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Monday, 28 April 2014 17:06

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Ireland

It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #9, we catch up with Ireland (RTE) who will be represented by Canlinn ft. Kasey with the song Heartbeat co-written by Hazel Kaneswaran, Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren and Patrizia Helander.

Kasey Smith is 23 years old and hails from the northside of Dublin. She is from a known family of singers going back to her grandfather who was a showband singer. She rose to fame with the BT Music Award nominated girlband Wonderland in 2010 under the tutelage of Louis Walsh and Westlife’s Kian Egan. After Wonderland, Kasey travelled to Nashville, Tennessee where she focused on her solo career, writing songs and getting as much on-stage experience as possible in the city’s vibrant music scene. Upon her return to Ireland, Kasey competed in the 2013 Eurosong competition where she finished third place with the song Kiss Me. In the 2014 contest, Kasey went one better, teaming up with traditional Irish music act Can-linn and winning the right to represent Ireland at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen.

Heartbeat is a passionate song ‘that shows why we are recognised globally as makers of fine music’ says Kasey’s mentor Hazel Kaneswaran. The song was co-written by Hazel, who sang for Dove in 1996 and has since presented numerous TV shows and performed around Ireland; Jonas Gladnikoff, who wrote two successful Irish Eurovision entries, Et Cetera in 2009 and It’s For You by former winner,Niamh Kavanagh, in 2010; Rasmus Palmgren, writer of the current Swedish Idol winning song, and Patrizia Helander, Swedish Idol 2007 finalist and experimental artist.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9CC0sjTVgY

Ireland is known to be the darling of the Eurovision Song Contest, having been triumphant on no less than seven occasions, the last one being back in 1996 when Eimear Quinn performed The Voice which in turn has no co-relation to the current television series. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, Ireland has had mixed fortunes at the event, failing to qualify in 2005, 2008 and 2009 and having managed to make it through to the final for the past four consecutive years with acts such as Niamh Kavanagh, Jedward and Ryan Dolan. RTE is definitely banking on this act to continue their recent bout of qualification whilst hoping to improve on the result achieved in the final.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Greig Watts: I like the start and the vocal has grabbed me, so I am wondering where the song will take me. Is it going to be dance or heavy chorus??? I bit of a mix, and all there’s an irish fiddle or something in there too for extra value. I guess its one of the naturalist flowing songs so far (to my western ear), will this be a song that hasn’t got enough else to make an impact, if it was just a song contest it could do well, but not sure that’s the case. Like the song though

Joseph Zammit: Oh Ireland. Poor poor Ireland. The emerald isle with the beautiful songs, whatever happened to you? You used to produce beautiful ballads, strong songs, and smile inducing melodies. And now you give us this. The equivalent of what a fading pop star would write and produce to have one final shot at a hit for the clubs to play but fails miserably. 

But please dear reader, do not mistake this song as any Euro-dance track, oh no no. Because even though they do not fit with the rest of the song, she decides to throw in a fiddle and a flute  to remind us that deep down she is still Irish. All she needed to do was bring in a leprechaun to do a rap bit in the bridge. Apart from that it has a generic yet catchy chorus in the middle that unfortunately, makes it very easy for it to get stuck in your head.

Sharon Vaughn: This story holds the track and her performance is strong yet not over-done. The song is current yet remains true to its Celtic roots.

John Scott: Interesting instrumentation for the song. The chorus is good, but I liked some of the other folky songs better.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc14AzCXUgQ

Published in Editorials
Friday, 22 February 2013 21:18

Ireland: Eurosong 2013 - LIVE

During the nineties, Ireland was the envy of several countries which competed in the Eurovision Song Contest having managed to win on four out of ten occasions, but their victory achieved by Eimear Quinn and her entry The Voice in 1996 would remain their last up to this point. For the past three years, the country has been quite successful, noting that Jedward and Niamh Kavanagh has managed to get through the semi-final hurdle with the former even managing a top ten position. Tonight, following two attempts by the brotherly duo, a brand new artist is chosen to fly the flag for Ireland, one which will either represent pop, ethnic or dance.

RTÉ will be hosting the national final known as Eurosong 2013 through The Late Late Show as has been the case for quite some time. In 2011, the broadcaster sought to maximise their respective resources by virtue of invited known professionals in the music industry to select the artists and the songs they would present in the selection themselves. This year, there was a lot of investment in each entry noting that official videos were shot following the internal selection process of the professional personnel including; Mairead Farrell, Shay Healy, Mark McCabe, Niall Mooney, and Stuart O'Connor. The host for the selection this eveing will be Ryan Turbidy and there are a number of guests set to take to the stage including 2006 Eurovision Song Contest winners; Lordi. Tune into the show through the official website.

A brief discussion is going on before they kick start their selection and it seems that Ireland has high hopes for this year's competition. They believe that for them to win they have to have the best song in that genre and whoever wants to win has to act like they want to win. One of the commentators was not really nice on commentating about the songs chosen thus far. He didn't say anything but indicated that the competition thus far is rather weak. Most Eurovision fans agree with him but there are three countries which are seen to have strong entries although they might not challenge for victory - this includes our own entry Tomorrow.  Will Ireland find the magical forumla that got them so many wins in the ninties? 

