We're now at the halfway between the Irish Eurosong final and the start of rehearsals for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest which begin on May 13th in Baku. What better time to reflect on Ireland's selection and on Jedward's chances in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest?

 
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Jedward performing at the Irish Eurovision selection.

Despite the reservations of many that "The Late Late Show" is not the right vehicle to choose a Eurovision entry, RTÉ seem unlikely to change that any time soon, given that the ratings for the show. Once again over 800,000 people tuning into the Eurosong special on February 24th, making it the most watched television show of the year, so far. Amazingly over half a million people tuned into the internet streams of the show on RTÉ' and the official Eurovision sites. These kind of figures give the Irish Eurovision entry, and indeed all the other competing songs, a high profile, that they may not have gained in an old style National Song Contest.

On the downside, the format of "The Late Late Show" is an uncomfortable fit for a five song final and breaking from the Eurovision theme of the show to spend time talking to a visiting Hollywood actor is hardly satisfactory. Many thought that a tribute to famous Irish Eurovision conductor Noel Kelehan might have been a more appropriate insert into the show.

The other obvious failing of the current fomat is the studio from which "The Late Late Show" is broadcast. With it's postage stamp sized stage and accoustics and carmera crew that are more suited to the intimate interview setting, it is very difficult to properly judge how any song would look and sound in a big Eurovision arena, with a large live audience. This was probably not a major issue this year, given that the result was an almost foregone conclusion, but many would ask if a broadcast from The Helix, which already was set up for the live shows in "The Voice of Ireland" would not have been a better option. This would allow the show to break from "The Late Late Show" format and give the acts a more suitable stage on which to perform.

The voting was of course almost a formality, with only the Galway and Sligo juries disagreeing with Jedward and "Waterline" as the winner. Though not officially confirmed, it is believed that the returning twins gained over 60% of the national televote.

 

"WATERLINE" IN THE CHARTS

On the day of the Irish Eurosong final, Jedward's "Waterline" was released commercially on Irish download sites and a week later it entered the Irish Top 40 singles chart, at a very respectable number 5. However this is a little lower than that the number 2 debut of "Lipstick" a year earlier. After dropping down the charts in the following couple of weeks, the CD single was released on March 16th and "Waterline" immediatly shot back up the chart, to number 8.

So far, "Waterline" may not not have attracted the sales and airplay that "Lipstick" gained in Ireland in 2011, but with the build-up to Eurovision coming in the middle of May, that could very well change. However, it must also be remembered that "Lipstick" was quite phenomenal in terms of its sales and chart performance. Jedward's 2011 Eurovision entry spend an amazing 24 weeks in the Irish charts, finally reaching number one in Eurovision week and going on to become the second biggest selling single of the year in Ireland, "Lipstick" also became a Top 20 hit in Germany, Sweden, Austria and also hit the charts in several other European countries and perhaps most surprisingly it reached the Top 10 in Korea and gained airplay on several pop radio stations in the U.S.A. and Australia. Internationally "Lipstick" became the most successful Irish Eurovision entry since Johnny Logan's "Hold Me Now" in 1987. 

 

PROMOTION

The advantage of having a returning Eurovision act with a high international profile is that it is much easier to promote the entry in advance of going to Baku. Jedward are quite exceptional in their ability to attract attention and there are few acts that invest as much time with their fan-base.

As well as promotional trips to Estonia, Finland, Germany and Sweden, Jedward also found time to perform at the Romanian Eurovision selection. They have also fitted in several interviews and guest slots on television in Ireland and abroad and they still managed to run the Los Angeles marathon in late March.

Jedward will also be appearing at the biggest Eurovision Preview show of of the year, when they will join over twenty other 2012 Eurovision acts on stage in Amsterdam on April 21st, at "Eurovision In Concert". "All Kinds Of Everything" will be in Amsterdam, covering that show.  

 

IRELAND'S CHANCES

The one major event that has happened since Jedward's Eurosong victory, is the draw for the running order of the semi-finals in Baku and it could not have worked out better for Ireland's hopes of gaining its eighth Eurovision victory.

Having drawn a "wilcard" which allowed RTÉ's Head of Delegation, Julian Vignoles to pick Ireland's place in the running order, "Waterline" will now be performed last in the first semi-final, which should be a help in qualifying for the final.

If you look at the bookmakers' websites, it now looks highly likely that Ireland will qualify for the final as the odds are 1/5 (bet 5 to win 1). However winning the contest looks like a challenge, with Ireland only rated as tenth favourite to win in Baku, at 25/1. However once the finalists are known and the running order for the final is complete, that ranking is likely to change significantly.    

 

ON TO BAKU....

There's no question thar RTÉ are confident that Ireland will reach the final of the Eutrovision Song Contest for the third year in a row. Within a day of the draw being made, a dual advertising price structure was announced for this year's Eurovision final. Last year's contest was the second most watched television show in 2011 in Ireland, drawing over a million viewers and this year advertisers will be paying a high price for slots in the Eurovision final, but the price will be reduced if Jedward fail to qualify.

Jedward have also confirmed that they will be putting some of their own money into the staging of "Waterline" in Baku. There are already rumours of water effects being used as part of the performance. 

Jedward's mentor for Eurovision 2012 is Linda Martin, the winner of the contest twenty years ago and Linda will be travelling to Azerbaijan, as part of the Irish delegation.

The number of Irish fans travelling to Azerbaijan will only be a fraction of those that were in Dusseldorf in 2011, due to the high cost involved in getting to and staying in Baku. Also the number of media outlets sending reporters to Eurovision 2012 will also be lower than last year, for the same reason. However there is no question that interest in the contest will be as high as ever back in Ireland and of course "All Kinds Of Everything" will be at the contest for the ninth successive year, providing live on the ground reports.

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