Ireland will be competing in the Eurovision Song Contest this year without the services of John Lydon, after the former Sex Pistols singer failed last night in his bid to represent the country.
One of the wildest men of British music in his 1970s punk heyday, Lydon, aged 67, had entered the Irish leg of the competition with his song ‘Hawaii’, inspired by his wife Nora who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Prior to competing, Lydon – possibly one of the more unexpected names to ever appear on a Eurovision bid – had explained he wanted to raise awareness of the disease.
But after he and five other acts performed on Ireland’s Late Late Show show on Friday night, voting viewers, as well as national and international juries of music experts, elected the band Wild Youth instead, and it will be them competing in Liverpool in May.
The official draw for this year’s Contest was carried out this week, and Ireland will join 14 other countries in the first semi-final. 10 will go on to compete in the grand final on Saturday 13 May.
The UK – one of the ‘big five’ countries who automatically go through to the final – is hosting this year on behalf of Ukraine, who won in 2022. The UK came second with their performer Sam Ryder, but the BBC and other partners putting on the Contest have asserted that Ukraine will be very much the hosts in spirit. BBC TV presenter Rylan Clark said this week, “They’re having their party in our house.”