Winter is coming. And right across Europe artists and songwriters are busy preparing entries for their respective national finals. Broadcasters in DenmarkHungary, Malta, LatviaMoldova, and many more countries have announced their Eurovision 2016 plans. Deadlines have been set, rules published and dates finalised. But in Ireland everything is curiously quite.

Numerous queries to RTÉ have gone unanswered. To date, the most anyone’s got out of them is a sentence, when the Head of Delegation Michael Kealy told EurovisionIreland that the broadcaster is “still considering all options”. Ireland is a nation of tea drinkers, so it’s appropriate that we feel the need to spill some. Because while they say they’re looking at “all” options, we think Molly Sterling’s successor will be chosen internally.

Molly Sterling red carpet by Elena Volotova EBU

Let us explain. Firstly, we can rule out any Melfest style national final or even a one night extravaganza a la Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. RTÉ announced its 2015/2016 schedule back in August, and the prime weekend slots are all full. The Late Late Show remains on Fridays, The Ray D’Arcy Show is new on Saturdays, while The Voice of Ireland sits comfy on Sundays. With week nights dominated by rating winning soaps, current affairs and factual/reality formats, there’s simply no space for a shiny new Eurovision programme.

We’re also inclined to rule out the Late Late Eurosong selection, which the station has used in various guises since 2009. In past years, details have usually been revealed sometime in October. Today is Halloween, the last day of the month and we still haven’t heard a thing. If we’re to have the act selected by late February or early March, that leaves only three full months to open submissions, listen to and review all the entries, take a break for Christmas and make a final shortlist. Given that it took four and a bit months to come up with 2015’s lacklustre line-up, it’s easy to see why we’re sceptical.

This all leads us to an internal selection, at least in so far as the artist is concerned. It worked well in 2006, when Brian Kennedy was chosen. But not so well when Dervish were picked the following year. If indeed 2016 is to be an internal selection – remember this is purely speculation – who would RTÉ send? You’ll recall that this is an organisation that felt that Alex Saint’s “She’s So Fine” deserved a Eurosong place. We’re not setting the bar too high. But at the same time, one would expect that a lack of hyperactive twins and sock puppets would encourage higher profile acts to put their names forward. We’ve wracked our brains and tried to get inside the psyche of the powers that be. The results are below. Think of this as a guess-list not a wishlist.

The Corrs

Legend has it, that Dervish were chosen after it was recommended that Ireland send a Corrs-style act. Nine years on, maybe it’s time to enter the real thing. Fresh from a decade-long hiatus, Eurovision could be the perfect platform for the family band to get back into the mainstream. Not that they ever really left, the break was due to personal reasons rather than diminishing sales. The group are huge on the continent and their comeback tour finishes in January, perfect timing if you ask us. Following the Common Linnets’ success with a similar-ish sound, an entry would be close to risk neutral. Go on, leave us breathless!

Nathan Carter

Practically unknown outside of Ireland, Liverpool-born Nathan Carter is the current poster boy for the island’s country music scene. His version of “Wagon Wheel” was unavoidable for close to two years, spending a total of 52 non-consecutive weeks in the charts and accumulating over two million YouTube views. His sound may not exactly be current, but the national broadcaster is definitely a fan. He’s a regular chat show guest and is set to be the star of his very own documentary, Stetson’s and Stilettos. There’s certainly potential for him to bring the fun-factor to Stockholm, and plenty of fans would appreciate his boyish good looks.

Markus Feehily

As a unit Westlife were virtually untouchable, with their easy-listening covers dominating European charts for 14 years. However, success hasn’t come to them so readily as individuals. Of the four, Markus Feehily has probably had the most interesting solo career. His debut album just dropped, with respectable if not spectacular chart placings. He needs a launch pad, *cough* Eurovision. The singer is already well got with fans, OGAE Ireland selected him for the OGAE Song Contest and he won our very own wiwivision. He’s surely up for the challenge.

