Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of Junior Eurovision Éire, Ireland’s national selection show for Junior Eurovision. Last night, the third episode of the six-part series aired on TG4, introducing us to even more talented young singers aiming to represent Ireland in Yerevan this December.
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 three 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 guest judge slot is filled by a familiar face from Irish Eurovision history — and this week, it was time for Paul Harrington, one half of the Rock and Roll Kids who, along with Charlie McGettigan, took home the Eurovision crown in 1994. When asked about his favourite Eurovision memory, Harrington recalled that he and McGettigan had no expectations for a win given that Ireland had already won twice in a row — therefore, their victory was a surprising “bonus” to a lovely experience.
This week’s opener was Caillín Joe McDonald, singing Shotgun by George Ezra. Caillín Joe impressed the judges with his fun and energetic performance, with all three judges praising his ability to dance and sing well simultaneously. Ní Chróinín complimented his natural energy and passion; Greene and Harrington agreed, remarking that it was difficult to move while keeping one’s breathing in check. Caillín Joe recieved 26 stars from the judges.
Second to the stage was Teagan Nolan, performing a lovely cover of Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi. Greene and Harrington concurred that Teagan’s vocals were excellent; Harrington noted that Teagan had great range and a lot of control over her voice. In total, Teagan was given 24 stars.
Next was Niamh Noade, with a stunning version of Luan Parle’s Lonely World. Niamh played a harp beautifully in her performance — and certainly, she struck a chord with the judging panel. Harrington pointed out that the harp is the national emblem of Ireland, and that therefore Niamh would be an excellent ambassador. Ní Chróinín agreed, saying that as “we are promoting Ireland, our language and instruments,” Niamh’s approach was perfect. Harrington also praised Niamh’s performance as being beautiful in its simplicity. When all the stars were added up, the judges awarded Niamh a massive 28 stars.
After a quick break, it was time for Savannah Phoenix-Munroe, who sang Lizzo’s Good as Hell. Harrington complemented Savannah for owning the stage and the song, and for “hitting every beat.” Greene called Savannah a certain “pop star,” while Ní Chróinín enjoyed her energy. Savannah received 23 stars.
Next we met Eva O’Farrell, with Freya Ridings’ Castles. Ní Chróinín remarked upon her “big and powerful” voice. Harrington agreed, saying that her voice was both powerful and very pleasant to listen to. Chris Greene complimented her as being better than Niall Horan, who is from the same town! Eva was awarded 22 stars.
Finally, Lucy Heffernan came to the stage, covering Kodaline’s Follow Your Fire. Harrington admired her “very cool, clean, clear voice,” which Ní Chróinín agreed with. Greene was also impressed by how clearly Lucy was enjoying performing, exhibiting great confidence. Lucy was given 22 stars from the judges.
Niamh Noade, with her excellent cover of Luan Parle’s Lonely World, won this heat and goes through to the Semi-Final of Junior Eurovision Éire.
Caillín Joe McDonald also progresses to the Semi-Final with Shotgun by George Ezra, having been chosen by the judges in the sing-off.
They will join Heat One qualifiers Lara Gleeson and Claire Keeley, and Heat Two qualifiers Amber Dawes and Marley-Peig Leonard.
Junior Eurovision Éire continues next Sunday at 20:30 GMT on TG4, and will run every week for the next three weeks until the final. The show is not geo-blocked, so all are welcome to watch!