s voice would not be out of place on the radio. Martin called her voice “beautiful,” while Greene called it “one of the best voices heard in this competition.” Gillian was awarded 24 stars.
The final performer of the night was Gavin Gilligan, with Lewis Capaldi’s Bruises. Ní Chróinín applauded Gavin’s star potential, saying that people would want to stop him in the street. Martin called the performance “fabulous,” and said she hopes to see Gavin continuing to sing in the future. Gavin received 22 stars from the judges.
With her incredible score of 30 out of 30 stars, Sophie Lennon won this heat with her cover of Paloma Faith’s New York. She progresses through to next week’s semi-final.
Phoebe McIvor also goes through to next week — her performance of Lewis Capaldi’s Hold Me While You Wait was chosen by the judges in the sing-off.
This means that the line-up for next week’s all important Semi-Final is now set:
- Lara Gleeson
- Claire Keeley
- Amber Dawes
- Marley-Peig Leonard
- Niamh Noade
- Caillín Joe McDonald
- Sophie Lennon
- Phoebe McIvor
Who will progress to the Final on the 23rd of October? You can tune in next Sunday at 20:30 GMT on TG4 to find out — the broadcast is not geo-blocked, so all are welcome to watch. We will of course also have the updates here, so stay tuned as Ireland gets ever closer to choosing its ambassador for Yerevan 2022!