Eurovision: Molly Sterling (17) fails to reach final

Sterling performed ballad ‘Playing with Numbers’ which she wrote with Greg French

Molly Sterling performs on stage during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015  in Vienna on Thursday. Photograph: Nigel Treblin/Getty Images

Molly Sterling performs on stage during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna on Thursday. Photograph: Nigel Treblin/Getty Images

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Ireland failed to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest final tonight, despite a confident performance by Molly Sterling. The 17-year-old from Co Tipperary sang Playing with Numbers – which she co-wrote with Greg French – with maturity, and made a good connection to the camera at some points in her performance.

She spontaneously expressed joy and relief just after the song finished, clapping her hand to her mouth and grinning broadly.

“I’ve had the time of my life,” said Sterling after the results were announced. “To be in the final would have been a bonus but to get to Eurovision and represent my country in the first place has been a privilege.”

RTÉ’s head of Eurovision delegation Michael Kealy said, “I think I can speak for the whole country when I say how proud we are of Molly. It was an absolute pleasure to work with this talented young songwriter and it goes without saying that she has a fantastic future ahead of her.”

As widely expected, front-runner Sweden qualified with the slickly produced Heroes, sung by Måns Zelmerlöw; as did the Norwegian duo Mørland and Debrah Scarlett with A Monster Like Me.

Sixteen-year-old Israeli Nadav Guedj’s dance number Golden Boy was a big hit in the hall and gained him a berth in the final. Slovenia’s duo Maraaya qualified with Here for You; as did Azerbaijan’s Elnur Huseynov with Hour of the Wolf.

The Lithuanian duo Monika Linkyté and Vaidas Baumila got the evening off to a spirited start during their upbeat ditty This Time (chorus: “I’m feeling love, love, love/round and round and round and round and round we go”) when their backup singers – two men and two women – shared same-sex kisses at the same time as the lead singers kissed; the act qualified for the final.

Poland’s Monika Kuszynska, singing In the Name of Love, has become the first qualifier in Eurovision history to be a wheelchair user. Montenegro’s Knez qualified with his powerful ballad Adio, composed by Balkan superstar and two-time Eurovision competitor Zeljko Joksimovic.

Cyprus’ bespectacled John Karayiannis, singing a singer-songwriter-type ballad The One Thing I Should Have Done, was also a qualifier.

Latvia’s Aminata earned her place in the final with the haunting, trance-like Love Injected.

San Marino, Malta, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Iceland, and Switzerland did not qualify.

These 10 acts join the 10 which qualified on Tuesday night, and the seven automatic qualifiers (Austria, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK) in Saturday’s Eurovision final.

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