The first of a two-part documentary following JLC as he attempts to enter Eurovision 2010.
Having tried – and failed – to be accepted by Estonia, Spain, France and Andorra, Justin finds himself in Ireland, where Eurovision is big business. The Emerald Isle has won the contest more times than any other nation – and Justin is convinced he can deliver the country’s eighth victory. “I want to be the man who can put Ireland back on the Eurovision map and win it!” says Justin. Before he can put himself forward for consideration, however, he needs an original song.
With just three weeks to go before the five chosen entrants compete for the right to perform in Oslo, Justin places an advert in the Stage newspaper asking for help. The following morning, over 80 songs arrive on the doorstep. Among them are some definite no-hopers, including one about Cyprus, one called ‘Spring Chicken’ by Earl of Mongoose, and another featuring the hook “come on baby, grab my pistachios”. But one song stands out from the others. ‘All I Need Is You’ is a country-and-western ballad written by OJ Armstrong. “I love it – that’s made my day!” says an excited Justin.
However, after playing the song to a Eurovision expert, Justin’s enthusiasm wanes. According to Keith Mills, ‘All I Need Is You’ may not be right for the competition. “I think it’s a lovely, sweet country song. I don’t see it as a Eurovision song,” says Keith. Justin reluctantly agrees with the verdict, and finds himself back at square one.
With time fast running out before the submission date, JLC gets on the phone and starts begging. Much to his surprise, the plan works and he has soon secured the assistance of pop star Ronan Keating, who even agrees to write the song. “We like a bit of pressure,” says Ronan upon discovering he has less than two weeks to write and record the track. “We have to get you through – we will!” A few days later, however, Ronan is on tour in Australia, and has yet to send his song to Justin.
As Justin heads back to Dublin to appear on RTE’s ‘The Late Late Show’, he is worried that nobody will believe he is serious if he does not have a song. “There’s a real chance that I’m going to look like a man who says he shovels things for a living, but has no shovel,” says Justin. But just before he goes into the studio, an email comes in from Ronan saying the song is finished and will be with him first thing in the morning. “That’s given me a little lift before I go on this show, says Justin.Armed with the Ronan scoop, Justin performs well in front of the camera and wins over the studio audience with a quick song.
The next morning, Justin listens to Ronan’s song – and is filled with fear. Far from the booming, Tom Jones-style feel Justin had been hoping for, the track is a punchy pop song. “That’s a song for pop stars,” he says. “I don’t fully believe in myself performing that song.” In order to boost his confidence, Justin visits a vocal coach and sets about developing a believable interpretation of Ronan’s song. With just one day left, he has no choice but to push ahead and record his vocals in the studio. “This is the culmination of four months’ work – the end of a long and winding road,” says Justin as he submits his completed song to the judging panel. Now all he can do is wait. Will JLC’s Eurovision dreams come true?