Shane Filan and/or Nadine Coyle

Now for a cheeky two-for-one. As far as we’re concerned, both Shane Filan and Nadine Coyle should be on RTÉ’s radar. Like the rest of Westlife, Shane hasn’t exactly been top of the pops. Meanwhile, Nadine’s living in a world sans Girls Aloud, where Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has become the band’s breakout star. The two of them need to get back on track, and while we’d welcome both as soloists, we’ve got to say they sound pretty decent together. Their new duet “I Could Be” was even released just after the 1 September Eurovision deadline… hint, hint.

Hometown

Louis Walsh’s latest boyband was the subject of Eurosong speculation earlier this year, but ultimately the rumours proved to be false. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them fly the tricolour in Sweden. Whilst they’ve experienced moderate success in Ireland, the group has struggled to break into foreign markets. If done properly, a Eurovision appearance could give them the kick start they need. Don’t forget, Walsh has a long history with Eurovision and was the man behind Johnny Logan, Linda Martin and Jedward.

Liir

The up-and-coming girlband were also rumoured for 2015. But as with Hometown it wasn’t to be, granted they did actually submit a song. The trio have been relatively quite since. However, they seem to have come back to life recently. Last week, the girls uploaded a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (it makes Emmelie De Forest’s version seem gritty), and band member Michelle McGrath has said that Eurovision is still on her bucket list. Add in Leanne Moore’s three time stint as a backing singer at the contest, and we’d be very surprised if Liir aren’t in RTÉ’s mix. Did we mention their manager is Linda Martin? Odious men beware!

Samantha Mumba

RTÉ often looks to the BBC for inspiration. Maybe they’d consider following the Brits 2011 to 2013 approach and send a heritage act. In hindsight, we know that that method wasn’t exactly the best. But early ’00s boyband Blue did give the UK a credible 11th place. Ireland has plenty of faded ’00s stars and Samantha Mumba sits atop the pile. Her name has been thrown about before, so there’s obviously an interest somewhere. Just two years ago, she made a mini-comeback, when she reached the Irish top five after appearing on The Hit. Her career revival quickly petered out, so Eurovision could provide a welcome boost.

B*Witched

Sticking with the early ’00s line of thinking, we’d also put forward B*Witched. After ten years apart, they reformed for the 2013 series of ITV’s The Big Reunion. They released an EP off the back of the show, but they’re not exactly living the superstar life since. Edele Lynch was a Eurosong mentor in 2012, so she obviously has a tolerance for the contest. The group would definitely generate plenty of headlines. Publicity equals high ratings and that equals euro signs for RTÉ.

Daniel O’Donnell

Whether you like it or not, Daniel O’Donnell is one of Ireland’s most successful singers. He started out in the early ’80s, and even then his crooning was dated. Nonetheless, he’s hugely popular, particularly with ladies of a certain age. And it’s not just the women of Eire who’ve fallen for his charms. In 2012, he became the first artist to have an album chart in Britain every year for 25 consecutive years. He was a contestant on the current season of Strictly Come Dancing, so a Eurovision attempt wouldn’t be a complete shock. And Brian Kennedy did manage to break the top ten when he went. We’re not ruling wee Daniel out.

Celtic Woman

If RTÉ want to go big, they could send Celtic Woman – essentially Ireland’s answer to Il Volo. While the group is female and the music is new-age rather than classical, just like the Italians they are huge in America. They’ve had countless PBS specials, sell-out tours and Billboard charting albums. Ironically they’re practically unknown in their homeland and Europe, but a certain song contest could fix that. The current line-up includes Susan McFadden who competed in the 2003 national selection, while Eimear Quinn’s “The Voice” is part of their repertoire. Surely, they’d be up for bringing some Celtic realness to Stockholm. And we wouldn’t write-off the chances of any former members either, considering that there have been 13 “Celtic women” since 2004.

Other possibilities

There are more acts that we feel RTÉ might consider or would be interested themselves. But we don’t think the likelihood of them jetting out to Stockholm is as high as the ones we’ve detailed above.

  • Chris De Burgh, Mary Byrne, Una Healy, Kian Egan, Brian McFadden, Ronan Keating, Imelda May, Johnny Logan.

Not a chance!

Y’all can wish and pray 24/7 but we can pretty much guarantee that none of these acts would go anywhere near the Globen next May. We’re just being realistic.

