Ireland: Eoghan McDermott drops more hints about Irish selection process


He’s the Irish television and radio presenter who yesterday shared some photos from an Irish Eurovision listening session. And now the Irish Junior Eurovision host Eoghan McDermott has revealed more details about the Irish shortlist. He revealed all yesterday on his RTÉ 2FM radio show The Eoghan McDermott Show.

In mid-September, broadcaster RTÉ opened its entry period, specifically wanting entries from songwriters and performers “preferably with a proven track record of success in the music industry”.

Eoghan McDermott is the Irish JESC commentator

McDermott revealed that from all the entries received, the broadcaster had shortlisted a final ten — and that’s what he and his fellow panellists were being asked to assess. He also noted that his particular group wasn’t the only lot who would be listening to and assessing the songs.

McDermott described the process as, “You give it a mark out of ten and you write your remarks. And then, I suppose, all those scores are added up and the winning song is the song for Eurovision.” Simple!

But he had some criticism for some of the shortlisted songs. Namely, he felt that about six of the ten songs sounded too much like other famous songs. He felt one song was so much like Adele’s “Skyfall” that, “even if I wasn’t a lawyer I’d get a degree in law to sue that person.”

However, there were two songs that McDermott felt were very strong contenders. He described one song as being in the style of  “a Justin Bieber current pop song. But it did have a little something about it, was very good. And what’s important is, is good on first listen.”

His other favourite was “a more ballad duet type thing.” He also noted that while all the performers are Irish, not all the songwriters were. However, one of his favourites also came from an Irish songwriter.

He said there was nothing distinctly Irish about the two songs — no “fiddly-aye” factor — but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as that style hadn’t worked at Eurovision in the recent past. “I think it comes across as twee.”

But could either of McDermott’s two favourites do good things for Ireland at Eurovision 2018? He wasn’t giving anything else away, but he said his favourite of the two “is as good as anything that’s up there.”

“But,” he added, “who knows what wins. Is it down to the staging? Is it down to the song?”

At the same time, rumours have been swirling in the Irish fan community around the alternative folk-pop duo Heathers. Some are even claiming the pair have already been internally selected by RTÉ, but it’s also possible they are just one of the ten shortlisted acts.

The duo consists of sisters Ellie and Louise Macnamara, and they take their name from the cult 1980s high school film. The alternative folk-pop duo 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 No. 11 in the charts. The sisters’ most recent single “Midnight Train” dropped last August and has been well received in Ireland.

Heathers already have a Eurovision connection. In May, Louise sat on the Irish Eurovision jury. In the grand final her top marks went to Bulgaria, Israel and Romania.

Whoever RTÉ decides to send to Lisbon, the broadcaster has around two months before they have to reveal their act.

What do you think? What sort of song and artist should Ireland send to Eurovision 2018? Would Heathers be a good pick? Share your thoughts below!

Additional reporting by Padraig Muldoon.