He’s the former Sex Pistol known for his rebellious spirit and anything-goes attitude. And on Tuesday John Lydon let it all hang out once again as he discussed Eurosong 2023 on Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1 with Cormac Ó hEadhra and Sarah McInerney.

Mr. Lydon — the artist formerly known as Johnny Rotten — is one of six finalists in Ireland’s Eurovision selection. But when asked if he watches Eurovision, he said “no, never.”

“Just absolutely not. It’s absolutely awful. The songs, the whole thing of it is disgusting to me. I’m a songwriter. I perform live. These shows, they just come off so dreadfully phoney to me. We’re giving it a chance to break out of that mould.”

John Lydon says Eurovision is “absolutely awful” and “disgusting”

 

As all of you are well aware, artists at Eurovision do sing live. It’s just that they’re accompanied by a backing track — another point of contention for John, who is competing in Eurosong with his band Public Image Ltd.

“Apparently I have to — I’m karaoke over a backing track,” he said. “This is nothing I’ve ever done in my life.”

His take on Eurovision is deeply unfortunate — and one that’s sparked outrage among many Eurovision fans and journalists in Ireland. 

John’s attitude aside, it’s clear that writing his song “Hawaii” has been deeply rewarding for him.

It’s a love letter to Nora, his wife of 50 years, who now lives with Alzheimer’s. In plaintive tones, John, who is also her full-time carer, begs her to remember the happy days they spent together on the Pacific Islands.

“What a fantastic opportunity these people have given me,” he said. “I cried my eyes out writing it and recording it. For them to have appreciated that and put it forward like this…my wife, when she sees this, it’s going to melt her. It’s the most rewarding thing.”

“It’s as heart-wrenching as I could possibly be. I’ve always been honest in my songwriting. This is a side, I suppose, most people don’t know, or don’t want to know, about.”

“It’s a tragedy and I have to face it every single day…it’s not meant to be dead-pan dreary and self-serving. There’s a touch of humour there. Hawaii. Of all the things to sing about when I’m supposed to be representing Ireland.”

And while the subdued song may not smack of the sounds John is known for, he says his potential Eurovision participation is still very much against the grain. After all, he was born in England.

“It’s incredibly punk,” he said. “That’s the irony of it all. Life throws up the unexpected at you occasionally, and here I am representing Ireland.”

Johnny will be competing against the following 5 acts in the final of Ireland’s Eurosong 2023:

  • ADGY with “Too Good for Your Love”
  • CONNOLLY with “Midnight Summer Night”
  • Wild Youth with “We Are One”
  • Leila Jane with “Wild”
  • K Muni & ND (Kofi Appiah and Nevlonne Dampare) with “Down in the Rain”

Do you think that John’s comments about Eurovision will hurt him in the contest? Do you think that he has any understanding of modern Eurovision? Let us know what you’re thinking down below!

117 Comments
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Gmisk
Gmisk
1 year ago

Awful man and a truly awful song…the perfect match

Argon
Argon
1 year ago

He never watches it …. except he happened to watch it last year. What a fake. I bet he knows all the words to Ding A Dong.

Dawid
Dawid
1 year ago

I mean, nobody forces you to be involved in aby way

Devito
1 year ago

The picture of Eurovision has changed drastically over the past twenty years. While the older generation is struggling to accept these changes, younger generations are falling in love with Eurovision more and more. If we were to take a picture like 10-15 years ago, I know many people in my neighborhood who were embarrassed to talk about Eurovision because it was an analogue of neighborvision, pathethic circus, borefest, and so on. Now, when I look at them and the younger generations, they are becoming more and more proud to be invested in Eurovision. For this reason, many more youngsters see… Read more »

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Devito

Sorry but to make this about old vs. young is ageism and discriminatory. I know plenty of young people that find ESC a waist of time and older people that love it, just the way it is and also the way around. Look at Sobral at his positions, and he hasn’t even reached 30.

Rall
Rall
1 year ago
Reply to  L’oiseau

Oh shut up please. While it may not be your experience it clearly is his.

