Over the past two weeks aspiring Junior Eurovision stars Walter McCabe and Zena Donnelly advanced to the final of Ireland’s JESC 2016 selection.

And on Sunday Clíona NicDhomhnaill joined them with her song “Ag Seasamh Le Mo Réaltais” — a spiritual ballad that serves traditional instrumentation and some major Celtic realness.

She’s young, but her vocals are powerful and precise, and Clíona is ready to slay! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQoSAAhMyU4

The third night of Ireland’s JESC selection once again saw eight acts performing their songs in Irish, the official language of Ireland, alongside English.

Permanent jury members Fiachna Ó Braonáin and Pauline Avalon evaluated the acts alongside guest judge Sandie Jones, who represented Ireland at the 1972 contest and finished in 15th place. Her entry “Ceol an Ghrá” (“The Music of Love”) remains the only Irish-language song Ireland has ever sent to the adult Eurovision.

The jury panel chose Rachel Haughney‘s song “Na Réaltai sa Spéir” and Clíona NicDhomhnaill‘s “Ag Seasamh Le Mo Réaltais” as the two best songs, and in the head-to-head battle the latter was the clear winner, with both Fiachna and Pauline voting for her, making Sandie Jones’s vote unnecessary for a majority.

The winner of the November 6 final will succeed Aimee Banks as Ireland’s second representative at Junior Eurovision. Last year Aimee finished in 12th place with the song “Réalta Na Mara” (“Star of The Sea”).

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Ron
Ron
4 years ago

@ Nitzan, TG4 would see itself very much as promoting Irish culture and there would be a lot of Irish traditional music featured on the channel, so yes I would imagine any traditional sounding songs would probably have an edge with the judges.

That was a very strong semi final, John and I think we’ll surely see Rachel Haughney in the final as a wildcard. Clíona is from Roscrea in County Tipperary but I believe she goes to a Gaelscoil and has an Irish trad background.

Nitzan
Nitzan
4 years ago

They seem to be really keen on sending this style aren’t they?

John Egan
John Egan
4 years ago

I was struck by the quality in this heat–there were at least 4 songs better than either of the two earlier qualifiers. Both the wildcards might come from this episode. Cliona’s Irish was noticeably better than most of the others…from a gaeltacht I guess?

Ron
Ron
4 years ago

@xESCx Rachel’s song is a much more typical Eurovision ballad and yes, probably more suited to JESC, as the sound is very familiar.

I’ve a suspicion the two Irish speaking judges may go for Clíona’s one though : it’s very traditional and authentic and something you’d expect to hear on TG4. Zena has to be a strong contender as well.

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

Okay, so we were both half-right. 🙂

Darren
Darren
4 years ago

Her name is actually McDonnell in English, not O’Donnell or McDonald. And it’s prounounced Nee- doh-nall

xESCx
xESCx
4 years ago

@Ron it’s not suited for JESC, kids won’t listen to some celtic fashioned song that they find boring. I personally like the song but i thought Rachel’s was better. Zena all the way!<3

Jonas
Jonas
4 years ago

Actually, I believe it would be “O’Donnell” in English.

Ron
Ron
4 years ago

I think Clíona could actually win the ticket to Malta ahead of Zena. This is the purest form of Irish trad music sung by Clíona in the [I]Sean Nós[/I] fashion (‘old style’). The lyrics are beautiful too and she’s a fine singer.

@Bermooda, her name is McDonald in English.

xESCx
xESCx
4 years ago

OK now it’s almost certain it’s gonna be Zena

Bermooda
Bermooda
4 years ago

Nice last name she has