Ireland Lesley Roy First Rehearsal Eurovision 2021
Photo: EBU / ANDRES PUTTING

It’s the country that’s returning to a national final for the first time since 2015. And while Ireland’s Eurovision 2022 selection will once more take the form of a The Late Late Show special, everything won’t necessarily be as before. Speaking in an upcoming episode of The Euro Trip podcast, Head of Delegation Michael Kealy has revealed that he’s considering making changes to the voting format.

Public may have less of a say in Ireland’s Eurovision 2022 selection

Ireland’s most recent selection shows saw a 50/50 split between public and jury votes. However, Kealy appears keen to move away from this, towards a format which will see a three-way split between the public, a national jury and an international jury.

He tells the podcast that: “We’ll probably have a combination of a national jury, an international jury and the public deciding which of those five or six songs will represent us in Turin. I think it’s going to be 33% Irish public, 33% national jury and 33% international jury. That’s my thinking at the moment but that might change.”

He also reveals that RTÉ received 320 submissions and that the date is tentatively set for Friday 21 January. However, he caveats this by saying “you can pencil in but don’t hold me to it”.

When asked why the broadcaster is returning to the Friday night chat show, Kealy repeats the delegation’s usual spiel about budget: “It’s quite simply down to finance. I would love to do a Melfest style show where we have six weeks of heats and finals but it’s down to finance. RTÉ isn’t a rich organisation – we’re the opposite of that. So we have to be prudent about how we do things. I got the message from the fans. They wanted a say in what we were doing, they wanted to see a selection of songs, they wanted a chance to vote on them in a final. I explored the possibility of doing a standalone broadcast from a theatre or somewhere, but the finances just don’t add up. If I did that, we wouldn’t be able to do Dancing With The Stars.”

The Late Late Eurosong Special

In its earlier forms, the national selection on The Late Late Show gave us Niamh Kavanagh’s “It’s For You”, Jedward’s “Lipstick” and “Waterline” and Ryan Dolan’s “Only Love Survives”, among others. And we can’t forget that infamous Linda Martin fight. The format hasn’t been used since 2015 when Molly Sterling won with “Playing with Numbers.”

Speaking in September about the return, Ireland’s Head of Delegation for Eurovision Michael Kealy said:

“I am very excited by the return of a Eurovision National Final on The Late Late Show and the prospect of giving the public a greater say in selecting our entry for Italy.”

“Every year the Eurovision gets bigger and more competitive than ever and given the enormous exposure and huge financial rewards for the winner I’m hopeful that we will attract a very high calibre of songwriter and performer.”

“This year’s artist Lesley Roy has gained tens of thousands of fans all over Europe on the back of her involvement with Eurovision and her very strong social media presence. She’s currently on an extensive tour of the UK and Ireland.”

Ireland has mixed fortunes with its earlier version of a national final held as part of The Late Late Show. While the contest took Ireland into the Eurovision top ten with Jedward’s “Lipstick”, it also gave the country a last-place finish in the grand final and two non-qualifiers.

Eurovision 2022 will be the first time Ireland has held a national final since 2015. All of its subsequent acts were chosen internally: Nicky Byrne, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Brendan Murray, Sarah McTernan and Lesley Roy.

Only Ryan managed to make the grand final, placing 16th in Lisbon.

What do you think of Michael Kealy’s proposed voting system? Do you agree with the changes? Let us know below.

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Lise
Lise
6 days ago

RTÉ is being very quiet about this national selection… Rumoured to be occurring in 11 days and still nothing? Hummm.

Jack Popfield
Jack Popfield
1 month ago

Ireland – the first country to win ESC 3 years running and now set to be the first country to finish last 3 years running, what’s the matter with RTE!? Is it that hard creating a new NF method of 8-12 songs on a Saturday night with an ecstatic audience? Why go back to square one on the Late Late Show when it’s clear that format (which did deliver a few decent entries in the past) would NEVER work for Eurovision has evolved and matured in such a quick period of time now.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Popfield

Even doing internal selections is no excuse for the poor results and quality of songs.
many nations do quite well at internal selections take the netherlands when avrotos took over from NOS they turned the countrys fortune around doing internal with a second place and then a win a few years ago not to mention countless qualifiers.
if RTE have no money then dont continue to waste it by taking part and more than likely languish at the bottom of the semi final once again

Peter M
Peter M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Popfield

It just wouldn’t get the viewers at all. Eurovision isn’t popular in Ireland. People will watch the final but very few will watch a national final.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter M

Do it well and you will get the viewers. That’s how television works.

