Last last night the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — caught an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin where we indulged in Guinness stout at The Temple Bar and George Bar, before meeting some extra-friendly locals at The Boilerhouse. When we woke from our stupor, we gathered around a piano to review Molly Sterling and her Eurovision 2015 song “Playing with Numbers”. Did her piano number make us want to tickle the ivories — or wheel her off stage? Read on to find out…

Ireland’s Eurovision 2015 song

Reviews: Molly Sterling with “Playing With Numbers”

Robyn: This is the sound of Ireland trying to relive its ’90s glories with a ’90s-style ballad. It just isn’t good enough for 2015. Molly has a lovely voice (and surely a great career ahead of her), but this song is going to be eaten whole by any other semi-finalist that’s even slightly more lively. Though on the bright side, there won’t be any cheesy traditional dancers on stage this time.

Score: 3/10

Molly SterlingPadraig: There’s no denying Molly’s talent, both as a singer and a song-writer. Her vocals are on-point and the lyrics have a level of sophistication beyond your typical Eurovision fare. Alas, the song doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts. It leaves little to no impression on me, and dare I say, it’s even a tad dull. Perhaps there’ll be some added grit and edge in Vienna, but as things currently stand I’ll pass.

Score: 6/10

Luis: Molly really impresses me. She’s got an amazing voice, her song is absolutely beautiful and she’s only 17! Unfortunately “Playing With Numbers” is very forgettable. It’s a song that I’d include in a “Rainy Sunday” playlist, and I’m afraid that’s no good thing for the Eurovision. But I do love rainy Sundays, so…

Score: 9/10

Deban: Although Molly’s entry may be too tender to cut through this year’s pack, she throws down a compelling performance, remaining credible and sophisticated throughout. The unfortunate thing is that “Playing With Numbers” doesn’t beg for a second listen.

Score: 5.5/10

Angus: Molly Sterling has a gorgeous voice but ‘Playing With Numbers’ doesn’t match up. The song shone at Eurosong as a calling card to the winning Celtic ballads of the 90s but since then the gleam has gone.

Score: 3.5/10

Marek: This is not a silly ballad — it’s a beautiful story about a girl coming to terms with her regrets. When her voice trembles, I feel her pain and every time I hear this I create a video clip in my head and think about love. The lyrics are some of the best I’ve ever read. On first listen I thought she was simply saying, “I did some dumb things, and I’m sorry.” After falling in love with this song, I know the true meaning. Each of us has to find it.

Score: 10/10

Reacting to Molly’s Eurosong win 

William: She may only be 17, but Molly has an amazing, smoky voice. It oozes sexuality and sass, experience and pain. The blending of voices in the chorus is stellar and this song has a magical feeling that makes me wistful and nostalgic. It progresses but in a way so subtle I fear it could become bland relative to the other songs in the competition. But no matter: Molly has a bright future and can be proud of this effort.

Score: 7/10

Molly Sterling Playing With Numbers Eurosong 2015 Ireland EurovisionBogdan: Molly is a good singer, but she also needs to be a good performer for Eurovision. Sitting at the piano won’t do her any favours. She literally needs to stand up in order to stand out. Unfortunately, the song itself doesn’t help her much. Despite being a decent tune (definitely the best from the national selection), “Playing With Numbers” is sadly going to be lost in the mix of ballads performed by talented ladies.

Score: 6/10

Mikhail: The song is really beautiful and Molly’s voice is charming and strong at the same time. She reminds me a little bit of Adele with her blues style. However, the song’s progression is so slight that I barely notice the changes by the end. It’s easily forgotten.

Score: 5/10

Chris: I think this is a really sweet song and performance. It’s hard to believe that Molly is just seventeen years old, as her voice sounds much more mature and portrays the emotion and rawness of the song so well. It’s probably going to get lost in the pack which is a real shame, as I think that it deserves more than that.

Score: 7/10

Read our interview with Molly Sterling

Twenty-nine jurors review each song, but we only have space for ten written reviews. The remaining 19 scores are listed below.