Pancake
Pancake
1 year ago

I have nothing good to say about his song, anyway, so I rather not say them. But to slim it all down, this lyric pretty much sums it up:

“You thought I was feeling you?”

Mbappe
Mbappe
1 year ago

Ahaha, the S*x Pistols themselves are easily one of the most overrated bands ever, a grand total of one album that hasn’t aged well at all and sounds insignificant today. His notoriety is the only reason this amateur hour track with lyrics that read like they could have been written by just about anyone is gaining any traction. Nothing personal tho, I wish him and his wife all the best.

Zanoni
Zanoni
1 year ago
Reply to  Mbappe

PiL’s always been where the real action is with Lydon, though

Not good
Not good
1 year ago

Eurovision isn’t seen cringe and embarrassing by young viewers anymore, but more as on open and acceptable contest where you can be yourself, so these people who call it bad, awful and so on make themselves more of an outcast these days.

Kinda embarrassing that he thinks that this attitude makes him look cool, but this is how many people comment on Eurovision still.

Argon
Argon
1 year ago
Reply to  Not good

True. Although people were saying exactly what you just said in 1974.

Xxx
Xxx
1 year ago

He acts so snobbishly as if his song isn’t pure garbage. We don’t need this homophobe, Trump supporter, and Eurovision hater.

Gray
Gray
1 year ago
Reply to  Xxx

Are you a Sniffer Joe paedo supporter? He doesn’t like Eurovision , so that makes him a homophobe? He gained my respect when he fourt against the covid hoax and clot shots.

Jamie
Jamie
1 year ago
Reply to  Gray

Why are the most prominent antivaxxers dropping dead from covid now? Rest in piss, Lynette Hardaway.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Jamie

Lisa Marie Presley
Andy Fletcher Depeche mode
Foo fighters zztop God knows how many sportsmen
All pro covid experimental jabs
Get your facts straight

Skeletor
Skeletor
1 year ago
Reply to  Xxx

Since when was Lydon a homophobe?
And dhat does political opinions have to do with this?
It seems a little fascist to say you have to support certain politicians and not others to make it into a song contest.

Rall
Rall
1 year ago
Reply to  Skeletor

Well you have to do it in Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general to get ahead.

Vivian
Vivian
1 year ago

So basically he shares the same opinion as everyone who criticizes Eurovision yet he too never actually pays attention to what’s actually IN it aside from a few entries that are nearly universally disliked? Yes, winners like Netta and Conchita are globally seen as acts not to be taken seriously and often seen as poster children for people to say “Eurovision is bad!” and “You can only do well in Eurovision if you’re overly gay” etc. which by itself is an utterly disgusting mindset. But seriously… If you don’t like something, that’s perfectly fine. Everyone has likes and dislikes. It’s… Read more »

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Vivian

Everyone thankfully quickly forgot about Mika again as soon as the eurovision party hangover kicked in. He was useless

Milan
Milan
1 year ago

He understands the modern day Eurovision only too well. Calling a spade a spade – there should be no problem about it.

Pandaman
Pandaman
1 year ago
Reply to  Milan

He obviously can have and share his opinion, but it also comes from a single, most negative perspective. He doesn’t watch it, he doesn’t follow it. He doesn’t see the passion Eurovision fans have, nor the connection that participating artists share with them. He doesn’t speak of emotions that the shows he’s trying to slam so hard convey in people, stories that are sparking up with the very first mention of pre-season events. Sure, it’s his view, no one can take that away from him. But it’s a view on something he seems to only know about from the most… Read more »

Milan
Milan
1 year ago
Reply to  Pandaman

Thanks for the reply, you explained perfectly clearly what he may be missing (I know next to nothing about him or his music). I wouldn’t say he makes it toxic on purpose, I think what annoys most people here is that he just doesn’t care.

laampa
laampa
1 year ago

What a jerk… he does not appreciate REAL music!! And if he does not like Eurovision, he should not be watching it, but WHY degrade the good songs that I’ve heard through YEARS of watching Eurovision and listening to its songs?!

