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.
Ireland has returned to a national selection for Eurovision 2022!
After a few years of non-qualification with internally selected songs, Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE) will tonight have six hopeful young Irish acts duke it out live on The Late Late Show.
Given RTE’s comments leading up to the release, and that recent use of The Late Late Show in Ireland didn’t bring much more luck either, thoughts of RTE trying to tank their Eurovision entry a la “My Lovely Horse” have been making the rounds on social media.
But after reviewing these six songs, some of us here at ESC United were pleasantly surprised by some entries, and it is in good faith that we seek to review them and recommend whom Ireland should send to Turin.
Giving our thoughts on Ireland’s selection of Eurovision hopefuls is our “expert” panel from across the globe. “Across the globe” is as good as it gets for this motley bunch, and here is our panel:
- William Carter: Our ESC United Texas correspondent who often brings us bluebonnets from the bowels of the Abyss.
- Tyler Griffiths: Our ESC United Alaska correspondent and the world’s foremost hakarl enthusiast.
- James Maude: A British expat living in California after jaunts in South Africa and Pittsburgh.
- Boris Meersman: ESC United’s resident Belgian correspondent. Insert One Euro, say “Cicciolina,” and watch the rants fly.
- David Popescu: ESC United’s resident Denmark correspondent of Romanian extract and random score generator.
- Roy Postema: ESC United’s resident Dutch correspondent and YouTube Reactioneer.
- Stefan Resimić: ESC United’s resident Serbian correspondent and reality television expert.
And in order of draw on tonight’s The Late Late Show, here are our thoughts on Ireland.
Patrick O’Sullivan – “One Night, One Kiss, One Promise”
Boris – 5 – “The Irish housewives believe this is their ticket out of the bottomless well RTÉ trapped them in? Is every person on this island f’cking deluded? ‘1N1K1P’ sounds like your dad *attempting* to be cool and on trend to impress his teenage daughters. It’s not a bad song in itself, but “Not Bad” isn’t in any way going to cut it unless the semi itself is REALLY bad.”
David – 4 – “I don’t know what it is, but I feel like this song leaves something empty inside of me. The song doesn’t feel complete, big on some of the notes, simple hook, some catchiness to it, and even with all that, it just seems too simple and insignificant. As in, I do enjoy it, but I also don’t care about it.”
James – 8.5 – “This song wins for “Most Irish” at a not particularly Irish selection. Patrick is one of those “lovely lad” singers that Ireland seems to produce on an assembly line (e.g. Danny o’Donnell), and this song matches that image to a tee. Now as Nicky Byrne is a co-writer and Byrne used to play for Leeds United, I have to mention as a disclaimer this gets an automatic partisan bump from me. In watching some of Patrick’s live performances, he does have a charm that could turn him into a dark horse contender for qualification, on the assumption RTE backs him with some great staging (not a safe assumption, however). Patrick should also get extra credit for the way he subtly brings out his Irish accent in his singing, and paired with this upbeat and light romantic story, this soft rock entry exemplifies why we fell in love with Ireland at Eurovision in the first place.”
Roy – 6 – “The way Patrick sings the main line of the song is everything in this song. In general his voice is really quite good. Unfortunately, the backing track sounds like a leftover Ed Sheeran tune that he sold for a few coins. Honestly though, if Patrick delivers amazing live vocals, why not? I love how the Irish accent shines through sometimes! One of my favourite accents in the world!”
Stefan – 5 – “I hate when I have to say it, but here it goes… I like it, but I don’t love it. It’s good, maybe even just ok. I am just missing something. It’s just one of those songs you’re ok listening to it, but you won’t come back to it until it just randomly pops out. And I had to notice it, that boys’ songs are quite worse compared to girls’ songs.”
Tyler – 6 – “Epitome of an inoffensive song, “One Night, One Kiss, One Promise” has interesting enough lyrics to make it stand out to me, but not nearly enough to get it out of the Semifinal nor make me want to listen to it again. It’s Fine. Feels outdated and seems like the idea is to make the song more epic by making the track louder, which also illustrates that it doesn’t sound quite original as well. If this represented, Ireland, I’m sure Patrick will have a good time in Turin.”
William – 6.5 – “You know what? This one has grown on me. It’s yet another synth-y ‘80s riff, yes, but Patrick’s theatrical vocal delivery adds an interesting wrinkle. It just makes this sound a little more unique. The song itself is a fun little composition, with an anthemic chorus that gives Patrick a lot of room to show off. I think I like him more than I really LOVE the song, but this is rock solid.”
Total: 41 points (Average = 5.857)
Janet Grogan – “Ashes of Yesterday”
Boris – 4 – “Out of the ashes, we’re gonna light up the room! Idk, there’s no much to say. It’ll finish last in the semi if it goes to ESC.”
