Song Title: “Playing With Numbers”
Artist: Molly Sterling
Semi-Final: Second, Position 2
Last year’s entry: “Heartbeat” – Can-Linn ft. Casey Smith (DNQ – 12th Place, SF2)
Ireland’s had a rough few years at the Eurovision Song Contest. After hosting the contest three years in a row in the 90s, they’ve hit a bit of a rough patch since the introduction of the semi-final system. If they make it to the final (and that’s a definite if these days), they seem to languish near the bottom of the results at the end of the night. After last year’s so-so “Heartbeat” (which felt like a song likely to be on the bubble then, and on re-listen, hasn’t really aged that well), can Molly Sterling improve Ireland’s odds with “Playing with Numbers”?
The thing I like about this song is that it makes me think of the types of songs Ireland’s won with in the past – Johnny Logan won for the country twice with mid-tempo ballads about love, and Molly Sterling’s song here is right in that wheelhouse. There’s a metaphor in the chorus I’m not quite processing, but I generally like the tone, theme, and instrumentation of the song. Having seen the original late night performance, it’s nice to see that Molly can sing the song live as well as she does in the official version above.
The one thing that worries, me, though, is how this gets staged in the final. Ireland is performing in the 2nd slot of the night, which means unless they really put on a show, they risk being overshadowed by later performers. In Ireland’s favor, though is the songs that come before and after them. Of the opening trio of Lithuania, Ireland, and San Marino, I think Ireland has the best/strongest song. Unfortunately, it’s a question of if they have a song better than at least 5 or 6 other performers. This is definitely another bubble song, so if Molly Sterling fixes herself behind a piano for the whole song, I’m concerned that they’ll just miss the finals again.