With Eurovision season just around the corner, we take a look back at 'You're A Star' and attempt to see what all of the winners have been up to since.
Cast your mind back to 2002, if you will. It was a year when Ireland didn't participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, and a shining beacon of hope was concocted - 'You're a Star.' RTE's newest talent show was on everyone's lips, as the show attempted to bring the Eurovision back to Ireland once and for all. Unfortunately, sixteen years later, we're still stood here waiting while the tricolour flies limply in the wind.
Anyway, 'You're A Star' ran for six series from 2002 until 2008; we saw five presenters over that space of time (do you remember getting up at 8 am on a Monday morning for Sunday's results?), and had 12 different judges. After the third season of the show, the Eurovision aspect was axed, and a recording contract with Universal Music Ireland was the grand prize instead. Here are the six winners from the series - do you remember them all?
Mickey Joe Harte
Oh, how our hearts soared when Mickey Joe stepped out onto the Latvian stage in 2003 with his sparkly green guitar. So much pride. Harte ended up finishing in 11th place for Ireland with 'We've Got The World' - it was a cracking performance. The song stayed at number one in the Irish charts for five weeks straight and was Ireland's biggest-selling single of the year. We, the nation, had truly gone Eurovision mad.
Sixteen years later, and Mickey Joe Harte is still going strong. Over the years, he's carried on singing and writing songs; appearing on 'Even Better Than The Real Thing vol. 3' and his latest album 'Forward To Reality.' Currently, the Donegal singer is on a tour around Ireland and will be performing a night in Germany on St. Patrick's Day too. The bio on his website says that he's currently writing a new album in Germany, with songwriter Dieter Kirchenbauer. His newest single 'Stressed Out' was released in February.
If you follow the man on social media, you'll notice that his selfie game is strong.
Thanks to Harte's top 11 performance the year before, Ireland qualified automatically through to the final in 2004. Chris Doran was that year's 'You're A Star' winner, fighting off stiff competition from Jean Elliot and James Kilbane. Unfortunately though, 'If My World Stops Turning' was a ballad in a year that there were too many male ballads, and failed to make an impression on Europe. Doran ended up finishing 22nd out of the 24 participating countries.
In Ireland though, the single enjoyed two weeks at the top spot.
Following the Eurovision, the Waterford star earned himself two other top 10 singles in 2004 with 'Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You' and 'Right Here Waiting.'
Since then, Doran's remained very quiet, shying away from the singing limelight if you will.
That's not to say he hasn't made headlines. The singer was involved in an altercation in 2013; the outcome resulted with himself and seven others being brought in for a special sitting at Carrick-on-Suir district court following a row on the street.
Donna and Joe McCaul
In fairness to the siblings, they tried their very best. In a year that was a stark contrast to the one before, 2005's Eurovision entry 'Love?' was the beginning of the end for Ireland's chances at the song contest. Donna and Joe failed to qualify past the newly-introduced semi-finals, and viewers across the country couldn't believe it. It was the talk of the schoolyard for days to come.
Post-Eurovision the siblings have been keeping in touch with the singing business.
Donna McCaul seems to be doing great. After appearing in the US version of 'The Voice,' she's now based in L.A. fulltime, and is the lead singer of Pop/Rock band Weekend Celebrity.
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Not to be outdone, her brother Joe appeared on the 'X-Factor' in 2015 before failing to make it past the harrowing six-chair challenge.
Last we heard of Joe, he was based in his home county of Westmeath and was the frontman of cover band The Good, The Bad and The Funky.
The absolute powerhouse that was Lucia Evans lit up our screens in 2006. The Irish-Zimbabwean singer was the stand-out performer of the fourth series of the talent show and went on to release 'Bruised Not Broken' as her first single. The track peaked at number five in the Irish chart.
Now back at her base in Galway, Evans has gone on to have a successful career off-screen. She contributed to the soundtrack of Riverdance spin-off 'Heartbeat of Home' as lead vocalist, and is just after wrapping up touring with the production.
She's also a vocal coach, and tested her acting chops in 2017 by appearing on 'Fair City.' Apart from that, she keeps her social media updated quite regularly, and says she loves a laugh.
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It was the series that drove head-first into the 21st century, and also famously included Kodaline, before they were Kodaline. 21 Demands broke records in 2007 by becoming the first Irish act to reach number one on downloads alone; the fifth series of 'You're A Star' was the first talent show in the world to have contestants singles available only as downloads. Take that 'X-Factor.'
Anyway, back to the main event - David O'Connor was crowned the fifth winner of the show, and went on to release a cover of Oasis' 'Don't Look Back In Anger.' He failed to gain much traction on the Irish charts and peaked at number seven.
The only above average quality video that can be found of O'Connor's talent show foray is this one looking for your vote - complete with brilliantly cringe promotional pictures of 'You're A Star.'
Nowadays, O'Connor still seems to be keeping the singing business within an arm's reach just in case. In 2015, the Irish tenor uploaded four music videos to his YouTube account.
Not much else is known about O'Connor currently, but he must be keeping the head down concentrating on his previous career in horse racing.
The final series of 'You're A Star' saw surprise winner Leanne Moore take home first place. As a guest judge on the panel, Louis Walsh stated that the Limerick singer "had the most star potential" out of all the finalists. Here's her debut single 'On Wings' which looks to have had a budget of about €10.
Since then, Moore actually went on to perform at the Eurovision. She sang as a backing singer for Jedward both times they represented Ireland in 2011 and 2012; and also had a stab at Eurovision herself in 2010, losing out to Niamh Kavanagh.
Out of all of the winners on this list, Moore is probably the most successful. These days, she works as a personal trainer, runs a fitness and wellbeing blog, and is gearing up for her wedding.
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You can drink green juices and exercise every day - but if you don’t look after your mind you’re still not going to be healthy. I’ve seen that quote pop up a few times in the past week and it got me thinking....... What things do you do daily to look after your mind? Here’s what I currently do: 1: Read! For me it’s thirty minutes to focus my mind on something other than work and social media. 2: Quiet time or Podcasts in the car. I drive from my home in Dublin to work in Limerick and back again ALOT and one of the things I love doing is getting a coffee and sitting in complete silence. It’s honestly blissful. Other times I play a podcast or audio book but mainly I adore those two hours of just the thoughts in my head. 3: Soul Days - these are my days where I do something that I truely love to do! It usually involves spending time in some shape or form by the sea! And here are some things I want to start doing: 1: Singing - I love to sing. I’m going to start doing it again just for fun and maybe even record some little one minute clips for social media. 2: I’m going to set a “switch off time” daily. Working for yourself or running a business means you are switched on from the moment your eyes open till the moment they close. I’m going to actively try to keep to a certain time cut off daily for work related issues. That’s going to be a tough one but we all need wind down time. I’d love to hear anything you guys do for some headspace... either in the comments below or in the questions sticker in my story. I’ll share with everyone and we all might pick up some little ideas that fit our own lives ✌🏻 I want to be #HeadToToeHealthy #HashtagHealthy - - #mindfulness #mymind #selfcare #bodycare #health #mentalhealth #body #goals #healthy