Anthony: 6/10

Denise: 5.5/10

Francesca: 6.5/10

Josh: 5/10

Judit: 4/10

Kristín: 6/10

Liam: 7/10

Mario: 5/10

Max: 6.5/10

Mike: 8/10

Patrick: 9/10

Ramadan: 6/10

Renske: 6.5/10

Rezo: 6.5/10

Sami: 3/10

Sinan: 5/10

Sopon: 1/10

William C: 8.5/10

Zach: 8/10

To reduce potential bias, we have removed a high of 10 and a low of 1 prior to calculating the average.

WIWI JURY AVERAGE: 6.07/10

SEE OUR CURRENT EUROVISION 2015 REVIEWS AND RANKINGS

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Esceire
Guest
Esceire

@MoMo “I think its safe to say that Molly won’t be in the Final* ” Thats your wishful thinking 🙂

MoMo
Guest
MoMo

I think it’s safe to say Ireland will not be in the Semi Finals. Molly could still go on to have a decent career though. This song is just too dull, unfortunately.

Chris
Guest

Dear Molly
You still have a little time left to play with fire
If you do that you will show us all how to do it
Thank you for a real song that not seems to be a joke or just thrown in for the fun.
Nice to hear a real song that also can be played real as well. Very talented even though I first thought we don’t need another Molly but you do squeeze in so fine
#JoinUs

Ron
Guest
Ron

For those claiming that this is a 1990’s style ballad, Molly’s entry is officially listed as an “alternative” one on iTunes alongside songs from acts such as Echosmith, Kodaline, Mumford & Sons, Villagers, The Lumineers and Hozier ie. very much a contemporary act from 2015.

Francisco
Guest
Francisco

The song is not without merit and she is quite charming and has a beautiful voice, but I don’t think this is a winner, it lacks a “je ne sais quoi”.

MF
Guest
MF

I hope she qualifies in the final. Of course thinking that the staging will be quite simple and will not include some Riverdance or bare chested dancers like in the previous years!

Sebastian
Guest
Sebastian

Molly did a performance of the song for her old primary school and it is amazing:
http://youtu.be/VJJ6oB1Vl0s

Alex
Guest
Alex

It’s easy to call this a 90s style ballad because you want to make some analogy to how Ireland still thinks it’s the 90s, but this isn’t very accurate at all. I don’t really feel like any ballads in the 90s sounded like this. However, the date isn’t too far off; the most clearly similar artist to Molly for me is Vanessa Carlton, who was biggest in 2002-2003. “Ordinary Day” in particular is a very similar style to this song. That being said, I really, really hope the jury goes bananas for her, because she will most likely need them.… Read more »

Deniz
Guest
Deniz

6,7/10 for this pretty girl. Song is very calm and cool, young and sweet. She has the same age as me and I wish her best of luck

Ron
Guest
Ron

Playing With Numbers has been on the iTunes Sweden and Norway charts today. So much for it being “one of the weakest ballads this year” 🙂

TeleRoger
Guest
TeleRoger

There is no doubting Molly is a talented singer and pianist but sadly the song just doesn’t grab me at all.
I was waiting for the hook or something to grab me and make me go Yeahh but it never arrived .
Will grab a Guinness and move on
Sorry Molly????

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Fatima: I know exactly what you mean, when you say, “It stands out because it DOESN’T stand out”. I’m currently grading these performances for the first time myself (which I will do 3 times before the contest). I underestimated the Dutch last year. I will not underestimate this one. I have gone through all the audios; now I must watch the music videos; but given the marks I gave Molly for her audio, she is likely to figure in my top 10. If I were Molly’s stage crew, I’d start the song off with a dark arena (just like Sweden,… Read more »

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

Ireland’s actually my favourite country of this decade. ‘Lipstick’ was my favourite song of 2011, Jedward’s second entry was in my Top Ten of 2012, Ryan was in my Top Ten of 2013 and Kasey was in my Top Three of 2014. At the moment they can do no wrong for me, but I guess the juries would disagree…

Julian
Guest
Julian

Too bad Scotland couldn’t join the party. A missed opportunity the referendum of last year.

