Ireland became the next nation to select their Eurovision entrant last night. There was a time of course when Ireland could send any old thing to the competition and it would do well. However, in the past ten years, they haven’t fared as well, with their form being patchy at best. How then, this year, they could do with being in the grand final once more and restoring some pride. Something tells me they’ll be up against it though…
Molly Sterling wasn’t even alive when Ireland last won Eurovision (in 1996). The pretty, blonde 16-year-old will head to Vienna in May with the song ‘Playing With Numbers’, a simple, introspective, stripped-back ballad. Back in the day, the Irish were kings of ballads, but this is the first such song like this they’ve sent since 2010. Molly faced stiff competition from another ballad written by Charlie McGettigan (winner for Ireland in ’94), a slice of Swedish pop (yes, Erika Selin is Swedish), Nikki Kavanagh back for another attempt at representing her nation, and a very poor, disappointing entry by Alex Saint. When the results came in, Molly was the third-favourite with the juries (Limerick liked, Sligo not as much), but the most-liked entry by the public. Only four points separated her and Kat Mahon, who ended up in a surprising second place. Erika’s bouncy ‘Break Me Up’ failed to impress many, Nikki suffered a mare and slipped into fourth, while Alex Saint was rock-bottom, just like everybody predicted.
As for ‘Playing With Numbers’, it’s a nice piano tune, but there is nothing truly stand-out about it. One might say it’s typically Irish – playing it safe with a slow number. No offence to Molly, but she’s perhaps not the best live singer, and being so young, nerves might hit her hard in Austria. On the plus side, the song could be far worse, and this entry is far from shabby. While I believe the juries from across Europe might respond to it just enough to see it head to the Saturday final, the public will most likely forget all about it, especially if it performs first or second in the second-semi. Something will need to happen to make it stick in fans’ heads.
Similar to many of the songs we know so far, the verses fail to live long in the memory, but the chorus saves the day, if only a little. I predict the performance/staging in Vienna will be almost identical to that of last night during The Late Late Show. Maybe it’s just too… boring? But that’s just one guy’s opinion! Let us know what you think down below!