Junior Eurovision 2023 is around the corner, and more countries are revealing the details of their entries for the European competition. And last Friday, we finally heard the last song of this year’s competition: It was Ireland’s turn, that have finally revealed the song they will compete for the mini crystal microphone and win for the Irish country for the first time in the history of the contest.
The song that closes the list of songs competing at Junior Eurovision 2023 and is performed by Jessica McKean, who won this year’s Junior Eurovision Éire, is called”Aisling”. The young artist, at just 10 years old, will have the challenging task of matching or even surpassing the historic 4th place that her predecessor, Sophie Lennon, achieved last December 2022 in Yerevan with the song “Solas”. As Jessica revealed shortly after her victory in the national selection, the song is titled “Aisling,” which translates to “dream” or “vision”, a deep and mesmerising ballad with Celtic sounds, as Ireland got us used to in the previous years.
The team behind the composition of “Aisling” is diverse, multidisciplinary, and experienced in the Eurovision world. The names behind the Irish entry include Niall Mooney, Ken McHugh, Will Weeks, and Sophie Lennon, the latest representative of the Gaelic nation in Junior Eurovision. Niall Mooney has a close association with the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Ireland having been involved in several of their entries. The musician has been behind the country’s last four entries in the competition, creating big hits like “Solas” by Sophie Lennon and “Banshee” by Anna Kearney. Additionally, she has been part of the composition team for senior Eurovision entries such as “It’s For You” and “Et Cetera”
This is not the first time a former representative from the country has contributed to composing a song for the competition. Anna Kearney, the Irish singer in the 2019 edition, was involved in the credits for “Saor (Disappear)” the Irish entry in 2021. The young artist also provided backing vocals for the studio version of the song. The dreamy and atmospheric entry which follows previous year’s trend, was composed specifically for Jessica McKean once she took the crown of Junior Eurovision Éire 2023. After the live show, the gears were set in motion mode to find the right song that would allow the young artist to shine on the stage of the Palais Nikaïa on November 26th in Nice. This will be Ireland’s eighth participation in Junior Eurovision and the third consecutive one following the country’s return to the competition in 2021, just one year after their withdrawal in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The music video, which resembles previous year’s music videos, could give us a hint on the staging Jessica and her team will bring to Nice: An ethereal and dreamy world where Jessica gets lost.
JESSICA MCKEAN’S JOURNEY FROM JUNIOR EUROVISION ÉIRE TO NICE
The road to the stage in Nice began weeks ago for Jessica McKean. Before heading to the European contest, the young artist had to outperform more than twenty talented contestants between the ages of 9 and 14 in the national selection, Junior Eurovision Éire. Following the annual tradition, the talent show on TG4 returned with renewed energy and the additional motivation of having reached the highest result for the island of the Yerevan stage last December, thanks to Sophie Lennon’s 4th place with “Solas” While the elements of the format remained almost unchanged compared to the previous edition, Irish traditional elements, surprises, music, and excitement were the star components of a magical six-Sunday marathon.
The eventual winner, Jessica McKean, has embarked on the journey to Nice marked by evolution, consistency, and hard work throughout her appearances in the season of the contest. These capabilities of overcoming every single challenge made her undefeated in the selection process. Despite coming just 2 points away from elimination in her first performance on the show, her rendition of “I Will Always Love You” propelled her to the semifinals after a thrilling second chance round. In the semifinals, McKean found herself on the edge once again, entering the elimination duel and putting her continuation and participation in the program in jeopardy. Finally, her performance of “Skinny Love” gained the most support from the audience, leading the young artist to the grand final. Eventually, Jessica McKean managed to gather the majority of votes from the international audience, becoming the winner of Junior Eurovision Éire and the Irish representative at this year’s contest.
WHO IS JESSICA MCKEAN?