Peter M
Peter M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

We’re talking about this year. Eurovision isn’t popular enough here to get viewers. You’d want to have your head buried in the sand not to see that. It would take years of qualifications and good entries in order to get people’s opinions to change and that’s not going to happen. RTE will not spend the money on it, nor will they be able to attract enough quality acts.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter M

In 2018, the last time Ireland was in the final, the contest was the eleventh most-watched programme of the year. Most of the ones ahead of it were sports. If RTÉ had any sense, they would appreciate it more.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

irishtimes.com/business/media-and-marketing/most-watched-tv-programmes-of-2018-revealed-1.3753641

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Dancing with the Stars is number 22, by the way…

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

disaster written all over it

Romania Eurovision 2021
Romania Eurovision 2021
1 month ago

33% is better than 17,5% of public vote in 2019 in Romania or 2020 when 50% were the juries and 50% Roxen choice.
But now serious, in the national selections need to be 50% juries and 50% public, or just 100% public…just my opinion

Last edited 1 month ago by Romania Eurovision 2021
Craig H
Craig H
1 month ago

I think the problem with a makeshift National final slotted into an episode of a regular show is the quality of artist that will want to take part.
All well and good to change the voting structure, but it’ll make no difference If the quality of the entries and performers is sub-par to start with.

Erik
Erik
1 month ago

We’re all very keen to know who will decide that final 1%

Darren
Darren
1 month ago

I’ll watch it but at this point I do think care anymore what we send.
Until RTÉ start putting the effort in, all of this is meaningless.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Darren

Don’t you mean you don’t care about what Ireland sends anymore? The comment seems like you do care.

Darren
Darren
1 month ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

Predictive text

I don’t care

Princess Peregrine
Princess Peregrine
1 month ago

I think doing it on the Late Late Show is the wrong format. Wrong audience, time and show format. What’s so bad with having a cheap-ish show? At least all songs can be performed concurrently and voted on by people who are actually interested. The low cost format worked for Ireland in the 90s very well. It should be about the song and then they can focus on great staging for the actual contest later. Their main focus should be on song quality and getting a great range of songs for the final.

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
1 month ago

An exciting national final in the Helix or the Limerick University Hall would be ideal, but obviously RTE are quite skint. I only recently found out they have Thier own version of Strictly, I saw one clip and whilst I’m sure it’s a great show, it’s funny seeing a much smaller set and no lavish staging options (I understand some may prefer that).

If somehow they found an amazing song that went on to get that 8th win, how would they stage it? Where will they get the Dosh to put on a 21st century contest?

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

What happened to the RTÉ that was able for four Eurovisions in five years?

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Bankrupt and overdrawn by hosting four contests in such a short period time. I don’t think it’s intentionally done, I always feel like host country sometimes deliberately send weaker songs just so they don’t end up hosting twice in a row.

Michaelcrosse
Michaelcrosse
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

The songs that are submitted just aren’t as good looking back at previous national finals some2nd place songs were bettter than recent winners crystal eyes 2nd1994 and my pet parrot k black Roy Taylor (I hope he is in good health) in 1982 to name but a few

Michaelcrosse
Michaelcrosse
1 month ago
Reply to  Michaelcrosse

I notice that Albania have posted their 20 finalist online for everyone to hear maybe rte could consider doing this and have maybe a percentage vote in what songs make the final 5,or 6 National final

Whisker
Whisker
1 month ago

Sweden, I’m rooting for you.

Peter M
Peter M
1 month ago

I would love to see HODs from other successful countries actually come on the Late Late Show to actually talk about what works for them and actually speak passionately about the contest and what it means to people in their country. There is absolutely no point just getting the same people every year to talk about it.

Peter M
Peter M
1 month ago

I think what it does, is give more of a chance for acts to use the national final as a springboard. The Late Late Show usually attracts a good amount of viewers. It does help that the likes of “Picture This” have come out saying that Eurovision is something they might be interested in doing in the future. I’m really hoping we have a national final which is good quality. Too many times, we’ve ended up with 1 or 2 decent songs and the rest are just so bland or awful.

Michael crosse
Michael crosse
1 month ago

This idea is worth a try song quality is the key

Sharon
Sharon
1 month ago

Yawn, RTE gets millions and millions per year their stars earn hundreds of thousands, bull regarding the finances, ugh complete flop flop year after year wish him the best personally but in a different job far away from Eurovision.