Running Order

Inchequin – Son Kez / The Last Time

Can't really get what this song is about. The performers seem to come from all over Europe, including Turkey which won't be taking part in the selection. The staging is Irish, the music has some great elements when the instrumental parts get on but when they start singing is like they blabbing through this ethnic dance number. The six members look odd together and I can't get this Turkish Irish fusion. They commentators are praising them and they get a good reaction from the audience but I can't see what were they thinking. One said it's got something! I think they might be slightly high tonight and their expectations are a bit too much if this is anything to go with. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3FZmMLlqXI

Aimee Fitzpatrick – Crashing Down

The birthday girl is accompanied on stage by the 1994 winner Paul Harrington along with three backing vocalists. Her vocal rendition is perfect. Simplicity is the key in this number and it seems to work wonders. The staging is beautiful and considering that this is Ireland, few would be surprised if this triumphs tonight. It actually miles better than the previous number although the song itself seems to lack that special something but it might possibly be the best chance Ireland had this year. The soft song has touching lyrics and with the number of uptempo songs being chosen and with a good draw this might actually do well at the Eurovision. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk8rngioJ5k

Zoë Alexis Bohorquez – Fire

The third song comes from Zoe and her vocals along those with the backing sound a bit off. I guess that the studio really did not help make this performance better. The hand movements and some parts of the refrain were reminiscent of Kurt Calleja's 'This is the Night'. The song has a Eurovision feel to it and with a stronger performance it can easily do well. I don't think it set the room on fire though but the extra push from Niall Mooney who has great experience in the contest and the help by Donna McCaul who represented Ireland a while back can give this an extra edge but it needs loads of work to achieve a good result for Ireland. Decent. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKbVhUuaD4k

Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives

If Ireland think they are heading for a win with these songs, they are under an illusion. This started promising and has some good hooks to it but it lacks something. It sounds amateurish and needs a lot of work if it wins again. The good thing about this is the staging, the rest needs work and loads of it really. It follows along the same lines of a dance number, which we will hear loads of this genre in the upcoming edition of the contest. The vocals were not bad but they need work too. The commentators are definitely watching a different show to the rest of us - everything seems to be great with all the entries when this is clearly not the case and if this is everyone's 'A' game then unfortunately, Ireland is doomed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNQNdHV279w

Kasey – Kiss Me There

Final act for the evening and even though this is the last song, it feels like it was a very long night. From all the songs we have heard tonight, I guess this is actually the best one but the vocals again sound really weak. The fact that it is another dance song doesn't help and the performance looks somewhat dead. The performance and the vocals need work but I think if they are going for a song that made a slight impact it would be this or song two possibly but then again it looks outdated. Quite dire from Ireland! The nation that gave us some brilliant classics has lost all its plot. Freudian slip by the commentator 'Euro-trash'. He summed up most of the tonight's show it seems. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCtBzHOVx4U

Level playing field. Well we all know why. None of the songs really stands out tonight. This show is not doing any justice to the Irish selection. If they wanted a Eurovision winner, they could have scrapped the selection and started over. Maybe that would have worked. The voting lines are now open and the regional jury along with the public will decide the winner tonight. Well seeing the recap, there's only one way to go and that is song 2 I guess. Not that is anything special but it is good enough. Will they win with any of these? Definitely not. Will they reach a top ten? Highly unlikely. Will Ireland even make the through the semi-finals? If things don't take a drastic turn, unfortunately they might be staying there.

The show continues and after the so called 'experts' commented about the songs we get a recap of some of the songs competiting in the contest this year. It seems that the Maltese song was not interesting enough for the Irish to put it amongst the mix of their songs. They are still under the illusion that any of their songs can actually do the trick. Oh poor guys, they are so going to be let down. For the interval act, we have the 2006 Eurovision winners Lordi. Quite strange for Ireland to get a foreign act when they have so many different winners but a bit of change always helps especially to get one of the latest winners, if you consider the 2006 Eurovision winners amongst the latest winners. 

The jury awards the top place to Crashing Down with Only Love Survives in second place but it was a tight race with just a two point difference. The tele-vote awards the full points to Only Loves Survives and it pushes Crashing Down to second place. Ryan Dolan wins it and will represent Ireland in Malmo. 

 

Monday, 11 February 2013 18:05

Ireland: Major Stars Lending their Support

The 2013 edition of the Late Late Show Eurosong special will be taking place on Friday, 22nd February 2013 and will be hosted by Ryan Turbidy on RTE 1. This has been the setting for the national final for the past couple of years, excluding the 2008 process which took place in a more formal environment hosted within The Helix, which nows plays as the venue for The Voice of Ireland. John and Edwards, more commonly known as Jedward have represented Ireland for the past two years, with Lipstick and Waterline, qualifying to the final and achieving an eighth and twentieth place respectively. The profile of the competition in Ireland is on the rise and major stars in the industry have already started to voice their support from the competing artists.

