Think About Things (Results Edition) – Ireland

It’s the time of year when the Post-Eurovision depression is in full swing, but there’s no better cure than to reminisce! Together with ESCDaily Editor, Dennis Van Eersel, we will be discussing each of this year’s competing nations – from their results to how we think they could improve in the future!


Predictions, Personal Scores and Results


Prediction: Qualifier

Personal Score: 7.5


Prediction: Non-Qualifier

Personal Score: 6

Results: 16th place, Semi-Final

Did Ireland live up to expectations? 

D: After selecting a relatively big name with Lesley Roy and then finishing in the last place in the semi final, it’s an understatement to say that Ireland did not live up to the expectations at all. As rehearsals unfolded in Rotterdam, it became clear for almost everyone that Ireland was a non-qualifier, but beforehand a lot of people still had them in the back of mind as a borderline qualifier. At least I did. I heard they had a unique staging concept, making it one of the nations I was curiously waiting to see. It was a big disappointment since it did not work out at all. 

A: While I think the nation made an improvement between their competing entries of 2020 and 2021, the issue still seemed to lie with Lesley and her live vocals. The staging was hyped prior to the contest, but there’s only so much staging can do for a performance if the live vocals aren’t hitting the mark. Like Dennis said, by coming last, they didn’t live up to the expectations, but as rehearsals took place, the chances of Ireland qualifying were slipping away.


How do you personally feel about the song for Ireland at Eurovision 2021?

D: I did not dislike the Irish song for Eurovision 2021 at all. It’s not that I played it a lot, but when I was playing the full line-up of the songs I almost never skipped it. The song wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t special at all. Those are the first signs of a song potentially finishing in last place. Still, with Lesley’s experience and the promising Irish staging plan, I was not ruling out a surprise. But as we all saw, the visual presentation was a bit awkward, had little to do with the song and it affected the vocals of Lesley, being visibly overwhelmed with all the movements she had to do. 

A: I actually enjoyed the song prior to the contest, and I had hoped that we would see a confident performance on the Eurovision stage. In some way, I wanted to stay in denial about the possibility of a vocal car crash, just based on the live performance of her previous Eurovision entry. The staging definitely was unique, but like Dennis said, it felt irrelevant to the song itself. The whole performance package turned me off the song in the end.

Could Ireland have done anything different?

D: Looking back, the visual presentation with Lesley walking through all the props did not work out at all. It all looked like it was a big distraction for Lesley, remembering what she needed to do at each specific moment. It did not help her in making a connection with the television viewers, despite looking in the camera a lot. It was an act for the sake of having an act, rather than the props making a logical addition to the song and total package. Irish is starting to create a history with this, thinking about the hot air balloon for Brendan Murray. 

A: I want to go back a bit further and ask, was it a concern for the Irish delegation that Lesley did struggle with the live performance of her 2020 entry? I think this can be a real issue for artists that are internally selected, unless they go through an audition stage behind closed doors. While I support giving Lesley a second chance due to the cancellation of Eurovision in 2020, it was something that loomed over Ireland for 2021. Yes, they improved on the song, but the song can only carry so much. 

I totally agree with the staging as well. I think it could have been an incredible performance, but for another song at another time. It didn’t quite match up with the context of the song, and it certainly was a big distraction for Lesley who was visibly trying to stay on her cues.

What can Ireland do to ensure success in future years? 

D: Ireland needs to learn how to stage their entries better, only being able to really nail it in 2018 in recent years. The years where you can rely more on the song and registration, like their glory days in the early 90’s, are far gone. But I can’t imagine that in a music nation like Ireland there are no gifted stage directors for other tv shows as well. I think Ireland needs to look for a great song, by a composer with current success. And then team up with someone who knows how to tell a visual story in a live televised presentation. 

A: While it feels like we have both been highly critical of Ireland, there’s no denying that Ireland has lost their Eurovision touch. Over the years we have seen glimpses of promise, but ultimately the nation needs to focus on finding a contemporary song that can be delivered live. I think that is the key focus, as even with a mediocre staging, a strong song delivered well can manage to achieve votes.

Which was better, the live-on-tape performance or the actual performance?

D: Ireland did not show their back-up tape, so we’ll never know! Odds are, the back-up-tape was better, since their live performance gave them a last place finish!

A: I do think it was in poor form to not participate in the Eurovision Song Celebration, where the back-up tapes were revealed. Ultimately it was never going to change their actual results, so what’s the harm. While Dennis might think that their tape was better, my reasoning is the opposite. It must have been dire for them to not want to reveal the performance. I would guess that they hadn’t finalised the props or camera plan for their actual Eurovision performance by the time they had to record the back-up tape, so we may have seen an entirely different performance. Oh well, we will never know.