One of Ireland’s regional newspapers – Kildare Now – has revealed some details regarding Ireland’s national selection process for the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest which will take place in Valletta in November. This comes after the broadcaster in charge of Ireland’s participation in the contest – TG4 – tweeted confirmation that they would take part in the contest again this year following their debut in 2015.

Kildare Now explains that 32 contestants have made it through to the “live” shows – although based on last year, the shows will just be recorded live rather than broadcast live – where the judges will “whittle down the competitors to just four in the coming weeks” with the final being recorded in September. Once again, TG4 are seemingly ensuring that the children are instrumental in the creation of their songs with the first confirmed contestant for the “live” shows, 11-year-old Stephanie Byrne, writing her Irish-language ballad herself.

This suggests a very similar process to the selection format used last year – Junior Eurovision Éire – where four heats took place, each consisting of eight contestants, with one contestant qualifying from each heat. However, last year two additional contestants were given a wildcard to the final. All entries were performed in Irish and Aimee Banks was victorious with Réalta na mara. Aimee went on to finish 12th at Junior Eurovision in Sofia with 36 points.

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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