British X Factor Judge, Louis Walsh who is the manager of Ronan Keating and Boyzone whilst having headed the careers of Girls Aloud, Samantha Mumba and Westlife, has publicly gone onto support Kasey with the track Kiss Me There. This is not a total surprise considering that Kasey was one of the vocalists in the band Wonderland managed by the aforementioned Louis Walsh in unison with Kian Egan, former member of Westlife who is now a mentor of The Voice of Ireland. In the past two years, Louis Walsh, manager of the group Jedward was very much outspoken about the Eurovision Song Contest and it is quite intriguing to see that his involvement from the days of Johnny Logan and Linda Martin hasn't really dwindled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1VBfve9PNA

Michelle Heaton, one of the performers within the successful British group, Liberty X has also spoken out about the Irish Eurosong special, in favour of none other than Zoe Alexis Bohorquez who will be taking part with the track Fire co-written between Niall Mooney, Lauren White and Willie Weeks. The song, which is being said to be one of the favourites has attracted the support of the star, as she currently participants in the show known as The Big Reunion airing on ITV2 where the nineties girlbands and boybands have come together for another hurrah so to speak. With experienced, Niall Mooney behind her, Zoe might be a shoe in for the position, and people will be able to buy the song on iTunes soon enough. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest.

Source: Eurovision Ireland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKbVhUuaD4k

Thursday, 07 February 2013 17:00

Ireland: Five Entries Presented to the Public

In a press release published yesterday by RTÉ, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest, the five acts competing to represent the nation were made knowledgable to the public but nevertheless, the entries were presented earlier this afternoon on The Mooney Show which airs on RTÉ Radio 1. The most intriguing element to the tracks is that only one stands out from the rest and the reason being that it is a ballad, rather than a pop/dance track, an element which is found in three of the five entries presented.

For the past two years, Ireland have been represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by the group Jedward managed by Louis Walsh and it seems that the manager might have a slight involvement this year considering that Kasey was part of the girlband Wonderland which was managed by Louis Walsh and Kim Egan of Westlife. Nevertheless, the focus of the selection seems to be varied and whilst the people might be in general consensus that Ireland will do well, they might not have the track to achieve victory. You can listen to the songs just below.

Son Kez / The Last Time - Inchequin (Hugh O'Neill / Sinead Bradley)

Crashing Down - Aimée Fitzpatrick (Robert Grace)

Fire - Zoe Alexis Bohorquez (Niall Mooney / Lauren White / Willie Weeks)

One Love Survives - Ryan Dolan (Wez Devina / Ryan Dolan)

Kiss Me There - Kasey (Drax)

The Late Late Show Eurosong 2013 will be taking place on the 22nd February 2013 at 21:00 CET and considering the way that things have been organised in the past two years, it will most likely be a showcase of discussion and music with a panel of critics speaking their mind on the entries in front of the contestants whilst a regional jury and a public tele-vote will decide on the winner. escflashmalta.com will continue bringing you the latest news and will be covering the selection process live, so we hope that you stay tuned.

Source: ESC Ireland, RTÉ

Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:42

Ireland: RTÉ Presents Eurosong 2013 Line-Up

RTÉ, the public broadcaster in Ireland and member of the European Broadcasting Union is a prominent figure at the esteemed Eurovision Song Contest, holding the record for most victories, currently tallying at seven. For the past two years, through multi-entry national selections, Jedward were selected as representatives with the tracks Lipstick and Waterline which both took the nation to the final instilling a sense of pride whilst garnering support from a younger demographic. The acts that will be taking part in this years' Eurosong have just been announced in an official press release with some amendments from the originally planned release.

Mairead Farrell, one of the members was looking forward to working with Melanie McCabe but a late withdrawal had to take place due to other commitments. Nevertheless, she managed to find an act as a replacement and is said to be quite happy with the choice. The others mentors to have been included in the selection process are songwriters; Niall Mooney and Shay Healy, both of whom have already been to the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as Stuart O'Connor known for his work as a choreography with Jedward and last but not least, a disc jockey by the name of Mark McCabe. The selections seem to include a rather fresh approach in a bid to keep the younger demographic intact.

  • Kiss Me There - Kasey (Drax)
  • Son Kez / The Last Time - Inchequin (Hugh O'Neill / Sinead Bradley)
  • Crashing Down - Aimée Fitzpatrick (Robert Grace)
  • Fire - Zoe Alexis Bohorquez (Niall Mooney / Lauren White / Willie Weeks)
  • One Love Survives - Ryan Dolan (Wez Devina / Ryan Dolan)

The five entries will be presented tomorrow afternoon on The Mooney Show which airs on  RTÉ Radio from 1pm to 3pm (Irish Time). The Eurosong 2013 selection taking place on The Late Late Show will air on Friday, 22nd February. The result will be decided through a mixture of tele-voting and jury voting. The winner in Ireland will be heading to the Eurovision Song Contest and hoping to continue the successful trend of the past three years and see the nation into the final. The task begins within the second part of the first semi-final. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: RTÉ 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_9QaVC-NKw