RTÉ, the Irish state broadcaster, has announced the five acts who will compete to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2012. They are Maria McCool, Donna MacCaul, Una Gibney & David Shannon, Andrew Mann, and Jedward.

The five acts will perform their entries, which have not yet been revealed, on February 24 during ‘The Late Late Show’ on RTE One. Two-thirds of their overall score will come from a jury vote, while the remainder will be decided by televoters. The announcement brings to a close months of speculation over 1) whether Jedward would be selected internally and 2) whether anyone would be brave enough to go up against them. As you’ll recall, a number of big-name acts, including last year’s runner-up Nikki Kavanagh, declined the opportunity to square off with the world’s most famous set of singing identical twins. Jedward are currently slaughtering Donna McCaul in our Eurovision Death Match showdown. Eighty-four percent of voters currently favor John and Edward over Donna.

Anyway, here some key facts about this year’s finalists.

Maria McCool(mentored by Edele Lynch)

  • She’s a Celtic singer who performs traditional songs in her native Irish
  • She’s a schoolteacher
  • She has released three albums, none of which Wiwi can pronounce: Oíche Chiúin (1995), Ailleog (1997) and Doagh (2009)
  • She has won numerous awards at Celtic singing contests. (Think Riverdance but really, really slow and with words).
  • She once ran for elected office, but only received 13 votes. We’re assuming that means she lost.
  • Here she is singing “Tráthnóna Beag Aréir”

Donna MacCaul (mentored by Bill Hughes)

  • Donna competed at Eurovision 2005 with her brother Joe
  • The Irish Independent predicted they would struggle at the contest. As they wrote at the time: “Everybody knows that the McCauls don’t stand a chance, yet we’re sending them over to the event in Kiev like lambs to the slaughter. Red-haired and bespectacled Joseph is positively post-pubescent at just 16 years of age and Donna looks like she needed a good haircut and a set of braces a long time ago.”
  • They finished 14th in their semi-final with the song “Love?” It was awful.

Una Gibney and David Shannon(mentored by Julian Benson)

  • She’s a singer in Michael Flatley’s stage show “Celtic Tiger”
  • She also performs in a band called “Boogie Nights,” which we presume makes her something of a wedding singer
  • He has appeared in musicals in London’s West End, including the touring production of Les Misérables
  • Given that they’ve both been in stage shows, expect powerful vocals and mega harmonies!

This is Una on tour with Celtic Tiger:


Andrew Mann (mentored by Greg French)

  • According to his personal web site, Andrew is “an extraordinary and gifted Irish singer and writer who has been performing professionally around Ireland and Europe for the last six years”
  • Larry has worked with Rick Danko (from The Band), Van Morrison, Shane McGowan, The Devlins and Kila
  • He’s hot, and many people who write for this blog would like to sleep with him
  • You can hear his song “Redemption” below


Jedward (mentored by Linda Martin)