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.