JESC 2018 | Ireland's National Final begins
The search for Ireland's next Junior Eurovision singer officially got underway this evening following the conclusion of the first of four JESC semi-finals in the country, which was won by Jessica Doolan with the song 'Aisling'.
Junior Eurovision Ireland 2018 follows the same tried and tested format of its three predecessors, but with some minor changes - each of the four semis in 2018 has seven singers (compared to eight in past years) competing for one place in the final, the four semi-final winners will be joined by two judges' wildcard picks from the eliminated semi-finalists - making up the six singers who will compete in the final for the grand prize - Ireland's ticket to Junior Eurovision 2018 in Minsk, Belarus on November 25th.
As in previous years, the winner in each of the five shows will be decided entirely by a jury vote - with the 2018 jury being headed by Fiachna Ó Braonáin and Gráinne Bleasdale. Each week a guest judge will join the panel, usually someone with a Eurovision connection to Ireland - tonight's guest judge was Ryan O'Shaugnessy, who took Ireland to their first Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final for five years in Lisbon earlier this year. The five shows will once again be presented by Eoghan McDermott. In 2017, Ireland were represented at JESC by 11-year-old Muireann McDonell from Skerries, County Dublin, who came a disappointing 15th with 54 points singing her own song 'Suile Glasa' ('Green Eyes'). Re-live what happened when Eurovoxx's own Jess spoke to Muireann and her team in Georgia.
Ireland has competed in Junior Eurovision each year since joining the JESC family in 2015 - with Aimee Banks coming 12th singing 'Réalta na mara' ('Star of the Sea'), 10th in 2016 when Zena Donnelly sang 'Bríce ar Bhríce' ('Brick by Brick') and Muireann McDonnell in 2017.
What do you make of the winner of the first Junior Eurovision Ireland 2018 semi-final? Let us know in the comments below and on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.