David – 3 – “Promising voice actually, and I do like that it is taking you somewhere, but not that far sadly. A simple ballad, which has some sound and a bit of energy to it, but still very much your average typical ballad, which in the end leaves me bored and then the song is forgotten.”
James – 5 – “The clapping at the bridge is the most predictable moment in this average self-empowerment banger. I am frankly surprised a Southern choir was not thrown in, but thankfully someone in Janet’s camp showed some restraint with the cliches. Still quite a few remain, though. If you want to make phoenix rising-esque claims, it helps if you bring a song that has not been stuffed inside a Swedish mercenary’s suitcase for a while. Part of the problem with the X Factor and Idol winners is that the majority of them are afraid to step outside of the industry and take risks. They took a risk to put themselves out there to compete on a talent show, why not go the extra step and push something new and fresh that people have not heard before?”
Roy – 4.5 – “The post-chorus ‘drop’ in this song is as plain as you could ask for. Janet’s voice actually has quite some potential and besides that, it kind of far away reminds me a little bit of The Mamas from Melodifestivalen. Maybe they could look at revamping it if it ends up winning.”
Stefan – 10 – “O! M! G! This totally got me. Yes, a lot of people are saying it sounds like a song made for The Mamas, but I don’t mind it. This girl is serving us pure emotions. I was this close to let a tear down. Ireland needs to come back up to their old glory days. Will this song help them? I do hope so.”
Tyler – 6.5 – ““Ashes of Yesterday” is the sort of ballad anthem that while I can appreciate its message of not thinking about the past, it just doesn’t really ring anything new to me. Janet seems to have a good voice, but the song itself fails to deliver to me. There could be a fun moment in the staging leading into the final chorus though. But the song doesn’t do enough for me to consider it one of my favorites. It’s Fine.”
William – 3.5 – “A couple years ago, I might have really been into this. But the recent trend of pumping, like, the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir into the backing track of songs has gotten real old. It’s an easy to way to impersonate substance, without actually having any. Janet sounds great. The song has a nice, anthemic quality. It probably wouldn’t finish LAST in a Eurovision semi-final, so that’s something.”
Total: 36.5 points (Average = 5.214)
Brendan Murray – “Real Love”
Boris – 2 -“Oh look, Brendan Murray is back, this time with an immensely boring ‘sad boi’ break-up ballad. Go AWAYYYYYYY.”
David – 1 – “Awwwww… how sweet(…and pointless)! NEXT!”
James – 4 – “The sentiment of the song is about looking back on a hook-up and asking if that temporary love was a waste of time. Now I am not going to be like Boris and outright say this song is a waste of time, but is this really what you want to be thinking about at Eurovision? Great times and hook ups by the canal, pity they had a propensity for stabbing? Why’s he bothering us with us? Love is also not finite, so you don’t run out of it and have to tell your next one, “sorry, out of love, wasted it on the wrong ‘un.” I guess this trying to be reflective ballad will appeal to those who are eating KFC by themselves in their car overlooking an industrial estate in Cork, but it won’t appeal to many others. Another guaranteed non-qualifier for Murray if he makes it to Turin.”
Roy – 6.5 – “In such a mediocre selection, just selecting a piano-ballad might not be the worst thing. I know that Brendan has quite a polarising voice, but I think this might have the biggest %-chance of ensuring qualification for Ireland. That doesn’t mean that this is the song that could potentially reach the highest finishing position though.”
Stefan – 3 – “Am I the only one not to hear any difference comparing to his 2017 entry? Also I am not a fan of his voice. It just sounds too much like whining. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that the same mistake won’t be made twice.”
Tyler – 5.5 – “Brendan has the Eurovision experience already, so he’d be a good pick perhaps for someone unknown, and compared to 2017, “Real Love” is a better song. But this would still NQ lol let’s be real. “Real Love” is a more interesting ballad than “Dying to Try” and does some work to show off Brendan’s vocals (even if admittedly they are Not My Thing). I just don’t see a whole lot else about this song that makes it interesting or stand out enough to get voters. Maybe the jury could be swayed?”
William – 4 – “This studio version sounds a little … overproduced to me? There’s SOMETHING here, but it’s buried underneath seven pounds of string instruments and canned backing vocals. Brendan has a distinct vocal tone, and I think that could be an asset on the right song. This is closer to the sweet spot than “Dying to Try”, but there’s still too much of everything going on in this production. Strip it back to a more acoustic form, and make Brendan’s voice the main attraction. Then I think you’d have something.”
Total: 26 points (Average = 3.714)
Miles Graham – “Yeah, We’re Gonna Get Out of It”
Boris – 0 – “I f’cking hate Charity songs. Song tries to be inclusive to ~every possible demograph~ but ends up being so emotionally tonedeaf in its lyric vid they end up alienating everything. But don’t worry, if you took offense at the George Floyd Cartoon, it’s YOUR fault for not listening to the music. Except, the music is ALSO bad? “Yeah, we gonna get out of it” for all its attempted inclusivity is so fucking WHITE it’s about to teach a yoga class. Hard f’cking pass.”