Trocatroc
Trocatroc
1 year ago

He doesn’t value serious vocalists and he never has done. So he doesn’t get that part of performing and sees it as trivial. My mum (a fan of the sex pistols and the punk era back in the day) is the same. They cone from a time of when singing well was considered square and conformist. Basically a bunch of pre internet edge lords.

Pandaman
Pandaman
1 year ago

How exactly can a guy who never watches Eurovision judge its merits? Is he a psychic? Or is he stuck in the long gone age of kitschy tv shows?

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Pandaman

Allo Allo anyone?

Pauly
Pauly
1 year ago

Let’s pray and hope that he will tank in the juries because the public will definitely vote for him for many reasons. His entry has already gathered a lot of attention. I am sure the international jury will place him last.

Pauly
Pauly
1 year ago

and we also express our opinion. He’s a singer entering a song for a contest he hates and calls phoney and ridiculous. Guess what, there are consequences of this opinion when he’s becoming an idiot.

Milan
Milan
1 year ago
Reply to  Pauly

Unfortunately he’s right to quite an extent.

Pauly
Pauly
1 year ago

All live TV shows are more or less karaoke shows, look at awards shows for example. Eurovision is a HUGE TV music content and it’s impossible to have live orchestra for 40 countries.

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Pauly

I don’t see why. In any case, is not so much an issue of orchestra, but allowing for life instruments on stage, which would make it much more interesting.

moramento
moramento
1 year ago
Reply to  Pauly

The 1998 contest had 25 countries and was only one show, not 3.
Modern contest is essentially three shows in a week span, if you had a full orchestra you would have to add another week at least to the whole schedule of the contest for orchestral rehearsals.
And also out of the 25 countries in 1998, 7 didn’t use the orchestra at all as they didn’t have to.

Jofty
Jofty
1 year ago
Reply to  moramento

Hard Rock Hallelujah might have been nice with an orchestra

Moonstar
Moonstar
1 year ago

His family is not participating.

DonutLover
DonutLover
1 year ago

Ok but why is he competing then lol

Pauly
Pauly
1 year ago
Reply to  DonutLover

because he is a has-been and loves the attention.

Jamie
Jamie
1 year ago

Sounds like trolling for bait, meh. If he’s talking about pre-2010 ESC (presumably the only editions he’s ever watched), then I agree. It was a kitschy sh-tshow. Eurovision has grown a lot since then.

Milan
Milan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jamie

Not all growth is good growth.

Mbappe
Mbappe
1 year ago
Reply to  Milan

The contest started to pick up towards the end of the 2000’s, but that decade up until about 2007 was quite rough actually. The 90’s were generally a much better time for ESC, aside from the current jury+televote era I’d say it was the most interesting one also.

Jamie
Jamie
1 year ago
Reply to  Milan

More and more ESC songs dominate worldwide charts. Has this happened before? Nope. Maybe the winner, but even that was rare. ESC was garbage before it picked on the more mainstream route. It’s a proper modern contest now. Sure, it has some flaws, but I just cannot stand watching pre-2010 editions, the cringe is too strong.

Milan
Milan
1 year ago
Reply to  Jamie

This may not nave that much to do with the quality of Eurovision but with the way things are connected today more than ever.

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago

Sorry, but he is right. He used maybe too strong words. The songs are not awful nor disgusting or then he has to admit that his own song is as awful and disgusting as many others, as it seems of the same caliber. But he is absolutely right about the lack of authenticity and that many times the shows seem like an ultra sophisticated karaoke show, with the prohibition of at life instruments, with vocals in the back track and possibly in the near future even auto-tune. About what other people are reading into it, as being an hypetical event,… Read more »

Moonstar
Moonstar
1 year ago

“Hawaii” is bad. It sounds as if it was written by an amateur.