Ron
Guest
Ron

They’re all Molly’s lyrics by the way. She’s very much a poet 🙂

Adams
Guest
Adams

Thank you very much Ron. 🙂
These lyrics make sense. I had to be sure.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Those lyrics on eurovision.tv are definitely wrong Adams

These are the correct ones :

http://ww.tvplayvideos.com/1,mDRLE8olqfA/billboard-1975/Molly-Sterling-Playing-with-Numbers-(Lyrics)-(Ireland-Eurovision-2015)

Adams
Guest
Adams

The lyrics of this song posted here differ from those listed on eurovision.tv. What is she really singing?

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

@esceire I don’t think that the juries held a grudge against us because we sent a glove puppet in a trolley. It’s because we have sent songs that just could not hit hard enough with them. They are much harder to please.

Zolan
Guest
Zolan

Sophisticated, well written and soulfully delivered.
Unfortunately, the stylistic variation and subtle progression that is a strength of the song also undermines memorability. Without easy hooks or highlights the listener has to make an effort.

The key to staging this is to ensure the audience want to give Molly their full attention, and to help them do so.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

That can be undone though @esceire.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

Another thing Ron is that I think it is possible we will hear and see a lot more of Molly after Eurovision in the long run.

Esceire
Guest
Esceire

@Deven, another thing to consider is that juries are imo holding a grudge against Ireland atm, probably because we sent a Turkey in 2008 as imo they have been exceptionally mean towards the irish entries over the past 3 years. cost Ireland a top 10 in 2012, a top half in 2013 and a final in 2014.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

@Ron

Really? That makes it better and in that sense, should tick the jury boxes.

Ron
Guest
Ron

On your third point Deven, don’t forget this song wasn’t even written to appeal to the juries or to tick any boxes. Molly wrote the song for her debut album and never had the slightest intention of entering it into any competition, so in that sense it is one of the most authentic and genuine songs this year.

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

Very good song from Ireland this year. Calm, soothing, unpretentious, beautiful. 9,5/10

Good luck from Austria.

I don’t get the 90’s comment about it, because it doesn’t sound 90’s at all.

Maltish
Guest
Maltish

Wait I read somewhere in the comments that she’s 16. DAMN she looks old. What’s up with this year any ways there’s also that guy from Isreal whose 16 but looks 20ish.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

I honestly understand why some people are like “Dublin 2016!!!!” And others are like “Irlande Nil Points”. But how I look at it is that: 1.) Molly is a very talented young girl singing a song with a complex back story. In all fairness, Israel, as catchy as it is, has a very disjointed song with little meaning and very pretentious. Also San Marino’s song is a very poor quality Disney song, also very pretentious. Molly, on the other hand, sings with genuine conviction and the song is a lot more marketable than the cheese fests that are from Israel… Read more »

2015
Guest
2015

She. Is. Beautiful.

Marco
Guest
Marco

Hi Mar, I love her voice hahaha This balad and his voice together are perfect.

ct
Guest
ct

Not a ’90s ballad at all. The lyrics and her music reminds me a lot of Birdie. Definitely a much better ballad than others in semi2 (e.g. Azerbaijan).

Mar
Guest
Mar

Am I the only who HATES her voice? I just really can’t stand it, but the song is ok.

Antranig Shokayan
Editor

It’s my second favourite song of the year (behind Germany). Those scores are atrocious. Molly is so talented and the song moves me. She’s got my vote for Semifinal 2. Good luck Molly! <3

Timselvision
Guest
Timselvision

Quality songs usually do better than just the dance songs, so I think Ireland will qualify 🙂 I like the song tbh, and her voice is also very good to me. 6,5 / 10 for me 🙂

John
Guest
John

This is a very likely qualifier and will be Ireland’s best result since 2011. Second in the running order is a bit harsh but last time they performed in the first 5 was 2009 (also second).