Nils
Nils
1 month ago

Pretty much the voting system that gave Germany S!sters

Nils
Nils
1 month ago
Reply to  Nils

Yep, you remember it correctly. Still one of the two juries awarded them with their top points. So having so-called experts isn’t automatically a good thing. As a German, I learnt it the hard way: In 2013, so-called experts were instrumental in choosing Cascada instead of LaBrassBanda. In 2017, so-called expert Florian Silbereisen alone made the public change its mind completely in just 10 minutes and vote for the super dull ‘Perfect Life’ instead of the okay-ish ‘Wildfire’. Well, and as I’ve mentioned, there was 2019, with the ‘international jury’ preferring S!sters over Lily among Clouds and Aly Ryan. As… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Nils
Robyn Gallagher
Admin
Robyn Gallagher(@robyngallagher)
1 month ago
Reply to  Nils

On the other hand, it was the Portuguese juries whose vote ensured that Salvador Sobral won FdC and went to Eurovision instead of the televote favourite, popera group Viva La Diva.

Liam
Liam
1 month ago

I don’t really mind what voting system we use. But please, can we send a song in Irish? Please? I’ll never shut up about it until we do 😀

Noel
Noel
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam

I think that if Ireland was to send a song in Irish we could win it

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Noel

I don’t know about winning, but it would be a nice change of pace for Ireland. If you want to hear Irish sung, you should check out Junior Eurovision. They always send songs in mostly Irish, because Irish language channel is the broadcaster for Junior Eurovision, And they use the contest as an opportunity to show off the language.

A bilingual English-Irish song might be the most They could do for the adult contest, or only a few lines.

Peter M
Peter M
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam

I think languages like French, Italian and even Ukrainian to a certain extend have more of a familiarity with people around Europe. I’d be fine with sending a good song with maybe a few lines of Irish, but I think we’re better off keeping the lyrics in English. Obviously, song quality comes first though.

Dawid
Dawid
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter M

Call me na idiot but who other than italians and San Marino speaks italian in ESC?

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter M

I think Ireland can risk it, the only way is up. Even a little – like Poli Genova 2016. The Bulgarian was my favourite part of the song.

Kaitlin
Kaitlin
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam

50 years since our last

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Kaitlin

1972 was the last time for Maltese too.

Esc addict
Esc addict
1 month ago

Since years, none of the countries involved in Eurovision have found the perfect voting system for their NF to assure each years a top 5 or a top 10 finish in the Esc for their country. I guess it’s because it doesn’t exist. Here the voting system suggested seems not bad. However it gives less power to the public which is not the best thing imo, and if the local jury, the international jury, and the public haven’t the same winners, we can ended with a winning act that was not the best in fact. It’s the problem with this… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Esc addict
Polegend Godgarina
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc addict

in my opinion, if you’re going to hold a national selection then there’s no place for international juries. it’s supposed to select the national representative not the representative of random foreign jurors. like yeah i get it s!sters weren’t the correct choice for esc but if that’s who german people wanted representing them, then it’s fine.

Esc addict
Esc addict
1 month ago

It depends if do a national final to search absolutely the best song for Eurovision and specifically for Eurovision or if you do a festival like San Remo which is a festival of italian music then it makes sense to not have international jurors involved in that. The main goal of San Remo is not to find an esc act.
For me an international jury is always interesting because even if some of them are biased or random (like some local juries I would say) they give at least a little indication of what could work or not abroad.

Esc addict
Esc addict
1 month ago

RTÉ is not the richest broadcaster ok I get that, the HOD doesn’t want to make a cheap NF in a theatre or other, due to the lack of budget it would appear too cheap, it’s honourable imo, so it makes sense to adapt the format of a NF in a show already existing, it saves money and it can bring interest for Eurovision into the already established shows usual audience. Now is the late show one of the most watched show in Ireland? If you want to have a big impact maybe you should do a dancing with the… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Esc addict
Liv
Liv
1 month ago
Reply to  Esc addict

The late late show is the most watched show on irish tv, its very consistent. Almost every year their big Christmas special “the late late toy show” is the most watched piece of irish tv of the year. It has a guaranteed audience.

Esc addict
Esc addict
1 month ago
Reply to  Liv

Ok ty for this information, so I wish them a big audience success for the late show national final édition.

ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
1 month ago

Even though RTE is not as wealthy as SVT and thus can’t organize a Melodifestivalen-style national selection, they could surely create their own national final format besides the Late Late Show or copy Switzerland’s internal selection process.

Denis
Denis
1 month ago

By that comment about budget it also kind off show what RTE priorities. Clearly it’s not Eurosong. That also might be a further comment to what public broadcasters should focus on..
We have here in Sweden and surely Scandinavian countries debates whether or not SVT should have Melodifestivalen in it’s line up and whether public service broadcast should focus on entertainment at all. Seems like RT ask the same question..

Last edited 1 month ago by Denis
Hello hi
Hello hi
1 month ago

All Ireland needs to start with is a new HOD. RTE is toxic cronyism

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Hello hi

How? I just read on Wikipedia that they got their first female director-general in 2016, the first outside appointment in fifty years. She took over from Noel Curran, who is now the EBU boss.

