Singing since she was a child, Midleton teenager Aoife McNerney’s Eurovision journey came to an end when she bowed out of the TG4 Junior Eurovision at the semi-final stage on Sunday.
Over the summer period TG4 went on tour to find young stars in the making, to represent Ireland in the Junior Eurovision song contest. A series of nationwide public auditions saw local halls packed with young performers all eager to represent their country at the Junior Eurovision in Belarus later this month. In October in a series of five programmes on TG4, individuals and groups, faced a panel of Judges including Fiachna O’Braonain from the Hot House Flowers, voice over artist Grainne Bleasdale and a weekly Celebrity Judge.
Aoife was among the top 32 singers chosen to go forward to the televised heats. The 13 year old was hoping to follow in the footsteps of Muireann McDonnell from Skerries last year, and perform to an audience of 20million in Minsk on the 25 November. Each year the best young singers in Europe, aged from 9 to 14 years, compete against each other for Junior Eurovision.
Aoife, a student of Billie Jeans Musical Theatre class, was among 32 elite singers to battle it out for the honour of representing Ireland in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2018. With help from her vocal coach, Deborah Desmond, the LAMDA bronze Medallist performed her composition ‘Grá Mo Shaol, doing herself and East Cork proud. The past pupil of Gaelscoil Mhainistir na Corann said there’s a very important message behind the composition. She wrote the song in respect to her brother and sister who both have a heart condition. “It’s about finding your own rhythm in life. My brother and sister have a heart condition. It’s about living your life to the full and we only have one life. And that we should have a positive outlook on life.”
Celebrity Judge, Dustin the Turkey, said of Aoife’s performance on Sunday night last. “Go on you good thing. I was bopping around, my feathers were moving, and my Webbed feet were moving. I just loved it. It’s so catchy.” Judge Fiachna O’Braonain said “we need positive vibes, not only for Eurovision, and that song would make anyone dance. The rhythm and groove were the most distinctive parts of the song. I enjoyed very much every part of that.” Voice-Over Artist Grainne Bleasdale said “the rendition was lovely. I felt like I was on a tropical beach. The vibe was so good I felt happy listening to you. It was lovely good job.”
Junior Eurovision began in 20003 and is based on a Scandinavian Song Festival for children, Melodi Grand Prix Nordic. The first contest took place in Denmark with 16 countries competing. Over the years a total of 37 countries have participated. Ireland has never taken the overall title. Russia and Malta have both won the Eurovision twice, with Georgia taking the title for a record 3 times.