Zena Donnelly from Blackrock, Co. Dublin to sing for Ireland at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Malta on 20th November, 2016.
14 year old Zena will perform her own original Irish language song “Bríce Ar Bhríce” after being selected by the judges of Junior Eurovision Éire (the Irish national selection series on TG4) from hundreds of applicants.
After 2 audition rounds, a televised heat and subsequent final, she emerged victorious and will be heading off to Malta this Saturday, 12th November to prepare for the main event on 20th November which will be broadcast live on TG4 from 6.30pm-9pm.
Having finished second last year to Aimee Banks from Moycullen, this was a moment of redemption. Aimee did the nation proud in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2015 as the first ever Irish entry to the Junior Eurovision, finishing 12th. Now Zena will look to build on that and who knows, maybe she’ll bring some long lost Eurovision success back to Ireland.
Zena Donnelly was first noticed in 2009 at the age of 7 by The Late Late Show on RTE TV in nationwide auditions and a subsequent solo performance on the show’s Late Late Toy Show ensued.
Since then, Zena has gone on to perform at Voice In A Million in Wembley Arena, the UN World Peace Party and a solo at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Royal Gala Performance, not to mention an impromptu performance with the late Whitney Houston in Dublin’s 3Arena 2010.
Zena has won RTE’s Nationwide TV Talent Competition ‘Show Off or Get Off’, performed for Music Inc., played the lead role in ANNIE The Musical at the National Concert Hall, performed as a special young guest at the Cheerios Childline Concert in the 3Arena alongside other artists including Olly Murs, Boyzone and Mc Busted. Of recent, Zena won ‘The Soloist’ nationwide competition in Ireland from age 12 to 31.
Branching out from music Zena has started to be cast in films such as The Food Guide To Love, Céad Ghrá, Cuckoo, Dance Emergency and A Christmas Star, where she also sings among others, the music soundtrack ‘ We Can Shine’. More recently she has been cast in the role of ‘Maggie Colgan’ in the theatre production ‘Before Monsters Were Made’ and lead role of Sarah in TV Series ‘Spooky Stakeout’. Another recent credit is as a presenter for Smyth’s Toystores web show online. Zena has just completed filming for ‘Spooky Stakeout’ the movie.
Zena also began writing her own songs, in English and Irish, which she hopes to record in the near future.
It has also been announced that Jedward are to appear in the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest! John and Edward, who are identical twins, represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in both 2011 and 2012 and will be part of Junior Eurovision’s first ever expert panel when the contest takes place in Valletta in less than two weeks.
Linda Ní Ghríofa, TG4
Cur aithne orainn…
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