Leon
Guest
Leon

Molly is no doubt an accomplished singer but the overall song lacks edge. There will be plenty of good vocalists around but with that something extra that makes a song a winner. 5/10

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

I agree @esceire. Every other f***ing year, we are fanwanked so much that it hurts like a hammer to the hand when we don’t do well. I think we could be a shock this year. I’d much rather a good entry with no hype than a deplorable song and all this “Ireland will win!!!, Douze Points, Dublin next year!!!” and all that crap.

Of all the favourites, I think the countries most at risk of failing are Slovenia and Finland.

Esceire
Guest
Esceire

There are always shocks in Eurovision and generally shocks are result people did NOT call, and atm no blogger\Panel are calling Ireland a dark horse which is a good thing. Plus it may be a good thing that the Wiwi jury rank Ireland low because they ranked us high in 2012,2013,2014 and they all did rubbish ( and thats nothing against the panel )

Ron
Guest
Ron

Can’t help think the panel are seriously underestimating this one. Molly is an amazing young talent and sings with such emotion and sincerity. I’m not getting the “forgettable” and “bland” vibe at all. Disagree with the Wiwi panelist who said she should get up mid song and walk to the front of the stage. That would completely ruin what Molly is about : she’s a young singer / songwriter / pianist and there’s not a chance she will do anything ‘showy’ or gimmicky during her performance. Her attitude will be “Either you like my song or you don’t”, she will… Read more »

CindyChiang
Guest
CindyChiang

Thanks to those who love our song

Eugene ESC UK
Guest
Eugene ESC UK

Easpag :- Haha my Irish friend, that actually makes sense, but are you implying that Ireland have sent good songs in the last 10 years say then?? Surely not??Well not according to the stats!! The UK have been OUT of the Top 15…….8/10 times. Ireland have been OUT of the Top 15……. 4/6 times and have not qualified 4 times, (so also 8/10 times.) So it’s even perhaps? (The positions for both are embarrassing really!!) Over the 59 years, the UK have given Ireland 240 points and Ireland have given the UK 224, a difference of 16 points, so let’s… Read more »

SteKay
Guest
SteKay

I can’t wait for this beautiful touching song to be presented on stage.

SteKay
Guest
SteKay

This is not a 90s ballad? Really? This is a beautiful current song. Literally 90% of rankers say songs are dated or old fashioned. Maybe things haven’t changed. Not every song is going to be Euphoria. Not every Euphoria wins. I’m praying Molly qualifies. Beautiful meaningful song full of emotion (sorry if that’s dated!!!)

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

I just love this song. 10/10. Around 6-10 in my top 40.

Allen
Guest
Allen

This reminds me on Bosnian entry from 2012 – the atmosphere is quite similar, song is simple (for some people it’s “flat”), but general impression is positive. I think Ireland may be a pleasent surprise and it can easily take a place and cut out some of the fans’ favourites. If she performs well it can do very good with a juries, but hey, we never know – if we go back to previous ESC seasons we can see some very strange jury decisions. Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised at all is she qualifies.

Ewan
Guest
Ewan

@Ewan
Kinda creepy how we not only share the same name, but the same opinion on this beautiful song AND Estonia 2013. I am worried Molly may not qualify with this (the extremely slow tempo compared to the rest of this year’s entries may hinder her chances) but I’d love it if she could pull off what Birgit did in Malmö.

flower
Guest
flower

@Esceire

um? I’m British, what are you talking about… is that some kind of unfunny joke?

Easpag
Guest
Easpag

@Esceire I’ve never heard of any Brits wanting the Irish to do poorly. Where did you get that from?

@Eugene that’s mostly because ye tend to send bad songs 🙂

Alison
Guest
Alison

@Esceire yeah there may be some but it is definitely a minority, but your comment implied that it’s a widespread view.

Eugene ESC UK
Guest
Eugene ESC UK

Esceire :- Fair point……………..I’d like to think it is a minority from both sides really………………but don’t answer that!! There is no hatred to towards Ireland from the UK, it’s Ireland that usually give the UK a rubbish score!! Hehe!!

I think the poll between Måns v Elnur is probably Sweden + Armenia + all other Azerbaijan haters v Azerbaijan, yet they are not that far behind!!