Punk icon John Lydon misses out on bid to represent Ireland at Eurovision

Punk icon John Lydon misses out on bid to represent Ireland at Eurovision

PUNK icon John Lydon and his band Public Image Ltd have lost out in their bid to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Former Sex Pistols frontman Lydon, 67, was hoping to represent the country from which his parents emigrated.

However, the band's song Hawaii — a love letter to Lydon's wife, Nora — finished fourth out of the six acts that performed on a special Eurosong 2023 edition of The late Late Show on Friday.

Four-piece Dublin band Wild Youth won the right to represent Ireland in Liverpool in May with their song, We Are One.


Speaking to Late Late host Ryan Tubridy ahead of the band's performance, Lydon explained the song was a love letter to his wife, who is living with Alzheimer's.

"She unfortunately got Alzheimer's and so this song — from an idea from the fabulous Lu [Edmonds, guitarist] here — we pieced to together to try and tell the story as genuinely and real as we possibly could, without breaking down in tears," said Lydon.

"It's going to be a difficult one for me tonight."

The ballad reflected on a holiday Lydon and his wife spent on the eponymous island.

However, a panel of Eurovision experts in the studio debated whether the 'pensive, personal' song was the right fit for the flamboyant competition.

That seemed to be reflected in the results of the three-way voting system comprising a National Jury, International Jury and a public telephone vote.

Wild Youth following their Eurosong 2023 victory on Friday’s Late Late Show (Image: Andres Poveda via rollingnews.ie)

The band was ranked fourth by each voting group to finish fourth overall, with Wild Youth pipping Connolly to the top spot after claiming maximum points from both the public and the National Jury.

Lydon appeared to anticipate his band's fate before the results were revealed when asked by long-time Eurovision commentator Marty Whelan if he had enjoyed his night.

"No, I have not, but that's not the point," replied the singer.

Final ambition

Wild Youth will represent Ireland at the First Semi-Final of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest on May 9 as the country bids to progress to the final for only the second time since 2013.

The band has toured with the likes of Kodaline, Lewis Capaldi, Niall Horan and Westlife.

We Are One was written in Sweden with Grammy-nominated songwriter Jörgen Elofsson.

Ireland is the most successful nation in the history of Eurovision with seven wins but the country's last victory came in 1996.

Success has proved elusive since then, with Ireland finishing last in the 2007 and 2013 finals and propping up the semi-final table in 2019 and 2021.

However, the country's lowest point was arguably in the 2008 competition, when Ireland was represented by a talking turkey that couldn't sing.