Ireland are gearing up to choose between the five acts vying to be chosen as the Eurovision representative for 2015’s contest on Friday night. Ahead of the Late Late Show Special on RTE we take a look at each act, giving our verdict and let you know what you can expect.
On paper Nikki Kavanagh has all the credentials to get the job done. She has sang on the Eurovision stage before as a backing singer for Niamh Kavanagh, has competed in Eurosong as a lead artist with her song ‘Falling’ in 2011, coming in second place to Jedward and this year her song ‘Memories’ has been an early favourite ever since the five acts premiered at the beginning of February. However there is just something that I can’t quite put my finger on that means I can’t warm to this song. I understand that Nikki has a great voice but it verges on wailing and screaming in this song especially at the chorus. I feel like the song sounds dated and the lyrics are quite cliché with talks of a prince charming and lyrics about writing a song about writing a song, very Natasha Beddingfield circa 2005. I feel as well as the song has committed the biggest crime of all at Eurovision in that it is instantly forgettable. It doesn’t stand out and therefore I feel that it won’t get any votes if it gets chosen. Nikki sings ‘Can somebody turn it off? I don’t want to hear it! I’ve had enough!’ My sentiments exactly.
Second song and a second ballad. This song seems to be about a very bad accountant (or at least half evokes that as a metaphor) when Molly states that she has been playing with the numbers, but that she doesn’t know what it means. Okay…moving on…The singer is very capable and provides a great vocal and although the odds of this song winning has shortened in the last few days, putting her at second favourite behind Nikki Kavanagh, I can’t imagine how they could effectively stage the song to make it interesting and add the great performance factor that Eurovision needs.
Third song and yet another ballad. This one however sees me break the rule I have of having a staunch loathing for ballads at Eurovision. The vocal is very Dana-esque and evokes the Irish Eurovision sound of old, in a good way, with piano and guitar accompanying the nice, pure vocal from Mahon. Initially the lyrics of the song drove me crazy- ‘Has anybody got a should I could cry?’ This makes no sense! Where is the preposition?! IT NEEDS ‘ON’ TO MAKE SENSE! However the more I listen to the song, the more I like it, and there is a lot to be said for a grower in Eurovision. If super fans are listening to the song on repeat day in, day out, then you’re going to want something with some longevity that won’t wear thin too soon. Eurovision is a marathon, not a sprint and I think ‘Anybody Got a Shoulder?’ has the stamina to do well. Add into the mix that it was written by Eurovision veteran Charlie McGettigan and you’d think that Ireland could be on to something here.
Time for a change in tempo and a break from the dreary ballads (Molly and Nikki) with Swedish born singer Erika Selin and her infectious pop song ‘Break Me Up’. The song reiterates just how good the Swedes are at writing a pop song with whistles, poppy beat, an epic chorus with a good message that is uplifting but not corny or preachy and of course the obligatory key change towards the end of the song. But herein lies the problem with this entry, it is Swedish. Ireland as we all know hold the record for most wins at Eurovision with 7. The country that comes closest to this record is Sweden and therefore if Ireland were to win with a Swedish entry, I don’t think it would be hailed as a win for Ireland and this is something they would never live down. Having said that this song is easily my favourite and has been ever since the five songs were first released. At least if Erika doesn’t win, she’ll bounce right back, no doubt.
Finally we turn our attention to Zambian-born and Belfast-based rapper and singer Alex Saint and his band the MJs, who undeservedly have been somewhat ignored and have garnered very little attention in comparison to the other contenders. I think the song is a good solid event with a smooth R n B chorus. It is something different for Eurovision and although Eurovision has a high propensity to spurn rap songs, this song isn’t novelty rap and isn’t unlike songs that are topping the charts all over Europe at the minute. I do however expect that this song will not go down well with the Late Late Show audience and will most likely finish bottom of the pile on Friday night.
Don’t forget you can catch the Ireland national selection on RTE Friday 27th February from 8.35pm CET and you can listen to the five songs and vote for your favourite in our poll here.