It’s the country that spent much of the Eurovision pre-season making loud noises about its desire to shake things up for Lisbon.
And the team at RTÉ aren’t the only ones staying silent. So far, punk legend and ex-Sex Pistols’ front man John Lyndon is the only high-profile name to confirm involvement in this year’s process. Although, it’s safe to assume that ex-Westlife singer Brian McFadden is out.
However, none of this has stopped the rumour mill from spinning. In recent weeks, social media and fan forums have been rife with speculation as to who could be flying the Irish tricolour in May.
We’ve gone through all the theories and pulled out the ones that appear to have at least some bit of substance to them. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that all these rumours are unconfirmed. They are not facts! RTÉ may be considering some, none, or all of the names listed below.
Until we know for sure, we can just speculate.
Following Ireland’s semi-final elimination in Kyiv, Samantha Mumba set tongues wagging when she tweeted that she would “LOVE” to represent Ireland at Eurovision. And if social media speculation is to be believed, she’s now one of the names in contention for Lisbon. The singer is best known for a string of worldwide R&B hits in the early noughties, the biggest of which was “Gotta Tell You”.
Of course this isn’t the first time Samantha’s name has popped up in the Eurovision rumour mill. After scoring herself a top five chart comeback in the summer of 2013, rumours abounded that she was considering singing for Ireland at Eurovision 2014. Further fuel was added to the fire when it was announced that she would release a single the same week as the now defunct Eurosong national selection show. Ultimately, nothing came of the speculation.
Sticking with the early noughties, B*Witched have also cropped up in online forum discussions. After ten years apart, Ireland’s most successful girl group reformed for the 2013 series of the British TV show The Big Reunion. They released an EP off the back of the show, but they haven’t exactly been burning up the charts since. Band member Edele Lynch was a Eurosong mentor in 2012, so she obviously has a tolerance for the contest. The ladies are still best known for their debut single “C’est la Vie”, although any Eurovision effort would probably be more along the lines of their 2014 single “Champagne or Guinness”.
The gossip isn’t just restricted to Ireland’s pop exports from the turn of the century. Supposedly “in the know” fans have also thrown Dublin duo Heathers into the mix.
Consisting of sisters Ellie and Louise Macnamara, the alternative folk-pop group has been active since 2007. Their breakout success came in 2010 when the Irish Tourist Board used their song “Remember When” in a major promotional campaign. The track became a big radio hit in Ireland and reached number 11 in the charts. Their most recent single “Midnight Train” dropped last August. In May, Louise sat on the Irish Eurovision jury. She gave her top marks to Bulgaria, Israel and Romania.
The final rumour to cross our path is frustratingly vague. Apparently, RTÉ have a shortlist of two acts. Different people have different lists, but all share one thing in common — an unidentified boyband. Supposedly, they’re a known group which enjoyed success a number of years back. Boyzone and Westlife immediately spring to mind. Both boast an array of Eurovision links – from interval performances to hosting gigs to song writing credits to actual participation.
However, one might be inclined to rule out Boyzone given that one of its members, Shane Lynch, is currently residing in Britain’s Celebrity Big Brother house. He could potentially remain there for most of January, which could hardly be considered optimal preparation for Eurovision. As for Westlife, their manager Louis Walsh has been teasing a reunion. But would the group want to do the contest so soon after band member Nicky Byrne’s poor placing in Stockholm two years ago?
Another possibility could be Brendan Murray’s former band Hometown. The six-piece were relatively successful in Ireland, securing two number ones. They split in 2016.
Moving away from the manufactured pop, an alternative theory is that rather than being a boyband it could simply be an all-male band. One fan suggested that rock outfit The Coronas might be a possibility. Apparently their schedule is clear and they follow Eurovision on Twitter.
What do you think of this list of unconfirmed rumours? Are they believable? Would you like to see any of them sing for Ireland in Lisbon? Let us know in the comments below.