Jessica McKean has automatically become the youngest Irish representative in the history of Junior Eurovision. Despite her young age of only 10 years, the artist will aim to impress with her wide vocal range and prodigious voice to dazzle on the grand Nice stage. The young artist hails from the Gaelic city of Donegal and, during her journey, she will be accompanied by her parents, Sarah and Wesley, and her younger siblings, Louisa and Archie, aged 9 and 6, respectively. After winning Junior Eurovision Éire, the entire community in Jessica’s hometown worked together to organize a grand celebration, showing off the strong support and hopes placed in the singer for Nice.
Jessica’s upcoming journey to Niza is not the first in her short but seasoned musical career. Her great passion for music and performance led her to start her musical training at a very young age. At just 3 years old, she began participating in her first competitions, followed by many more. The ticket to Niza will be a golden opportunity for her to make a breakthrough in front of a European audience.
IRELAND AT JUNIOR EUROVISION
Ireland has a total of seven participations in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, joining the competition in 2015 and participating almost continuously to the present day, with the exception of the 2020 edition. The country has a modest record in the competition, typically placing in the middle to lower part of the leaderboard. To date, Ireland has never won the mini crystal microphone of the European contest and thus, never hosted the festival. The nation’s moment of glory came precisely during its last participation in the past year, 2022, when the talented Sophie Lennon achieved a remarkable 4th place with her song “Solas” Also a very well-remembered among Junior Eurovision fans is the Irish entry from 2019, which was considered one of the favorites. Young artist Anna Kearney and her song “Banshee,” a carefully crafted ballad with Celtic sounds, ultimately secured a 12th position, which felt like a disappointment considering the high level of the entry that year.
JUNIOR EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2023
The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will take place on Sunday 26 November in the beautiful coastal city of Nice, France, under the slogan Heroes, where European artists between the ages of 9 and 14 will compete for the mini crystal microphone.. The French broadcaster wants to create a unique experience for the participants of the 21st edition of Junior Eurovision, as well as to convey an explosion of happiness under a corporate identity with paint, chalk, powder and fireworks as protagonists of the night. This event promises to offer a series of exciting surprises and unforgettable moments.
For this year 2023, the competition has chosen the South of France as its location, at the “Palais Nikaia”. This majestic venue, also known as the “temple of music“, opened its doors to the public on 4 April 2001 and boasts an impressive surface area of more than 9,000 square metres. The Palais Nikaia is the perfect venue to host the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2023, which promises to be a show full of glitter and young talent.
A total of 16 countries will participate in Junior Eurovision 2023, the same number as last year, including the return of Germany after a year’s creative break. It will therefore be the first edition of the contest to feature the entire Big Five. Contrary to the withdrawals of Kazakhstan and Serbia, the 2023 edition will be seeing Estonia debuting at the festival, as ERR had been the only Baltic broadcaster not participating in the children’s competition up to today.
France, with two victories on its record at this event, has the honour of hosting the 21st edition of this children’s festival that has been gaining popularity year after year among young audiences. Junior Eurovision has given visibility to new talents in the world of music, and France is excited to be the host country.
Public broadcaster France Télévisions , with its experience in organising Paris 2021, is committed to delivering a high standard of entertainment and maintaining the characteristic quality of Junior Eurovision. The aim is to make this 21st edition a “unique and unrepeatable” festival. France Télévisions will do its utmost to organise Junior Eurovision at an exceptional level.
In 2022, the city of Yerevan, capital of Armenia, hosted the contest for the second time in its history, having previously been the host in 2011. On that occasion, France surprised by taking victory with the performance of Lissandro and his song ‘Oh Maman! His charisma and energy catapulted him to the top of the scoreboard, captivating both the national juries and online viewers, earning a total of 203 points and the taking the crystal microphone to french ground.
France is looking forward to once again hosting this competition that celebrates music, friendship and diversity, putting Europe’s young talents in the spotlight. The question on everyone’s mind is now: who will be the lucky youngster to win the little crystal microphone this year? We will know the answer at the end of November.