14 November 2017
Junior Eurovision or Wannabe Eurovision? The recent trend of JESC becoming more about kids being adults than kids being kids is continuing, and I don’t like it! Clearly adults are having more and more influence in the song-writing process, and it’s skewing JESC to a place of squawking mini divas and songs becoming too serious. These kids should be there to have fun, and express it, not teach the world about domestic violence! That’s not to say adults shouldn’t have influence in the writing process because it can result in some really terrible and simplistic songs otherwise, like Georgia’s horrendous buzzy buzz bee song that won in 2008 – bzzz, bzzz, bzzz. Although, I’d rather tolerate those few exceptions if it meant JESC stayed true to its original concept.
Despite Australia, Ireland and Portugal joining the party in recent years, there’s only 16 countries entered for this year’s event. Countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway have long left JESC because they felt JESC had become too competitive and lost its kids ethos, while Croatia and Slovenia are recent departees. The competition as a whole has stagnated, so let’s hope for a more appropriate winner than (not to pick on Georgia again) last year’s whiny Mzeo by Mariam Mamadashvili. My ears are still ringing.
Albania, Poland and Armenia are too whiny. Ukraine is a little dull. I don’t quite feel the force with Fource from Netherlands.
After initial disdain, I’ve grown to quite like Portugal. It’s a nice, simple catchy song, it (Youtuber) has a fun theme, and Mariana is so cute. FYR Macedonia sounds like their senior effort in Kyiv (not a bad thing; just not as good). Malta, which is quite pleasing, is a total rip-off of People Of The Sun by Betty for Armenia in 2014. Georgia is a cute, albeit, overly slick effort. Ireland is a really pleasant “campfire” style of song and wouldn’t surprise with a decent result. Belarus is superb and only just missed the Fab 5. I might have been offended by Helena’s nose-ring.
The Fab Five
5) Serbia – Irina Brodic & Jana Paunovic – Ceo svet je nas
Putting aside the horrendous braces and pants combination in the preview video, this is a top example of an appropriate JESC song. Two girls singing about life and having fun. They have great chemistry, and really exude the message of the song’s title, “the whole world is ours”.
4) Cyprus – Nicole Nicolaou – I Wanna Be A Star
A really infectious European summer dance song, even if it is winter. It’s simplicity is also its attraction, and who doesn’t want to be a star? Emitting enormous heat through constant nuclear fusion, and destroying planets and other celestial bodies that might stray too close, it would be fun!
3) Australia – Isabella Clarke – Speak Up
The question about hosting if Australia wins is already answered, with Minsk confirmed to host JESC 2018. Australia’s song came right after a plethora of mini diva songs, and proved a really bubbly and fun addition (and relief!) to the rest released at that point. It still is fun, and Isabella is a great performer. I expect it to do well.
2) Italy – Maria Iside Fiore – Scelgo (My Choice)
Even though it’s more the standard Italian musical monologue than a structured song (think Francesca Michielin at ESC 2016), it’s so good and Maria has a great voice.
1) Russia – Polina Bogusevich – Wings
Oh well, the most adult-orientated song of this year’s Junior Eurovision is also my favourite. The thing is, it’s so damn good! Not only that, Polina can sing. She has a great, powerful voice, and a pleasant tone. Her musical inspirations are Beyonce, Christin Aguilera , Jennifer Hudson and Aretha Franklin. Wow! No wonder she can let it rip. I’m ready to fly.
A new public voting system is being tried, where you can vote online for 3 to 5 songs (including your own country) from 24 November (after watching a video of rehearsals) until 15 minutes after the last live performance on 26 November. That will be converted into points and comprise 50% of the vote. The other 50% will be from professional juries. I like the idea – it’s almost like Greek democracy where the winning candidate is the one with the most cheers. Needing to actually rank songs can become quite difficult. Whether it changes voting patterns, who knows. Possibly it will even it up a bit because your individual choices are all worth 1 point (not 12, 10, 8, etc). We wait and see!
– I really am ready to fly. Recently moving house and now off to Japan for holidays, this is a truncated and early preview. I arrive back the day after JESC so the review will be a bit late. The Australian broadcast of JESC is on Monday night, 27 November, on ABC ME. In the meantime, Shine Bright!