I love Eurovision, you’ve probably gathered that much. But for the most part I can’t stand children. So what happens when you combine the two? It’s like an irresistible force and an immovable object, what’s going to give? As it turns out, I still don’t know, as I’ve never watched an edition of the Junior Eurovision, which celebrated its 10th edition this year in Amsterdam last weekend.
Junior Eurovision gives some of the more hopeless countries a chance to host a Eurovision too, with previous shows being hosted by sumptuous locations such as Minsk, Yerevan and Bucharest. This also seems like the only shot Netherlands will have to host a Eurovision in the near future, judging by their track record, so they seized on the idea to host for a second time, free from the rule that the winning nation hosts the next contest.
Standard Eurovision rules apply: 50/50 split of phone vote & jury vote from each participating country, with the traditional 12 points going to their favourite, 10 to their second-favourite, then 8, 7, 6 etc. for the other eight songs. Though participation has dwindled in recent years, with only 12 countries entering this year, all Eastern Europe except Sweden, Belgium and Netherlands. I feel this is a lot of explanation despite not watching the show, but I might make a go of it at the weekend if I’m particularly lazy. 12 songs of 2:30-2:45 length won’t take long!
So Ukraine won in the end, by a pretty decent margin over JESC titans Georgia. Anastasiya is only 10 and apparently wrote “Nebo” herself. She’s got a strong voice, discovered when she was only 6 on “Ukraine’s got talent” (Cheers, Wikipedia). She went for a mini-Loreen spooky goddess look for her performance, wind machines cranked up to 11.
Admittedly I haven’t seen the other entries, but this does plod a little through the start, but she totally nails the glory note and key change at the end. It does help when she switches to Enigma-sounding epic territory at the end, and in (fluent) English too!
Actually Enigma seems like a good comparison here, it’s very 90s New Agey, with some modern production thrown in. OK it’s patronising to say this, but it’s just a lot more impressive that she’s doing this at 10. I wonder if she’ll end up graduating to Eurovision one day (though with a minimum age of 16, it’ll be a while yet). Well done anyway, she gives Ukraine their first win in JESC.
By the way, if you get the chance (and to be honest, you’ll have to just look for it), I stumbled on a documentary about JESC called “Sounds like Teen Spirit” about the build-up to a JESC a few years back, showing all the kids from different backgrounds. It was really interesting, I didn’t think it would be. Very endearing too, and I got such a strong sense of how much of an honour it is for some contestants to represent their country, which I’m sure stretches to the usual Eurovision too. It should make the BBC a bit more humble, in an ideal world…