It seems the “Golden Years” might have gone for Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. The big success like in 1990’s are far away. Ireland is still the most successful ESC country with seven victories. It seems that the general interested has decreased a lot. There is no national final anymore no even a “Eurovision night” in the “Late Late Show”. Last year the singer Lesley Roy has been chosen to perform “Story Of My Life”, an up-tempo song with a fresh appearance. Due to the cancellation of the ESC 2020, Lesley received another chance to present her new song “Maps”.
Lesley was born in Dublin in 1986 and grew up in Balbriggan close to the capital. Her mother is a singer so that’s probably the reason for her to step into her footsteps. In the age of seven she learned to play the guitar, with 15 she recorded her first demos. Lesley was mostly inspired by Motown, Fleetwood Mac and Sheryl Crow. Her music style can be mostly found in alternative rock and pop rock. In 2008 she released her debut album “Unbeautiful” and is mainly concentrated on song writing for singers like Adam Lambert, Miss Montreal, Medina, Jana Kramer, Marlee Scott and Deorro. She also wrote an album with Max Martin in Sweden and performing at Coachella with Deorro.
Lesley lives in New York with her American wife and is proud representing her home country at the Eurovision Song Contest. As a life-long ESC fan she explained her passion:
“Growing up in Ireland, obviously the Contest holds a special place in my heart, as it does for many people. It was a very big event in my house every year, we watched and voted on each act and I became a massive fan at a very young age. I’m very lucky that I am from the era of Niamh Kavanagh, Paul Harrington, Eimear Quinn and Riverdance."
This year’s song is called “Maps”, another up-tempo piece of music, which will bring fresh air in the contest. The song is about finding her own way, despite of all the hurdles, the soul is the map:
There’s only one way to go, This is the way back home. My soul is a map, My heart is a compass, I am the road. There’s only one way to go, This is the way back home.
This song is up-lifting and positive and this will enthuse the audience to dance.
Finals: 45 (8 since 2004)
Top 10: 31
Chances for Top 10: 57%
Chances for Final: 47%
For Ireland it’s going to be 54th time participating in the Eurovision Song Contest this year in Rotterdam 2021. Ireland is still the most successful country in the ESC with seven victories, closely followed by Sweden with 6 victories. Additionally, Ireland still has the record of three successive victories 1992, 1993 and 1994. These 1990’s were the golden years of Ireland in the ESC history.
Unfortunately, the jaunty times of the top positions and victories is over. This is due to several reasons e.g. the language rule was tilt in 1999, so from that year every participating country was able to sing in English or a language of preference. The unique advantage of the English speaking countries has gone, also the UK entries did not shape up that well anymore. Furthermore the general interest has decreased dramatically thanks to the launch of the Semi Finals in 2004. Now Ireland has to go through the qualification process every year and it happens here and there that Ireland is not in the Grand Final anymore. Maybe it’s a mix of several reasons, a lack of good songs, and contemporary compositions and the competition has become harder. Many people believe that the bad luck is also due to the opening to the Eastern European countries.
In the track record there is of course Johnny Logan, who could win two times as a singer with “What's Another Year” in 1980 and “Hold Me Now” in 1987. He could also win another time as a composer of “Why Me” sung by Linda Martin in 1992.
The chances for Ireland to be in the Top10 are still relatively high with 57%. Ireland and the music from Ireland is mostly connected with ethnic music and ballads. There were several attempts over the years to bring modern pop music. Best example here is Jedward who could bring new spirit into the contest with “Lipstick” in 2011 (8th place) and “Waterline” in 2012 (19th place). In the recent years Ireland was mostly unsuccessful and did not pass the Semi Finals five times in a row. Last time Sarah Mc Ternan could not convince the juries and public to vote for song “22”, she came even last in the Semi Final.
7x 1st place “All Kinds Of Everything” | Dana (Amsterdam 1970) “What's Another Year” |Johnny Logan (The Hague 1980) “Hold Me Now” | Johnny Logan (Brussels 1987) “Why Me” |Linda Martin (Malmö 1992) “In Your Eyes” | Niamh Kavanagh (Millstreet 1993) “Rock 'n' Roll Kids” |Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan (Dublin 1994) “The Voice” |Eimear Quinn (Oslo 1996)
4x 2nd place “If I Could Choose” |Sean Dunphy (Vienna 1967) “Terminal '3'” |Linda Martin (Luxembourg 1984) “Somewhere In Europe” |Liam Reilly (Zagreb 1990) “Mysterious Woman” |Marc Roberts (Dublin 1997)
1x 3rd place “It's Nice To Be In Love Again” |The Swarbriggs Plus Two (London 1977)