TG4, the Irish language broadcaster, revealed details about Junior Eurovision Éire 2017 at their autumn schedule launch in the National University of Ireland, Galway today.
Junior Eurovision Éire will be broadcast over 5 weeks, beginning on October 22 and concluding on November 19. The format remains the same as the previous two years. 32 singers will compete over four semi-finals. In each semi-final, a judging panel will select two songs to advance to a duel. The winner of the duel will again be chosen by the judging panel and will advance to the final. Two wildcards will also be selected to join the semi-final winners in the grand final. The judges will once again select two songs to advance to a final duel, the winner of which will represent Ireland in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017.
Eoghan McDermott will return to host the contest for the third consecutive year. Fiachna Ó Braonáin will also return to the judging panel for the second year. He will be joined by new judge Bláthnaid Tracey. Bláthnaid first appeared on television at the age of just three months in the RTÉ series “Glenroe” as Denise Byrne, a role which she played for 13 years. After stepping down from the role to concentrate on school and university, she returned to screens in 2012 in TG4’s travel show “Ó Tholg go Tolg” (From Couch to Couch). She was a presenter on RTÉ’s youth strand “TwoTube” for four years. She currently presents the National Chart Show on RTÉ 2fm and will present “Gléasta Chun Féasta” (Dressed For a Party) on TG4 this October.
Every week, a guest judge will join the resident judging panel, each one a former Irish Eurovision contestant. These guest judges are Dustin the Turkey (2008), Brian Kennedy (2006), Niamh Kavanagh (1993, 2010), Jedward (2011, 2012), Linda Martin (1983, 1992) and Brendan Murray (2017).
TG4 have also announced that they will broadcast the Junior Eurovision Song Contest on a delay, at 5.30 CET on November 26. This makes them one of two participating countries that will be not be broadcasting the contest live, the other being Australia.
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Ireland debuted in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest at the 2015 contest in Sofia, Bulgaria. The countries participation is organised by the Irish language broadcaster, TG4. At the 2015 contest in Bulgaria Ireland was represented by Aimee Banks with the song “Réalta na mara”, she finished 12th in the final. At the 2016 contest in Malta, Ireland was represented by Zena Donelly with the song “Bríce ar Bhríce”. She finished 10th in the final scoring a total of 122 points, including receiving the countries first 12 points in the contest.