10 December 2022
The kids of Junior Eurovision have caught the bug of infectiously fun and dancy songs as they gather in Yerevan, Armenia, for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest of 2022. Such songs have been a successful formula the past two years, which includes Melena’s victory for Armenia with Qami Qami in 2021 that saw Yerevan become the host city this year, and France’s Valentina win with J’imagine in 2020. Those two made it a run of four uptempo songs winning JESC after Poland’s successive wins in 2018 and 2019. While there are ballads in 2022, there’s not as many, nor are they the bawling type.
Participants from sixteen countries will gather in Yerevan to spin the magic on the Junior Eurovision stage and hope to create the biggest moment of their life. No doubt some will play spin the bottle off the stage and create some new and unique friends. It’s a smaller number of entries than the usual, notably due to Russia and Belarus banned due to the invasion of Ukraine, Azerbaijan withdrawing due to the mutual hatred between them and Armenia, and Germany leaving after their two-year dalliance that saw abysmal results. Bulgaria make intermittent appearances and this year chose to sit out. Australia don’t need to return the favour to EBU for their invitations to senior Eurovision anymore, so skipped JESC again. That’s three years now (the first was due to COVID-19) and also three years that JESC won’t be televised in Australia. It shows the contempt the two public broadcasters, SBS and the ABC, have for Eurovision if there’s no ratings boost involved. Incidentally, the senior event was never live until Australia participated. The United Kingdom return after 17 years to obviously drive publicity for the Eurovision Song Contest, which they will host next year in Liverpool.
The playlist of my Top 16
Every song has some sort of appeal this year, and there’s no bad ones. The weakest one would be Spain, and sorry senor, the senoritas won’t be overly impressed with this one. While Senorita is fun and catchy, it’s just a bit on the bland side.
France repeat the vibe of Spain, albeit it has more energy and more to it, notably that French chanson style. I was vibing with Portugal initially – a rock song with its mix of soft and grungy vocals – thinking this girl really has talent, even if the song is lacking somewhat. Watching a final run with my sister, I lost a bit of interest, and lost even more when she said the boy was annoying. What, a boy? I thought it was girl all this time. I guess I should have checked the pronounces on the official website, or at least note his name. Serbia brings a highly listenable Balkan ballad, with its main strengths Katarina’s voice and the music. Kazakhstan does even better, being a powerful, dramatic song, to complement the strong voice. Let’s hope the EBU rewards them for their continued support of JESC and finally allows them into ESC. They at least have territory in Europe.
Ireland, sounding a bit like the theme to the Titanic movie, is a really lovely song, with splendid music, and the video, with the scenery and lighthouse, is especially evocative. Can Sophie replicate that on the stage? Netherlands is their usual fun self, with nice energy and dance moves. No surprise Ukraine brings a song about the war. The theme is about their unbreakable will to win and be free, and the video is complete with children huddled in a subway bomb shelter. If Ukraine win JESC out of sympathy, like they did with ESC in May, at least it’s a good song this time. Malta hints at blowing us away with an amazing intro, and then it falls a bit flat. Gaia sings like she’s comatose, with the song deserving some big notes somewhere. It’s still really good with the music and beat, it just should be, and could be, much better.
07 Armenia – Nare – Dance!
Armenia shows us what Malta could have been. Similar infectious beat, except better far superior vocals, and more variety, including a bit of rap.
06 Poland – Laura – To The Moon
Another of the fun, catchy dance songs. Laura lets go with some big notes, which isn’t always ideal in a voice so young.
05 Albania – Kejtlin Gjata – Pakez diell
A beautiful, haunting ballad, and with a stunning voice. The best ballad this year.
04 North Macedonia – Lara feat. Jovan and Irina – Zivotot e pred mene
The most kids-orientated song this year, with it about a girl annoyed a boy is still pretending that she’s her boyfriend. Something like that! It’s fun and cute, and the video extra so, especially with that little dog riding around.
03 United Kingdom – Freya Skye – Lose My Head
Freya looks like the most accomplished artist this year, is at the top age limit of 14, and brings a super song. Infectious, bouncy and a great voice.
02 Georgia – Mariam Bigvava – I Believe
The most contemporary and stylish song this year, and I especially love the “uaaa” (that’s the official spelling). It’s moody, dramatic, well structured and just oozes quality. Super vocals too. Uaaa!
The Piece De Resistance
01 Italy – Chanel Dilecta – Bla Bla Bla
Amore mio! My Italy, I love them so much, and at JESC they rarely disappoint. The natural melody of the language is always a strong point, and at JESC 2022 it’s mixed with the most infectious song of the contest, being instantly appealing and it keeps growing and growing on you. A song about actions not words, I’m stunned after millions of songs written that you can still get a distinctive melody out of three words or syllables like Bla Bla Bla. They form the basis of this super song that swings and swerves around, is structurally perfect, is arranged superbly, and it’s so damn catchy that I’ve been Bla Bla Bla in my mind for two weeks. Ironically, for a dance song, it contains the biggest note of the contest, and Chanel herself is so charming and likeable too. Bellissimo!
Ukraine has been positioned last, and Armenia second last, and that gives a strong hint as to thoughts of the producers. The other strong uptempo songs, Netherlands, Poland, Malta and Italy, are all done with in the first five songs. That leaves a long period of slower and weaker songs to fill the space for songs like those from Georgia and the United Kingdom to shine. You could quite comfortably see Ukraine, Armenia, United Kingdom and Georgia in the top four, and then hope music is the deciding factor that gives us an authentic winner. Otherwise it will be another Bla Bla Bla Eurovision event, albeit not the Bla Bla Bla I was hoping to see.
You can vote online now via jesc.tv after watching a video of rehearsal snippets and I’m leaning towards Georgia or Armenia to win. They are quality songs, vocally good, and presented well. Albania was the strongest vocally of the ballads, while Kazakhstan looked impressive. You get three selections after watching the video, and I’ve voted twice already, giving one vote each to Albania, North Macedonia, United Kingdom and Georgia, and two votes to Italy.
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