Eurovision 2019 Review: Ireland – Sarah McTernan – 22

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Sarah McTernan represents Ireland with ’22’
Ireland is still the country with the most Eurovision victories (they won the contest seven times), but in recent history, they haven’t come close to winning at all. The last time they reached the top 10 was in 2011 when Jedward took the stage. In the past five years, they only qualified for the final once, which happened last year when Ryan O’Shaughnessy finished 16th with his track ‘Together’. This year, the Irish broadcaster RTÉ internally selected Sarah McTernan to represent the country with the song ’22’.

McTernan found fame in Ireland when she finished 3rd in The Voice in 2015. She tried her luck to become San Marino’s contestant in Eurovision last year, but was not chosen. This year she managed to grab the ticket for her own country. Her song ’22’ was written by a Dutch songwriting team consisting of Janieck van de Polder, Marcia Sondelijker and Roel Rats. They wrote a mellow sounding, nostalgic little tune, in which McTernan longs for a past lover. There is a catchy melody in the chorus with some sing-along quality, but the track unfortunately lacks any proper build up. There is no climax at all, as the ad libs during the last chorus are far from impressive. This makes the song slightly repetitive even on first listen. ’22’ is a nice enough, infectious little radio song, but it seriously lacks any lasting power to be a serious contender in Eurovision.

In order to qualify for the final of the contest, McTernan needs an outstanding staging. As the song is so laidback and middle of the road, it will be a challenge to create something eye-catching and memorable. McTernan has a lovely soulful tone to her voice, but the first live performance she did, wasn’t pitch perfect yet. Having to perform second in the seemingly stronger second semi final, I don’t expect Ireland to be one of the 10 qualifiers.

Review on semi-final performance:
going into this semi-final, Sarah McTernan had the lowest chances of qualifying according to bookmakers. Her song ’22’ is cute and all, but it goes nowhere and was far from memorable amidst seventeen other performances. Her vocals were decent, but the staging did nothing to elevate her performance. It also did not help that we were looking at her back instead of her face for quite a while. Sarah did a decent job, but ’22’ simply does not cut it. As expected, she finished dead last in this semi-final.


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