Skeletor
Skeletor
1 year ago
Reply to  Moonstar

Guarantee you didn’t listen to the song and if you fid your opinion has nothing to do with the actual song but the authors opinions and politics

Esc addict
Esc addict
1 year ago

Well….ok I respect you Mr Lydon for all your career and for the approach of your song Hawaii so it would be nice to respect the contest we all love here and moreover the contest in which you d’like to participate. Kind of Salvador Sobral vibes here so nothing new, revolutionary or “punk”, and this “punk” thing belongs to the last century, it’s so outdated, somebody should say it to Mr Lydon to prevent him to appear ridiculous. All the Eurovision songs are disgusting and it’s a karaoké but Mr Lydon with Hawaii will come to change it and to… Read more »

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
1 year ago

Never really liked anything he’s produced musically (and his national final entry is no exception) and as much as he’s entitled to his opinion, I have to question why he’d even want the platform of a contest he’s so disgusted by, and why the Irish selection committee would take away an opportunity from something that would be a lot more worthwhile than “Hawaii”.

Kosey
Kosey
1 year ago

Johnny Rotten is all about pushing against the establishment. If you’re offended by his comments, it’s because you are part of the establishment. There’s nothing wrong with being a part of the establishment, it means you have power and influence and are in the majority so you’re likely in a comfortable space.

Kallekula
Kallekula
1 year ago

I’m now at the age of 63. Perfectly within the time frame of both experiencing John’s arrival on the scene, parallel to the change (decline) of the Eurovision spectacle.
The Eurovision was a completely different beast back in those days, compared to what it has become today. Today the noise is more streamlined, very much less melody orientated. And, of course, it has become a freak show and vehicle for the woke movement.
You guys born into it do not understand us who have to experience the change of zeitgeist.

James
James
1 year ago
Reply to  Kallekula

Doesn’t mean a veteran in the music industry has to put down their younger counterparts just because he is “disgusted” by what they’re churning out.

Kosey
Kosey
1 year ago
Reply to  Kallekula

You raise an interesting topic about age and the passage of time. Johnny Rotten was the climate change activist of his time. What the young sometimes fail to understand is that the old are just the same as them but with different life contexts. What the old sometimes fail to understand is that the young are just like them but with different life contexts. A bit more understanding on both sides would be great. We are a lot more similar than we perhaps like to admit.

OzM
OzM
1 year ago

This is a song contest regardless of what Johnny says and this is song sucks. It’s dull, boring and repetitive. Nil points.

Jofty
Jofty
1 year ago
Reply to  OzM

Perhaps he can apply for Sweden next year

Kori Korotanov
Kori Korotanov
1 year ago

For some odd reason nobody says the real reason why Eurovision sucks: – because all countries regardless of population have the same televoting power – hypocrisy regarding climate change (virtue signaling vs needing 40 or smth cars to transport every single act to the red carpet – weird moral standards (blatant lgbtq propaganda is ok while swear words are not) – big 5 being pre-qualified – televoting numbers being pretty much made up (the actual amount of calls each country got is never revealed) – judges being such pussies that they need to hide how they voted (how about you… Read more »

L’oiseau
L’oiseau
1 year ago
Reply to  Kori Korotanov

He was talking about the music, not all the (fake) issues you are referring to.

Kori Korotanov
Kori Korotanov
1 year ago
Reply to  L’oiseau

These aren’t fake issues

Kori Korotanov
Kori Korotanov
1 year ago
Reply to  Kori Korotanov

It doesn’t matter. You can check the 2009 televoting numbers by Sweden and Finland which have been released. Swedes voted far more than the Finns and yet Finne had the same influencing power over the outcome.

West
West
1 year ago

A punk guy making rude, critical, radical and/or provoking statements? Well, colour me surprised. So “shocking”. He’s most likely all words just to make people talk (about him) and anger as many as possible. While it is possible that he does compete just to promote a song (which I like) or because his manager forced him or he lost a bet or something, he’s just trying to be controversial because it probably amuses him. Still I don’t want him to win (even though I like the song).

Zanoni
Zanoni
1 year ago
Reply to  West

Anger is an energy, after all.

