Ireland remain the Eurovision nation with the most wins at the contest, however since the introduction of the semi-finals, it has been a continuous battle to even qualify to the final. Last year was a success for Ireland, reaching the final with Ryan O’Shaughnessy, however this year it’s up to Sarah McTernan to hopefully continue to build on that success with her song 22!
Song + Vocals
The Irish entry was released fairly late in the national final season, but this is one of those examples where it wasn’t really worth the wait. Over the last few years, it seems as if Ireland is really trying to put strong entries forward, but as a collective it’s easy to see a pattern. The Irish Eurovision songs of late all have that same feel about them, they are all quite subdued. This is no different.
22 is a nice song, and it’s a song that is radio friendly, but it just isn’t competitive. I don’t want to describe the song as bland as I do think it has some character, especially through Sarah’s vocals however I feel as if describing it as plain is less harsh. It’s not the most complex song by any means and I wish more risk was taken, especially after hearing Sarah’s vocals which could have definitely been put to better use.
There will be a niche audience who really do enjoy this song, and I think there’s a certain nostalgia and charm about it both musically and lyrically. It’s a relatable topic packaged in a familiar beat, but despite that, this is the type of song that once you’ve heard one verse and chorus, things don’t really change for the remaining two minutes.
We have since heard Sarah perform this song live, and I must say that it’s a bit more three dimensional when it’s performed live. I think this is more to do with her as a performer rather than vocals specifically, and across the live performance I would say it has revealed some inconsistencies. I just want more from this.
Act + Performance
This is definitely the type of entry which will need a strong staging to bring extra life into the song. Ironically this is also the type of song that I can’t clearly picture how it should or even could be staged. We did see Sarah perform the entry on Dancing with the Stars, and they went with the neon, nostalgic diner vibe which was cute, but I don’t know that it really complemented the song. The music video doesn’t really give me much inspiration either, so it will be interesting to see how they can spice this up.
This is another nice entry from Ireland, but I just don’t think nice will be enough for them this year. They have a super tough position in the running order, performing in 2nd after Armenia which is likely to be more of a memorable stage performance. I just don’t picture Ireland qualifying this year, and I think it would take a killer stage performance to make that happen.