Preview: Ireland – Eurosong 2011 National Final

When:

Friday, Feburary 11

Storyline(s):

  • Can Nikki Kavanagh save us from Jedward?

Nikki Kavanagh will be singing a song written by a team of experienced Eurovision songwriters, including the songwriter who gave us “It’s For You” (Ireland 2010) and “Et Cetera” (Ireland 2009). A seasoned backup singer, it’s finally her turn at the lead mike. We weep just thinking of the Sheryl Crow comparisons, but from what limited clips we have heard on the Eurosong 2011 – the Players documentary that aired on RTE last weekend, her song could have promise.

Jedward, a novelty act of twin brothers, is already known, nay, shall we say notorious, in Ireland and the UK.  Their look and sound is nod to Vanilla Ice, a comparison they happily embrace.  They proved during X Factor they can bring in the votes, so one suspects they can do the same in Eurosong. Last week a 30-second clip of Jedward’s song, “Lipstick,” leaked on Amazon.co.uk. The track is highly produced, upbeat, and slick.  Think Britney Spears’ “Womanizer.”

As EuroLemur is in the United States and removed from the Jedward hate, we await the selection show to draw our own conclusions.  From the clip, their recorded song doesn’t seem so very awful.  We do wonder if viewers outside the British Isles would get their act.

The Irish national organizers appear to be worried about Jedward too. “In response to the leaked clip,” the organizers decided last week to weight up the jury vote.  The new selection criteria are 67% jury/33% public vote.

  • In how many ways will Eurosong 2011 emulate Father Ted?

If you’re remotely interested in any of this stuff and haven’t seen the “Song for Europe” episode of Father Ted yet, go get the disc on Netflix, ask a friend, track snippets down on YouTube, just go track it down.

This year’s life-imitates-art moment appears to be courtesy of the Vard Sisters, whose utterly sincere entry “Send Me an Angel” (no relation to other less sincere, non-Eurovision tunes from Real Life or the Scorpions) was written and mentored by Liam Lawton, a priest with a song in his heart.  Visions of the Rose of Tralee and “My Lovely Horse” will be dancing in our heads.

UPDATED 10 FEBRUARY 2011

RTE introduced the Eurosong entries on Radio 1 today.  If Ireland has been criticized in years past for sending old-fashioned entries, they have an opportunity to remedy that this year.  Definitely a sign that the mentor program they instituted this year is working.

Nikki Kavanagh’s song is extremely current, and the recorded version is pretty strong.  “Falling” is R&B pop, not unlike last year’s Safura’s “Drip Drop” (Azerbaijan 2010). RTE organizers have put her last in the running order — it really seems like they are giving her every chance.  We are optimistic, but she needs to bring it on Friday.

Not the best audio, but you can get the idea of Jedward’s song below. At least you can’t flaw for being old fashioned. Like I said earlier, it’s straight up Britney Spears.  Jedward’s success or failure will depend on delivering a theatrical performance and their loyal fan base showing up for them.  I must say, the recorded version feels pretty boring after listening to it more than twice.

I listened to the full Vard Sisters song while eating lunch. I had trouble keeping my food down.

Because we’re providing a service here, the other entries are “Shine On” and “Talking with Jennifer.” “Shine on,” evs.  “Talking with Jennifer” is amiable adult contemporary pop, for the Irish juror that wants something other than bubblegum.  John Mayer/Jason Mraz fans will probably like it.