Ireland: JESC host Eoghan McDermott drops hints about Irish selection for Eurovision 2018


In the Eurovision 2018 pre-season, Irish broadcaster RTÉ has made a lot of noise about wanting to shake things up. There have been plenty of rumours about potential acts, but little solid information — until now.

Television presenter Eoghan McDermott — best known as the host of the Irish Junior Eurovision national final and former host of The Voice of Ireland — has shared a couple of photos to his Instagram Story that show there’s some serious deciding happening.

The Irish broadcaster showed scenes from a listening session to pick Ireland’s entry for Lisbon. In one photo he was shown sitting around a table covered with a number of RTÉ-branded coffee cups.

It’s not clear from his photos if the songs being assessed were were all entries from different artists, or if the broadcaster is searching to find one song for an already internally selected singer.

Most tellingly, McDermott shared a glimpse of his song assessment sheet. It shows his reactions to five songs, including a score out of 10 and comments. The comments are cut off, but they still give a lot of clues to the sort of songs the panel is assessing. The song titles have been obscured.

  • Song 1: 6.5/10, Eerie, Lorde, Royals vibe…
  • Song 2: 4/10,  Amy Winehouse/Adele vibe…
  • Song 3: 4/10, Lively, v. derivative, boring…
  • Song 4: 8/10, Big potential, current but…
  • Song 5: 6/10, Too repetitive, weak…

The image is titled “Only one decent song so far…” and the implication is that song four is the big stand-out track. McDermott has rated it 8/10 and describes the song as “Big potential, current but…”. The ominous “but…” suggests there’s something about the song that isn’t quite right for Ireland.

The obscured song titles show that there are a total of ten songs being assessed, which suggests this is the final shortlist.

Ireland gets serious

Following four years of non-qualification, Ireland is shaking up the way it selects its Eurovision act. The internal selection process for Lisbon started in September 2017. Back then, the broadcaster put out a call for entries, and specifically noted they were looking for “songwriters and performers, preferably with a proven track record of success in the music industry”.

The broadcaster also reserved the right to match any song selected with a different artist to the one who submitted the entry.

Since then, only one artist has been confirmed as having entered a song. Punk rock legend John Lydon — aka Johnny Rotten — revealed he has entered the song “Pleased To Meet You”, described as ‘cow punk’.

But plenty of other rumours are circulating, suggesting that Samantha Mumba, B*Witched, Heathers, and an unidentified boy band have all been considered at some point. And who knows — perhaps some of the songs Eoghan has been assessed are attached to one or more of those artists.

What do you think? What sort of song should Ireland send to Eurovision 2018? And who should sing it? Share your comments below!