Welcome back to our coverage of Junior Eurovision Éire, Ireland’s national selection show for Junior Eurovision. This week marked the second episode of the six part series, as we get ever closer to discovering who will fly the flag for Ireland in Armenia this December.
As a refresher, the show works as follows: each singer must perform an Irish-language cover of a song of their choice for the judges. The judges then award an amount of “stars” out of 10. The performer with the most stars immediately 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 about four week’s 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 features a guest judge from Eurovision history. This week’s guest was none other than Ryan O’Shaughnessy, known to Eurovision fans for representing Ireland in 2018 with Together. O’Shaughnessy came 16th at the Grand Final in Lisbon, achieving Ireland’s best result at the contest in the last ten years. He also has a history with Junior Eurovision, having made a cameo appearance in the music video for 2018’s Junior entrant Taylor Hynes!
He joined permanent judges Niamh Ní Chróinín and Chris Greene.
The show kicked off with the introduction of the first entrant of the night, Marley-Peig Leonard. She sang a lovely rendition of Birdy’s Skinny Love, which wowed the judging panel. Greene noted that the song lacked many instruments, leaving Marley to impressively do all the work. O’Shaughnessy added that his Eurovision experience taught him the importance of performing toward a camera, which he felt that Marley was very adept at. Overall, Marley was awarded 25 stars.
Next up was Callum Scanlan, performing The Script’s The Man Who Can’t Be Moved. Like O’Shaughnessy’s praise of Marley’s performance, Ní Chróinín highlighted Callum’s ability to perform, noting that he was not afraid of the cameras. Greene praised Callum’s strong voice and presence, while O’Shaughnessy complimented his “very professional” vibrato. Callum received 22 stars for his performance.
Our third performer was Amber Dawes, with her cover of Lost Without You by Freya Ridings. Amber immediately stunned with her unique voice, earning praise from O’Shaughnassy and Greene for its power and maturity. O’Shaughnessy and Greene also agreed that Amber was able to convey a clear connection to the song and its lyrics, adding to the impact of her performance. Ní Chróinín commented that Amber’s pace and tuning were perfect. All in all, the judging panel awarded Amber a phenomenal 27 stars.
Following a quick commercial break, we met Éinín Duggan, who sang Grace by Lewis Capaldi. O’Shaughnessy noted the difficulty involved in singing that song, remarking that Éinín was able to sing it with ease. Greene and Ní Chróinín both complimented Éinín’s excellent voice. Éinín achieved a score of 23 stars.
Lara Cimic was up next, performing Dancing With a Stranger by Sam Smith. O’Shaughnessy complimented Lara’s range, saying that it would stand out on a Eurovision stage. Ní Chróinín enjoyed Lara’s energy and passion, while Greene commended her voice. Lara received 20 stars.
Finally, it was Evan Coogan’s time to take up the microphone. He performed Take My Hand by Picture This, receiving praise from Greene and O’Shaughnessy for his energy and clearly enjoying himself on stage. Evan received 19 stars.
Amber Dawes, with her cover of Lost Without You by Freya Ridings, progresses to the Semi-Final of Junior Eurovision Éire after achieving the highest score in Heat Two.
Marley-Peig Leonard also goes through, after her performance of Birdy’s Skinny Love was chosen by the judges in the sing-off.
They will join last week’s qualifiers Lara Gleeson and Claire Keeley.
Junior Eurovision Éire continues next Sunday at 20:30 GMT on Irish-language channel TG4, and will run every week for the next four weeks until the final. It appears that the show is not geo-blocked, so all are welcome to watch!