DUBLIN: Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon has failed in his bid to represent Ireland at this year’s Eurovision, losing out to rock band Wild Youth in a nationally televised competition today.
The Dublin four-piece, performing the song “We Are One”, was selected ahead of Lydon’s band Public Image Ltd and four other acts, by a combination of Irish and international experts as well as a public vote during a special programme broadcast by RTE.
The win propels Wild Youth to the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool in May.
The band, which has had a string of hits in Ireland, has toured with Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi and Irish pop star Niall Horan.
“We just hope we can do the best job for Ireland and make it amazing, we want to give it everything and we hope that everyone gets behind the song,” Wild Youth frontman Conor O’Donohoe said.
Ahead of the national competition Lydon – whose sneering brand of iconoclasm defined punk rock in the 1970s – gained media attention as the highest profile performer in the running for Ireland’s spot at Eurovision.
Public Image Ltd first formed in the aftermath of his split from the Sex Pistols in 1978.
Public Image Ltd performed an emotional tribute penned by Lydon to his wife of nearly 50 years, Nora, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Speaking to the Irish broadcaster before the show, Lydon said the song was “extremely relevant” to him.
“I’m having to endure the slow demise of my wife and to be able to write a song about that, and for it to end up to be, I think, quite beautiful, it’s quite an achievement,” the punk rocker said.
Lydon, 66, was born in London but his parents both hailed from Ireland.
His mother was originally from Cork in the country’s southwest and his father from Galway on the west coast.
Eurovision is to be held in Liverpool in 2023 after the UK came in second to Ukraine last year.
Typically, the winner of the competition holds the following year’s event but organisers decided Ukraine would be unable to host because of Russia’s invasion nearly one year ago.
The other acts that took part in the RTE TV special against Wild Youth and Public Image Ltd were singer-songwriter ADGY, hip-hop and rap duo K Muni & ND, songwriter Connolly and indie pop singer-songwriter Leila Jane.
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