Former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon and his band Public Image Ltd (PiL) have failed in their bid to represent Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest.
The post-punk group, formed in 1978, entered the song Hawaii, described as a “love letter” to Lydon’s wife of nearly 50 years, Nora, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
But on a special Eurosong edition of RTE’s The Late Late Show on Friday night, a combination of votes from a national and international jury and public telephone votes selected the song We Are One by the band Wild Youth as the Irish entry for the contest.
The winning song narrowly defeated Midnight Summer Night by Connolly, with PiL’s song finishing in fourth position from six finalists.
The other acts included Andrew Carr (also known as ADGY), Leila Jane, and the duo K Muni & ND, made up of Kofi Appiah and Nevlonne Dampare.
Speaking at the start of the show, Lydon, 67, said: “This song we pieced together to try and tell the story as genuinely as we could without breaking down in tears.
“It is going to be a difficult one for me tonight.
“I recommend Hawaii to everyone for a holiday because it is the best Alzheimer’s cure.”
After Lydon, formerly known as Johnny Rotten, performed his song on the show it was given a lukewarm reception by a panel of experts, which included former X Factor contestants and Irish Eurovision entrants Jedward.
John from Jedward said: “The song comes from a place of love, acceptance and calmness.
“A delicate song might stand out if it did go to Eurovision.
“It is heartbreaking what is happening with his wife.”
Edward added: “I am not so sure it is a song for Eurovision.”
Wild Youth singer Conor O’Donohoe said it was a huge honour to be selected to represent Ireland.
He said: “Thank you to everyone who voted for us, we are overwhelmed, we hope everyone can get behind the song and that we can do everyone in Ireland proud. We want to thank all of our families, they have supported us from day one.”
Lydon, who was born in London to Irish parents, formed PiL following the break-up of the Sex Pistols in 1978, alongside guitarist Keith Levene, bassist Jah Wobble and drummer Jim Walker.
Their debut album, First Issue, was released in December that year and showcased a post-punk sound combining prog rock, dub and dance music.
After a 17-year hiatus, Lydon reformed the group in 2009 with a new line-up, touring worldwide and releasing two albums.
The group currently consists of Lydon plus guitarist Lu Edmonds, drummer Bruce Smith and bassist Scott Firth.
Eurovision will be held in May at the ACC Liverpool after the UK was named runner-up at the 2022 event with Sam Ryder.
The EBU concluded Ukraine could not host the event due to the Russian invasion, despite its entrant, Kalush Orchestra, coming first.
Ireland will perform in the first semi-final on May 9 ahead of the final on May 13.