Jofty
Jofty
1 year ago
Reply to  Zanoni

You could be wrong, you could be right

Hu Hu Hu hurricane
Hu Hu Hu hurricane
1 year ago

As a fan who started watching eurovision in a season whose favorites, one didn’t qualify (Aisel) and one didn’t win(Foureira) is that moment when you realize that eurovision is a display for a lot of talent that you don’t see frequently. This statement sounds like someone had previous favorites and probably didn’t even qualify. of course winning is nice but if you REALLY like that artist you should support them after eurovision. I still support Hurricane members, foureira, Aisel,luca hanni,konstrakta(sara jo also but that’s just me because I like the serbian selection), tamta(who were my favorites in each season). Also… Read more »

Iain
Iain
1 year ago

Wow. He really has no shame to say such statements after he is chosen to represent country. It’s spiting face to all representatives and the show. Why did he apply if he hates it and doesn’t give a f..k! Every year Ireland is speaking about “irishness” of singers like it’s some political election or gay Eurovision like they are sending someone to gay parade and not music contest. I’m sick of political correctness here. It just shows that present HoD and whole team are out of touch with reality and they really don’t want to win it. I don’t know… Read more »

Microfibertowel
Microfibertowel
1 year ago

he is disgusting and awful

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
1 year ago

Ahaha, sure. 😀

58 Points (JE)
1 year ago

He’s Irish. His parents were from Ireland. He spent his summers in Ireland. In 2023 people having multiple affiliations is just normal.

Escfan
Escfan
1 year ago

What a pathetic publicity stunt this is. This absolutely ridiculous stunt that he’s pulling further fuels the ridiculous notions several non esc fans in Ireland have about Eurovision, the exact same attitude people have been ridiculing the UK over for the last number of years, decades even. Its beyond pathetic, idc if this is viewed as s**t stirring, I feel like if the Irish HoD had any cop on, he’d be dq’d. Even if he doesn’t win which I fully expect him and his band not to, it still leaves a bad taste in peoples mouths and the selection like… Read more »

Europotato
Europotato
1 year ago

Songs sh!te anyway. If you can call it a song. Just some noises and him saying hawaii.

Zisk
Zisk
1 year ago

MIKA got to host it after all he said about it so I doubt anything happens other than this song staying comfortably in the NF like it deserves.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 year ago
Reply to  Zisk

Or he was already contracted to host but couldn’t say he was hosting Until the official announcement and he did a poor job deflecting by saying he hated it, whether it’s true or not.

Nils
Nils
1 year ago
Reply to  BadWoolfGirl

You mean he was contracted years before Italy won? Rai must have been pretty confident about Måneskin then.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 year ago
Reply to  Nils

Maybe contracted was the wrong word to use. I meant “asked”. The question I was trying to bring up is was Mika asked to be a host before he made those statements about eurovision or was it after?

Nils
Nils
1 year ago
Reply to  Zisk

He made those comments a couple of years before he hosted.

Ron
Ron
1 year ago

I don’t care for his attitude. It would be like Rory McIlroy entering the Open and then announcing “I’m here to win but this competition is rubbish and the other players are useless”. If you enter something like this, you have to show respect to it and to your competitors.

John
John
1 year ago

It’s no different then what Salvador said once William got him on camera.

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  John

PiL is known for repetitive lyrics – I just wished it had a pulsating beat in the instrumental like their classics “Open Up” or “This Is Not a Love Song”.

Ting tong
Ting tong
1 year ago

What he meant was that he is afraid of big and tough competition that won’t
gurantee winning he may not even get noticed as there are many countries competing especially if he stays in semifinal and can’t make it to the final. Even if he can’t win ticket to eurovision to represent his country he can dis eurovision in advance. He is only interested to promote himself eurovision is disgusting to him he at least he is honest indicating that

Thallo
Thallo
1 year ago

Johnny Rotten is a Trump supporter, Tory, misogynist, homophobe and racist.

