‘It’s life-changing’, says Junior Eurovision song contest winner

by Louise Doyle

“This is the best thing that has ever happened to me, it is life-changing”.

Those were the heartfelt words of Lifford girl, Jessica McKean, who was chosen by public vote during the final of TG4’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest on Sunday to represent Ireland in France next month, having wowed audiences with her rendition of ‘Always’ by Gavin James and ‘Hold Me Now’ by former Eurovision winner, Johnny Logan.


The 10-year-old singer is the youngest Irish representative to take part in Junior Eurovision. She is now preparing to take to the international stage in Palais Nikaïa, Nice, on November 26. She will perform, in Irish, a specially written song for her titled, ‘Aisling’, which aptly means ‘dream’ or ‘vision’.

Jessica was cheered on all the way by her parents, Sarah and Wesley, sister Louisa (9) and her six-year-old brother Archie.

Maggie’s Tavern in St Johnston hosted a huge watch party at the weekend as the whole community rallied in support of the talented youngster, who competed against thousands of hopefuls to represent Ireland in the Junior Eurovision Final.

Speaking to the Donegal News this week, the Raphoe Central National School pupil said: “It was just the best feeling. I cried for about 20 minutes. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It’s life-changing.”

Despite her young years, Jessica is not daunted by taking to the stage in France.

“I’m really excited about the next few weeks and performing in France. I’m not nervous at all, I can’t wait to do it.”

Jessica paid huge thanks to her family, friends and everyone at her school for their support.


“Everyone has been so supportive. I really appreciate all the lovely messages of support and encouragement, it means so much.”

Jessica and her family left for Dublin on Tuesday where she will receive her cup prize and take up some vocal coaching. Jessica will also meet her costume designer who will design what she will wear on stage in France.

Jessica’s mum, Sarah, said she was still trying to process her daughter’s huge success at the weekend.

“It is so surreal. I am trying to do something normal like clothes washing before we head to Dublin in the morning,” said Sarah.

“I have never felt that feeling in my heart that I felt when she won on Sunday night. I was trying to prepare Jessica all week, telling her that she is a winner regardless of what happens.

“Jessica will also be making a music video for her song. She’s so excited but taking it all in her stride. We’re all so proud of her,” said Sarah.

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