David – 5 – “I’m getting a mixed touch here, something very classic-jazzy style with the piano and trumpet and a touch of an urban style as well, I think it’s an interesting mix. Something that tackles the challenges of society today and that promotes togetherhood, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen something like that in contention for the contest. Actually, a very cool and a bit old-school style over it, something that used to be very popular, this song is not strong enough to carry itself, but it’s easily something unusual and very different in these terms.”
James – 1 – “Just, no. This falls under well intentioned but diabolical. This is the song version of the guy in Portland, Oregon with the clipboard who won’t leave you alone, and whose cause seems even more murkier after being subjected to their rant. The music track is lazy, sounding like one of those AI tracks on YouTube called “All night Coffee Shop Smooth Jazz.””
Roy – 2 – “This melody had some catchiness and it had quite some potential to be used in a decent or good song. Unfortunately it was wasted on a whiney pandemic song that nobody is waiting for.”
Stefan – 2 – “Yes, the pandemic hit all of us hard, but I think this is just too much. This Is borderline political entry, but we all know that it didn’t stop people before (I’m looking at you Jamala). And no, I am not saying that this has potential to win. Far from that.”
Tyler – 3.5 – “The message being “Yeah, We’re Gonna Get Out of It” could be a good one, but it feels like it amounts to, “yeah there are outside stuff that could cause you stress, but what if you just didn’t? :)”. Goes back to the lyric of “paying rent and making payments” and I get war flashbacks to the musical of “RENT”. I don’t like the chorus at all with the backing vocals, and not even going to touch the use of George Floyd in the lyric video (that has since been blurred), but I just don’t think this song is going to get out of the hole it’s in.”
William – 4.5 – “I’m a little split on this one. Sonically, I’m into it. The low-key, jazz-y vibe, the percussive music track, Miles’ vocally charming delivery … it all works for me. But, as a message song, this is substantively pretty thin. You’re singing about big issues here, Miles. Not sure holding hands is gonna fix anything. This is (I think) well-intentioned, but very naïve, and it’s more casual than I’d really want from a song trying to ‘address’ what this song is trying to address.”
Total: 18 points (Average = 2.571)
Rachel Goode – “I’m Loving Me”
Boris – 7 – “Three Swedish AIs compose a simple demo of a 80s synth song and enter Poland’s selection without a vocalist. Thus, TVP recruits a random Wheel of Fortune host to sing their entry. One year later, the same three Swedish Ais compose another simple demo of a good 80s synth song, and enter Ireland’s selection without a vocalist. Thus, RTÉ recruit a random wedding singer from Instagram to sing their entry. It sounds like something straight out of a Eurovision Horror FanFic. The irony of it all is that ‘I’m loving me’ is actually quite a nice song (and a better composition melodically than ‘The Ride’ was imo) and can easily be revamped into a competent, fun synthpop song once it stops being treated like a demo. Will RTÉ do this? No f’cking way, Rachel is just there to pad out the numbers until Patrick wins (and NQs). And people wonder why Ireland is my least favourite country in Eurovision.”
David – 4 – “…aaaaaaaand here comes the 80’s. It’s a soft kind as well, it’s like it has that 80’s vibe, but not that 80’s energy. It’s one of those songs you’d hate to enjoy, but can’t help yourself eventually enjoying if you listen to it a few times, I guess there is some potential, but here first impression counts a lot, and it’s just not strong enough.”
James – 5 – “This song is an example of why Swedish mercenaries get a bad rap at Eurovision national selections. This would be a decent companion or B-side to Rafal’s “The Ride” (Poland’s non-qualifier for Eurovision 2021), which the “I’m Loving Me” crew wrote, as this sounds like it came from the same writing sessions. However, you can be forgiven for being cynical and annoyed that they kept this song in a suitcase, flew to Ireland and had someone else do vocals on it. This also has the effect of stifling any element of individuality that Rachel could bring, despite the song, ironically, being about loving herself. Can you really proclaim self-empowerment if the song you’re on reminds you of someone else? The song itself is fine, but it would be a huge mistake for Ireland to send this. Ireland would be hating itself if this won Eurosong 2022.”
Roy – 3 – “It feels like they just opened a website for stock backing tracks, used the filters ‘schlager’ and ‘disco-ey’ and then used the first track that popped up. Then they wrote some lyrics on top of that beat which will likely not really resonate with anyone. The guitar-solo is nice towards the ending, but this just doesn’t have enough spice or identity I guess.”
