The search for an Irish pop group gripped the nation back in 2002, as nearly a million people tuned in to the grand finale of Popstars to see the six chosen ones – Nadine Coyle, Sinead Sheppard, Emma O’Driscoll, Andy Orr, Liam McKenna and Kyle Anderson. The drama didn’t end there, however, as it was revealed that Nadine had lied about her age, and she was replaced in the band by Sarah Keating. The launched the fastest-selling Irish single ever (Whole Lotta Lovin’), but within two years their dream of stardom was over. All have remained busy, however – Emma is an RTE presenter, Liam works in music management, and Sinead is a politician!
2003 Mickey Joe Harte
Donegal born Mickey Joe Harte beat off stiff competition from Simon Casey and Brian Ormond to win the very first You’re A Star, with the winner going on to represent Ireland at the Eurovision. An accomplished musician, Mickey had been trying to make it big for many years until his chance came along. His winning song, We’ve Got the World, reached no. 1 in Ireland, and he came a respectable 11th in the Eurovision that year. He has since released three albums, and continues to both write music and gig throughout the country.
2004 Chris Doran
Chris Doran won the second You’re A Star with a Brian McFadden penned song, If My World Stopped Turning,” which topped the Irish charts for two weeks. It didn’t fare so well in Eurovision, however, finishing 22nd out of 24th, which marked the start of Ireland’s slow slide down the Eurovision placings. Chris, from Waterford, has continued to gig in his home country, but his most notable appearance in the media in recent time was when he was briefly arrested in 2013 for being part of a group involved in a fight in Carrick-on-Suir.
2005 Donna & Joe McCaul
The brother and sister act from Athlone were a novelty when the won You’re A Star and, over 10 years later, both are still active in the music industry. Well, they’re both active in trying to break into the music industry, as they have becoming something of a pair of serial auditioners. In 2012, Donna attempted to represent Ireland in the Eurovision but came third, while Joe entered the X Factor the same year, but failed to get beyond the bootcamp stage. Last year, Donna entered the US version of The Voice, while Joe gave the X Factor another shot. Earlier this year, Joe admitted that he suffered from a “Facebook addiction,” spending up to 10 hours a day on the site!
2006 Lucia Evans
Zimbabwe-born Lucia wowed both the judges and public alike to win You’re A Star 2005, having entered the competition in 2002 and being told by then judge Phil Coulter that she couldn’t sing! Hers was the first winner’s song not to reach no. 1 in the charts, but she has continued to be involved in the music industry, having worked with an Irish dance show entitled Heartbeat of Home, and also working as a vocal coach.
2007 David O’Connor
David was a surprise winner in 2007, with the final’s judges all seeming to prefer a band called 21 Demands, who they felt had better prospects. The judge’s weren’t wrong, as the band re-named themselves Kodaline soon after! David, however, won the hearts of the voting public, and bagged himself the sought-after recording contract. His career never really took off, however, and when last heard of, David was recording a 1916-inspired song with his local national school in Wexford as part of the centenary celebrations last March…
2008 Leanne Moore
Limerick girl Leanne Moore was just 23 when she won what was to be the last ever You’re A Star in March 2008. Unlike previous winners, instead of a recording contract, Leanne bagged €50,000 in cash! She did, however, keep up her singing, providing backing vocals three times for Irish Eurovision entries (including Jedward twice!). She also forged out a career as an entertainment journalist, and the very-busy Leanne has recently re-invented herself as a fitness guru.
2009 The Mulkerrins
The Mulkerrin brothers were aged only 15 to 9 when the won the first ever All Ireland Talent Show, a twist on the X Factor type format which saw different judges representing different regions of Ireland. The traditional musicians from the Aran Islands provided an inspiring story for the show, and the boys made several tv appearances on the back of their victory, though they were never, in reality, going to achieve much commercial success. They continue to play as a band, and seven years later, still use a picture from their photoshoot with VIP on their Facebook profile!
2010 Chloe Coyle
Teenagers continued to thrive on the second series of the All Ireland Talent Show, as 13-year-old Chloe Coyle for Tyrone won the €50k first prize, and charmed the nation when she said that she hoped to use the money to get her father a job closer to home so that he wasn’t away so much! Instead, as her mother revealed to VIP, they used some of it to bring Chloe, her three sisters and their parents to Disney World in Florida, with the rest going to her music education. Chloe continues to work in music, having forged a career for herself as a wedding singer.
2011 Daniel Furlong
For the third year in a row, a teenager scooped the top prize in the AITS, with soprano David Furlong from Wexford coming out on top in this, the last ever show. And just like Chloe the previous year, his plans for the money involved music training and a trip to Florida! Torn between being a professional singer, and a star hurler for Wexford, David seemed keen to try and do both when VIP met him. Five years later, we have no update on whether he achieved his ambitions…
2012 Pat Byrne
Pat, the first ever winner of The Voice of Ireland, hails from Borris in Carlow. All four judges turned for him when he sang Bruce Springsteen’s “The River”, but he chose Bressie. After he won, Louis Walsh said he could break America. He released his album’s debut single in 2012 which reached No.61 in the Irish charts – a second single was released in 2013 and reached no. 80, with plans for a third single abandoned. Since then, Byrne hasn’t released any new music but says he’s still constantly gigging and writing new music. Hehopes to self-release an album this year.
2013 Keith Hanley
Limerick born Keith Hanley was a care assistant for children with special needs before entering the competition in 2013, singing Beyoncé’s Listen at the blind auditions and chose Jamelia as his coach. He released his debut single Blue in February 2014 and his debut album Hush in March 2014. It was announced on August 10 2014 that Hanley had been dropped from Universal Music after disappointing sales.
2014 Brendan McCahey
Brendan is from Monaghan and, unlike many of his Voice contemporaries, is actually doing quite well for himself! Having chosen Bressie as his mentor, Brendan was a hugely popular winner in 2014. He is touring at the moment in Ireland and the UK, and has released two albums already and is constantly uploading new music to his Soundcloud. He’s also going to have more songs on iTunes this year. Well done Brendan!
2015 Patrick Donoghue
Patrick Donoghue is from Dublin and used to work in Dunnes Stores. He has now changed his name to Patrick James and also lost two and a half stone since winning The Voice (well done Patrick!). Una Foden was his mentor and all of the judges turned when he sang. He released a song in April 2016 which was written by Bressie, but plans for an album never materialised. Just last month, Irish group KBM confirmed he is on one of their tracks out on August 15th. Well, at least it’s something…
2016 Michael Lawson
19-year-old Michael was was born in London and lives with his parents in Newbliss, Co Monaghan. His winning song was a cover of a song called 7 years by a Danish band called Lukas Graham, but following its release after his win on the show, it failed to make any mid week charts in Ireland and therefore didn’t make it into the top 75 in Ireland on iTunes. The Voice of Ireland producers blame a lack of airplay for Michael’s poor sales, and while it is hardly all Michael’s fault, it seems as if his commercial failure put the final nail in the show’s coffin.