A TALENTED 10-year-old Lifford girl will this weekend perform on TG4’s ‘Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2023’.
Jessica McKean will take to the stage in a hopeful bid to represent Ireland in the major contest which takes place on November 26 in Nice.
Each year, the best young singers, aged nine to 14, from across Europe compete in this huge event. The winner will head to France with a song composed especially for their voice to battle for the coveted title.
But before she hopefully jets off to France, Jessica will have to impress judges, Niamh Ní Chróinín and Aindriú de Paor who will be joined by a special guest judge each week.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Jessica’s mum Sarah said she was “very proud” of her daughter. While having to remain tight-lipped about the song Jessica will be singing due to the rules of the contest, Sarah said it will be in Irish – a big challenge as Jessica had to learn the language to do so.
“Jessica was allocated a song which we listened to phonetically to learn it. She has also been seeing a vocal coach to help her. She had her first audition in February and there have been many visits back and forth to Dublin to meet producers and check if the song is correct.”
To secure her place on the show, which is hosted by Louise Cantillon and Darragh Ó Caoimh, the talented pupil of Raphoe Central National School compete against thousands of others.
“There are 24 children in the show. Six children will perform each week for four weeks followed by a semi final and then the final which will be a public vote,” said Sarah.
While Jessica may be a little nervous, performing is in her blood and she is no stranger to television having been the youngest performer to be chosen for ‘Two Talented’ in 2018. The family entertainment show, hosted by rugby legend Donncha O’Callaghan, sees children mentoring adults.
“We are a singing family, and we’re very musical. We all enjoy it as a family but Jessica is very talented. She has been singing since she was tiny. Jessica had her first singing lesson when she was two-and-a-half years old. She sang ‘I love you Honey’ to a studio audience on ‘Two Talented’. She copes with pressure so well. She was a student of Class Act in Strabane before lockdown and now she is doing coaching online.”
And if Jessica looks familiar locally, that’s because she is as she performed at Letterkenny Busking Festival in July. Impressively, Jessica came second.
Jessica will be cheered on this weekend by her parents Sarah and Wesley and sister, Louisa (9) and her little six-year-old brother Archie.
Don’t miss ‘Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2023’ on TG4 on Sunday at 8.30pm. Anyone outside Ireland who doesn’t have access to TG4 can download the TG4 app to watch or search TG4 site.
Good luck Jessica!