  • Hozier, Kodaline, U2, Enya, Sinead O’Connor, The Script, Damien Rice, Niall Horan.

Are we on to something? Or are we kidding ourselves? Remember, we’re just making an educated guess that Ireland are heading internal. RTÉ could easily pour a big bucket of cold water over us on Monday. What do you think?

YOU CAN FOLLOW ALL OF OUR IRELAND EUROVISION NEWS HERE.

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Liam Davis
Guest
Liam Davis

I’d personally would like a National Selection show.. heck, I want an irish melodifestivalen made up.. Instead of roaming ireland, we have the contest taking part in the RSC. Over a 4 week period, featuring 3 heats, a RTE 2FM wildcard round and the final. 24 singers/duets/groups would be chosen, mixing it up with some well known and some outsiders new to the song contest. 8 songs battle out each of the three heats, 2 get a pass to the grand final, 2 battle go to the wildcard show, then on the wildcard show the 6 songs are played once… Read more »

Gary
Guest
Gary

Perhaps you should go back to the theory that Eurovision works better with unknown artists?
Up and coming new Irish singer Cliona Hagen? Check her out she is destined for the very top I am sure.
Whatever happens, good luck

John Egan
Guest
John Egan

Bob Geldof not a brilliant songwriter? Rat Trap, Mary of the 4th Form, Elephants’ Graveyard, Banana Republic, I Don’t Like Mondays. He’s co-written dozens of brilliant songs. Brilliant singer? Gawd no, he’s more of a “vocalist” than a singer. And yeah, terrible choice for the Eurovision.

RTÉ should get Ronan Keating to give Shane Fillan a great song. He’d slay in Stockholm. 😉

criticca
Guest
criticca

You forgot Janet Devlin 😉

Ron
Guest
Ron

@Con, I believe the very late announcement in 2009 was because they were planning something else but it fell through and they announced an NF in December instead.

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

Deven: Bob Geldolf has achieved a lot of brilliant things in his life, but songwriting is not one of them. I get what you’re saying, though.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

I would be happy to see Ireland go internal. We only tried it once and it worked out very well (At a time when there was a lot of neighbour voting.). But personally, I would like to see someone like Bono or Bob Geldof write/compose the song and have someone who is young, talented, telegenic, with chemistry and has a powerful voice. But most of all, is credible. But realistically, I think Markus Feehily, Shane Filan, HomeTown or LIIR should go to Stockholm in the event of an internal selection. Or even Ryan Dolan. This time, with a genuine top… Read more »

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

I would love to see the band KeyWest perform for the Irish. Great band, amazing songs AND very good at live performing. I saw them perform in Dublin and I was sold.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Id like to see Shane Filan, Nadine Coyle or Marcus Feehily go to Eurovision for Ireland. They are well known in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia so it could be good for votes. RTE has gone down the celtic route before with Dervish, Niamh Kavanagh in 2010 and Kasey Smith and it didnt work so well, so I dont know about Liir, The Corrs or Celtic woman, although they are good and could gather quite a few points. I definitely do not want Nathan Carter or Daniel O’Donnell to represent us, massive no! Europe wont get Nathans country style and… Read more »

Herr Freitag
Guest
Herr Freitag

An internal selection would be the best for Ireland! A good singer who can performan is the first thing they need and then they need the song! A NF is expensive and the money for it you can spent on the song! I think a Ballad wouldn’t be a good choice – what about a song in a different music genre and not that usual Pop-Songs – The Netherlands 2014 had a Country Song, Belgium 2015 Synthpop, Armenia 2014 a Dubstep Song or Poland 2014 who had a Hip-Hop/Folk-Song! All of them were in the final and successful so Ireland… Read more »

Con
Guest
Con

We could still have a Late Late Show style National Final. In 2010, RTÉ issued a public call for songs on the 10th of December 2009 which would also have been the date on which the details of the National Final would have been revealed. Don’t rule out the Late Late Show Eurosong 2016 just yet!

