Ireland have, like the UK, suffered a fall from grace and long period of decline after once being the superpower of Eurovision before 2000. Green shoots have occasionally appeared only to have been snuffed out swiftly, but with the UK seeming to have turned a corner, can Ireland also turn things around with indie rock band Wild Youth?
Wild Youth won the national final for Ireland this year, clear winners in the special edition of The Late Late Show. They aren’t new to the music business, having formed in 2016, releasing several singles and a mini-album in Ireland and have supported both Lewis Capaldi and Westlife on tour.
It’s fair to say the Irish final came in for a lot of criticism, and I think there are plenty of others who have articulated some of the issues and hurdles and mindset that needs to be overcome for Ireland to be successful at Eurovision again. I’m afraid the general consensus is that “We Are One” is not the song to mark the renaissance and I am inclined to agree.
The indie rock band has gone distinctly middle-of-the-road indie(ish) pop with lyrics and music you are almost certain you think you’ve heard before. There is a Swedish writer lurking on the the songwriting team, and I think you can tell. He’s got a lot of big credits to his name, including several Westlife hits and even Britney Spears but most date from the 2000s and I think the result tells here. He was also a co-writer of Ireland’s 2017 entry, “Dying to Try”, which was not a great success…
I don’t actively dislike this, and they are throwing themselves into the pre-party circuit and giving it their all (and certainly don’t merit hate directed at them) but they have a huge uphill battle to qualify. Ireland have received scant televote points from the group of voting countries in semi-final 1 in the last seven years – certainly no voting allies at all. The positives are that Wild Youth have been given a decent place in the running order (considering they are in the first half) and I think there is a demographic that might enjoy this. I just don’t think it will be enough.
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
First entered: 1965
Appearances (excluding this year): 55
Best result: Winner 1970, 1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996
Last year’s result: 15th in semi-final (did not qualify)