The search for Ireland's next Junior Eurovision representative is well under way. Over the past few weeks 32 singers have been battling it out for a ticket to Tbilisi and to Junior Eurovision 2017. On Sunday 19th November the winner of 'Junior Eurovision Eire' will be announced and we will know who will represent Ireland in Georgia.
Ireland is the reigning Eurovision Song Contest champion having won the competition a record seven times but the country is still a relative newcomer when it comes to Junior Eurovision. Ireland made its debut in the contest in 2015 and last year Zena Donnelly took the country to the top ten for the first time.
Junior Eurovision Eire 2017
Over the summer prospective candidates took part in live auditions, the biggest number to date, where they performed original songs written in the Irish language. 32 artists took part in the televised heats which saw two artists proceed to the final from each show.
Junior Eurovision Eire 2017 is hosted by DJ Eoghan McDermott, while the resident judges, Fiachna Ó Braonáin (Hot House Flowers - Eurovision Interval Act in 1988 with Don't Go) and Bláthnaid Treacy, have been joined by a guest judge from Ireland’s Eurovision past. The guest judges included Dustin the Turkey (2008), Jedward (2011, 2012), Brian Kennedy (2006), Niamh Kavanagh (1993, 2010), Linda Martin (1984, 1992) and Brendan Murray (2017).
The perfect launch pad
Aimee Banks was Ireland's first representative at Junior Eurovision in 2015. Since then she has had the honour of performing on the iconic stage of Carnegie Hall, New York, having won her first International title for operatic aria category of an International Vocal Competition. Aimee received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Arts and Culture 2016 from Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board and a High Achievers Award from The Royal Irish Academy of Music. She has continued performing in both Ireland and abroad and even performed for the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins!
Last year Zena Donnelly represented Ireland at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest with the song Bríce Ar Bhríce (Brick by Brick). Zena achieved Ireland's best result to date in the competition which was held in Valletta, Malta. Since then she has participated in The Voice Kids and was one of the final three finalists in RTE's Voices of Angels competition.
Who will win in Ireland?
As in previous years, the Irish selection was recorded and the Irish representative at Junior Eurovision 2017 has already been selected, but it will be kept a secret until the broadcast of the final show. Last week it was rumoured that the name of Ireland's representative had been leaked. Broadcaster TG4 neither confirmed nor denied these rumours so you'll just have to wait until Sunday 19th November to find out who will represent Ireland in Tbilisi!