Shame on the Irish HoD for letting this man have a chance of representing Ireland. Apparently, Daughter (Elena Tonra) was supposed to participate in Eurosong but withdrew last minute when she discovered Johnny Rotten was also in the national final, I don’t blame her for doing so.

Microfibertowel
Microfibertowel
1 year ago
Reply to  Thallo

would have loved for her to have beaten him

Ekldnr
Ekldnr
1 year ago
Reply to  Thallo

I hope Connolly beats him just to show an 18 year old girl can sing a song better than his and write it all by herself

Milan
Milan
1 year ago
Reply to  Thallo

“…a Trump supporter, Tory, misogynist, homophobe and racist” The only thing missing here is “and he has a big nose”! XD

Darren
Darren
1 year ago

Attention seeking moron

Really hope we don’t send that lad. He’s only made it to the NF because he’s well known

We really can do so much better

Nils
Nils
1 year ago

Well … how about you f*** right off, then?

Zanoni
Zanoni
1 year ago

The sense I get is that he’s really sincere about wanting to get this song that’s very dear to him out to as many listeners as possible… and really cynical about using Eurovision to achieve that. But what did you expect?

Zanoni
Zanoni
1 year ago
Reply to  Zanoni

I think I’m still rooting for it LOL

Colin
Colin
1 year ago

I understand that Mr. Lydon is used to breaking the barriers and all, but this is a disrespectful statement if he indeed wishes to compete. His song is really personal and meaningful, no doubt about that. I wish him and his wife all the best. But if that’s how he feels, he’s in the wrong place. His statement deeply insults everyone who’s been participating in the contest before, including some people with equally personal stories behind their past entries, including several songs about ill and deceased relatives. Also including established artists like Anouk, Hooverphonic, Celine Dion, Bonnie Tyler, Engelbert Humperdinck,… Read more »

Hebbuzz
Hebbuzz
1 year ago

Hurtinghis chances? He is only playing a game of smart attention seeking PR. Get hyped so get viewed, remembered and voted for. …

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago

He says in the interview that he started paying attention to the contest last year, when he thought Sean Ryder was representing the UK. We shouldn’t be taking this too seriously.

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 year ago

There are things to legitimately critique about Eurovision, but I find it very hypocritical to go on a bash fest about it when you’re competing international final to represent your country. That’s going to alienate people unless the audience holds just as much contempt for it as he does and they vote for it, and Ireland inevitably fails again.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 year ago

Says the anarchist anti-royalist, turned establishment-comfortable monarchist Trump voter. I wouldn’t dwell too much on John Lydon’s rantings. He’s desperately trying to stay relevant, to the point that he’s entering Ireland’s Eurovision selection process despite hating Eurovision and probably still quite homophobic.

Jonas
Jonas
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy

To me, he seemed sincere when he said he was doing this all for his wife. She’s all that matters to him. Still, you’re right, his moronic ways in other regards are disappointing.

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas

The song’s meaning and impetus is a beautiful sentiment, I agree. We’re as capable of beauty as we are of disgrace.

Jake
Jake
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy

Can you be a “trump voter” without being a US citizen?

Jimmy
Jimmy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake

Not a literal one. What makes you ask?

BadWoolfGirl
BadWoolfGirl
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake

There are many Trump equivalents across the world.

Ellie
Ellie
1 year ago
Reply to  Jake

He’s actually a naturalized American citizen and confirmed he voted for Trump. The reason he gave was because he sympathized with Trump being accused of racism as he’s been accused of it as well. Years back, he reportedly attacked the frontman of Bloc Party, who is black, after being asked if PIL would reform. And here we are.

Colin
Colin
1 year ago
Reply to  Ellie

Best way to prove you’re not a racist: Openly vote for the person who is. Umm…

Jofty
Jofty
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy

Perhaps he will perform the song at The George

Benito Camelo
Benito Camelo
1 year ago

If Eurovision is all the sh*t you say it is, then why do you bother taking part of it? Literally wtf? xd

Jack
Jack
1 year ago

If eurovision was a reality show, it would be great to have him. But since its not BB, he should stay home. And RTE needs to do better.