@EugeneESCUK
Guest

One thing is for sure Ireland and RTÉ HAVE TO ditch the The Late Late Show approach. NF’s that have guests commenting on the songs in between songs is the worst type of NF going for obvious reasons. Secondly they HAVE TO ditch anyone connected with Ireland ESC past and in particular Linda Martin. TG4 have also got it wrong with the JESC with an NF where the Nation don’t vote?? WHAT?? That’s basically Internal Selection!! Let’s hope they have selected the right song though? Yes it might be time for Internal Selection for Ireland. Get relevant people in the… Read more »

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Cathal: Problem is, internal selections don’t always work for everyone. Consider the U.K.’s last 2 internal efforts.

György
Guest
György

Samantha Mumba is the only known artist that could make something for them… Ireland has completely lost it, sorry.

Huh
Guest
Huh

The list should have included The Cranberries too.

blondboybc
Guest
blondboybc

OMG! Choose the Corrs or Celtic Woman…two of my absolute fav Irish groups!!
But, watch, they’re going to choose someone obscure….

Steven
Guest
Steven

I am in love with this Nadine/Shane duet! Some of the guys on the list make me shudder in sheer terror. Honestly though it has been so quiet for Ireland. We need a statement song because we’re just gonna keep going in the wrong direction otherwise.

Charles
Guest
Charles

Markus Feehily … end of discussion!

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Celtic Woman sound like the sort of thing Ireland would like to send.

Derek McGinn
Guest
Derek McGinn

I think that if Ireland were to choose their entry for 2016 We would like a national final away from The Late Late Show and that will give our nation a huge boost

Cathal
Guest
Cathal

I wonder because Belgium in 2015 and Netherlands ( The ) in 2014 did so well with internal selections considering how rubbish there recent records where maybe RTE have finally realised that internal selections are now the new best thing.

Robyn Gallagher
Guest
Robyn Gallagher

RTÉ doesn’t seem to have a lot of money to spend on their ESC entry, so I’d rather see them put it all towards a good quality internally selected entry than having to waste some of their budget on yet another lacklustre NF show. My main requirement though – that Ireland kill the idea that the secret to winning again is entering a song in the style of their 1990s winners. Just imagine if Sweden had this mentality and their entries in the 2010s were in the style of “Fångad av en stormvind” and “Take Me to Your Heaven”. If… Read more »

Amerivision
Guest
Amerivision

Ah if only Westlife pulls a Blue and reunite…. a girl can dream. But I’ll be happy if Mark (or Markus as he going by now) competes for Ireland.

Just no Jedward or let The Late Late Show host a NF again!!!

beccaboo1212
Guest

I’ve always thought Hozier was American, Canadian, or British. —- I’ve never heard of Kodaline. Sorry about that. —- What?!?!? My mom and I are big fans of U2! We each have a few of their songs our iPods – I have “With or Without You” and “Vertigo”, while mommy has “Mysterious Ways” and “New Year’s Day”. What’s going on? —- Celtic Woman’s rendition of “Orinoco Flow” appears to sound similar to the Enya original, right? Needless to say, Enya’s version is on mommy’s iPod. —- Are you crazy? Wiwibloggs doesn’t want Sinéad O’Connor in Stockholm? What’s going on?!?!? —-… Read more »

Cathal
Guest
Cathal

I mean, I know RTE are stupid but surely they aren’t dumb enough to continue with this shite we call a NF :O, if they do they might swell withdraw they have already made us Irish ESC fans the laughing stocks of Europe so now time for some redemption!

Cathal
Guest
Cathal

We best go internal, RTE are incapable of running a NF without selling there soul!

The only time we have gone internal since the start of semi finals was in 2006 and we got a top 10 that year so….yeah!

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

My horse money’s on Feehily, after hearing “Love Is A Drug”. But I still want Audrey Gallagher to get in on this! >:-P

Tom
Guest
Tom

What about The Saturdays? 🙂

Popopo
Guest
Popopo

Celtic woman could work very well with the right song

William Cahill
Editor

All these acts are so amazing! Celtic Woman would definitely slay the pack!

Zack
Guest
Zack

Wait wait wait! The Corrs are releasing a comeback album!?