Hmm
Hmm
1 month ago

I can understand the budget issue, but why are these HoD people always saying: “It’s this small selection or megasize superfestival!”? DMGP and UMK are much closer to what Ireland could do.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Hmm

Yeah, if they can do it for the junior contest, they can do it for this too.

Yep
Yep
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

TG4 are in charge of Junior
RTÉ are in charge of Senior

Two different budgets

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Yep

They both come from public money – it’s just weird that the smaller broadcaster can do it, but the bigger one can’t.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Apples and oranges. As Michael Kealy explained, RTE depends on some of their big budget programs for continued revenue, which I assume rate well for them to be kept long-term. How the broadcaster will be able to get out of their financial situation is beyond his mandate as HOD.

TG4 doesn’t have that kind of issue. While they don’t have the biggest market share in Irish TV, they see organizing Junior Eurovision Eire as an opportunity to promote the Irish language to a younger audience so they probably see this more of an investment.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  James

Thanks. It would be nice if they could somehow combine the two and send Ireland’s first Irish-language song since 1972, fifty years ago.

irn bru
irn bru
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

you realise TG4 is the irish language broadcaster and merging the two would be highly destructive to Irish culture

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  irn bru

I meant only for picking Eurovision songs. A song in Irish for Turin would only be good for the language.

Apollo
Apollo
1 month ago

This is a good idea since most rural Irish people simply vote on acts that are from their area. For example, see the last two winners and runners-up from Ireland’s Got Talent. International and jury votes do generally better represent what Europe will actually vote for at Eurovision.

However, this doesn’t fix the bigger problem, Ireland needs an actual national selection and not just a talk-show spin-off! I would actually prefer if Ireland’s delegation was totally revamped and they internally selected instead. Internal selections are the only way forward for smaller or underfunded broadcasters.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 month ago
Reply to  Apollo

Ireland has done internal selections for the last six years and it has only resulted in one qualification in 2018. Truthfully, it’s delegation needs to be overhauled, but until that happens, Ireland is still stuck with the same people.

Thomas Sturley
1 month ago

I understand budget works but the Dancing with the Stars comment was just…rubbing me the wrong way

Jofty
Jofty
1 month ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

Yes, who gives a monkeys about that

peter m
peter m
1 month ago
Reply to  Thomas Sturley

Dancing with the stars attracts a lot more viewers than a Eurovision national final, unfortunately.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  peter m

The last one was thirteen years ago, though, so we can’t really know that.

Jofty
Jofty
1 month ago
Reply to  peter m

Perhaps the dancers could perform to the national final songs? Would be interesting to see them shimmy around to the likes of Maps, for example.

peter m
peter m
1 month ago

Things that drive me absolutely mad about having it on the Late Late Show are: 1. You have one song performed, then they chat for ages about the song or bring a guest on, so it’s tough to know when the other songs are going to be performed. Just perform them one after the other, with short intervals. 2. You have an audience who couldn’t give a toss about Eurovision. Get Eurovision fans involved! 3. Ryan Tubridy doesn’t know about Eurovision. Get Marty Whelan to host that edition and let Tubridy take a back seat. 4. Pretending that the only… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  peter m

The last time was 2015… will it still be the same seven years later?

peter m
peter m
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

Well, it’s going to be on the Late Late Show again, so I’d imagine we’ll have some of the winners from the 90’s talking about Eurovision and what’s gone wrong for Ireland, then we’ll probably have a song or two, then random guests with the rest of the song dotted between those guests, plus an interval act with old Ireland and UK winners being performed, along with maybe Waterloo and Euphoria. There was one year, they had Martin Sheen as a guest in the middle of a Eurovision national final. The man had never even heard of Eurovision before and… Read more »

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
1 month ago
Reply to  peter m

I seem to remember Danny deVito was there once, did they ask his opinion? Did he know what was going on?

Liam
Liam
1 month ago
Reply to  peter m

Couldn’t agree more! Anything to do with Eurovision on the Late Late is always just another opportunity to have Linda Martin and others rant on about a contest that has changed greatly since they won it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the 90s winners, but it’s time we brought in some people who know about modern Eurovision. Great point about Marty Whelan hosting also, that’s a great idea!

Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam

I mean, credit where it’s due: most of those winners, especially folks like Johnny Logan and Niamh Kavanagh, still actively follow the contest and have well-formed opinions on what works and what doesn’t outside of their own personal experiences years ago. Katrina Leskanich is also like that, and she had some smart comments about the contest and what the UK needs to do to improve. Not every winner is like that (plenty of them aren’t), but the ones who are know their stuff.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago

Padraig, please volunteer for the Irish jury – you know what to do.