Stefan – 8.5 – “Yes it does sound so 2000s, but I will not hold it against it. Quite contrary I’m gonna admit it’s my guilty pleasure. Such a typical Swedish schlager. Yall can call it generic but I’m still gonna like it like it. And If it somehow wins this Friday I will put it on my playlist.”
Tyler – 7 – “The big “nope” for me in “I’m Loving Me” is how unoriginal the lyrics feel to me. Nothing truly stands out to me as original and couldn’t tell you any of the lyrics after listening to it. I do remember the 80s vibe and the electric guitar (which is a choice that was made!) and definitely makes it stand out to me, but also at the same time feels derivative of other songs that have come before it. I mildly like it, so maybe this score is on a curve, but eh!”
William – 3 – “There’s a certain … simplistic charm to this song. It has ZERO pretention to be anything more than it is. Unfortunately, what it is is a song that will finish 15th place in a Eurovision semi-final. This is the kind of ‘80s throwback electro pop we’ve been getting A LOT of recently, and it’s not one of the better ones. Fun, but forgettable.”
Total: 37.5 points (Average = 5.357)
Brooke Scullion – “That’s Rich”
Boris – 8 – “What is really sad about this selection is that the best song in it is the type of trashbop filler that would normally finish second in a Moldovan pre-selection. I quite like ‘That’s rich’, and I know that it can qualify with the right support, but you just know that – even if Brooke makes it past the Late Late Show’s grannypant audience, RTÉ will botch her staging, as they have been doing for the past few years. Rest in peace, my sweet trashprincess.”
David – 1 – “This is on the very slim edge of being obnoxious. This is what I expect to hear in the radio nowadays, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Very trashy choice of style lyrically, heavy synthesizer spam… actually, it IS obnoxious.”
James – 8 – “Fun, perky and trashy. This kind of pop rock could do well for Ireland if staged well and Brooke does seem like a charismatic young performer on the up and up, and I really hope if she doesn’t go to Turin, her appearance on The Late Late Show at least opens some doors for her.”
Roy – 7.5 – “Okay, I will judge this for the studio cut. Look, this is very streamable, has a modern touch and could is easy to listen to. However, I am really scared for this live-performance. A song like this can often feel very flat and empty when performed live since the vocals aren’t perfectly blended in. This score is definitely more based on me trying to go out from the positive scenario here. At least her approach to the contest is good, refreshing and RTÉ could really learn a lesson or 2 from that!”
Stefan – 9 – “Let’s be honest. If Rita Ora or Dua Lipa sang this it would be a smashing hit all over the world. I don’t want to say Eurovision is not worthy of this song, because damn right it is, but I am sorry to say and to feel like it just won’t get the deserved attention. All in all a fresh and pleasant surprise.”
Tyler – 7.5 – “Easily my top pick for Ireland, even if I think the music itself is not too special and there aren’t any vocal moments that really stand out to me. It will all come down to the performance and if it’s fun enough to make people vote for it. “That’s Rich” feels middle class at best, and I want it to become opulent to the point of garishness. Go over the top with this song, and maybe. MAYBE. Ireland will have a chance at qualifying because of how much it stands out. The juries will tank this though so, enter at your own peril.”
William – 7 – “I mean, this is clearly the choice for Ireland. I have some … reservations about how this will perform live, but, as a studio track, it works. The song has attitude for days, and Brooke is serving the kind of vocal you could hear on the radio TODAY. Ireland wouldn’t exactly be reinventing the wheel with this one, but Brooke would at least be giving the wheel a nice, glossy finish. Tl;dr? This is cute.”
Total: 48 points (Average = 6.857)
So after reviewing these six entries, it is clear we have a runaway leader.
Brooke Scullion, with an average of near 7 and only one negative review, is the victor of ESC United’s review of The Late Late Show. Given almost universal good reviews and Brooke being the last performer on the night, this should bode well for her if the average person in Ireland votes in the same pattern as the average writer at ESC United.
But since ESC United is a sack full of irate badgers who can’t agree on anything and whose track record on picking winners (see how poorly we did at Eesti Laul this year), we at least hope we’re right this one time and we have not gifted Brooke a poisoned chalice.
1.) Brooke Scullion – “That’s Rich” – 48 points (Average = 6.857)
2.) Patrick O’Sullivan – “One Night, One Kiss, One Promise” – 41 points (Average = 5.857)
3.) Rachel Goode – “I’m Loving Me” – 37.5 points (Average = 5.357)
4.) Janet Grogan – “Ashes of Yesterday” – 36.5 points (Average = 5.214)
5.) Brendan Murray – “Real Love” – 26 points (Average = 3.714)
6.) Miles Graham – “Yeah, We’re Gonna Get Out of It” – 18 points (Average = 2.571)
Do #YOU agree that Brooke Scullion should represent Ireland at Eurovision 2022? Or is one of the other five the ideal representative for #YOU? Let us know in the comments below, on social media, or in our forum and/or Discord.