Junior Eurovision

Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2012 – Amsterdam


In honor of the tenth Junior Eurovision Song Contest (and the fact that I do not have anything better to do); I’ve decided to watch and liveblog the jESC this year.  For the first time, I won’t know the winner while watching the jESC – which is a good thing, as the voting is always rather tight!  If you are looking for my first post for the upcoming ESC2013 – Malmö, you can find it here.

I like the focus on the contestants leading up to the show.  I like the opening act.  The tune is vaguely familiar, but I can’t place it.  Oh!! It’s Euphoria!  Definitely has to be one of the most popular winners of the Contest.  Oh look, some random Dutch singer* singing the song.  What’s up Netherlands?  Couldn’t get the rights to perform Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie)?

*After further reflection, I realize it’s the Dutch representative from last year, Rachel!

Look at that dress on the host!  I cannot quite decide if it’s crazy awesome or merely just crazy.  The male host’s suit, though, is much too loud.  And why is his shirt unbuttoned so low?

Belarus!  A More – Egor Zheshko

Interesting.  One thing I always like about the jESC is that a lot of songs tend to have a retro feel to them.  This song is okay, but not my favorite – mostly due to Zhesko’s nasally voice.  But it’s Belarus and jESC is their wheelhouse.  I expect this to do well.

Sweden!  Mitt Mod – Lova Sönnerbo

Sweden, interestingly enough, tends to send slower songs to jESC.  Normally I like their entries, but I think Sönnerbo is suffering from stage fright, as her voice is way off!  And the way they chose to end the song did not help things.  I’m thinking this will be last.

Azerbaijan!  Girls & Boys – Omar & Suada

Azerbaijan’s debut entry and the first time we get to here Azerbaijani on any ESC stage!  Please note, that even though the performers are supposed to at least co-write their entries, neither singer is listed as a writer or composer.  Despite this fact, the song is very childish – it’s things like this that kept me from watching (and continue to keep me from watching) the first five editions; it’s just kid bop stuff.

Belgium!  Abracadara – Fabian

Yay – magic tricks!  This is probably the best set of performers we’ve seen thus far, but the song still leaves me fairly lukewarm.

Russia!  Sensation – Lerika

Russia always has a good entry!  And this year is not disappointing.  What a performer!  I really like this song – the performance, the lyrics, the music.  Good stuff!  This song could even be competitive at the real ESC.

That girl is dancing all over Amsterdam…and with that giant sledgehammer – she must be getting tired!

Israel!  Let the Music Win – Kids.il

The English translation of these lyrics are not on the site, but, given the title, I can pretty much assume what they’re saying.  Opera!  That was not at all what I expected when I saw that boy come forward.  I can imagine this winning, but it will either do really well, or really bad, I think.

We’re already halfway through the acts and we’ve only been going for about a half-hour – way to keep things moving Netherlands!  Dutch host guy – don’t ask the girl about eating moose right after she told you it is her mascot, that’s just poor form!  I like how he doesn’t actually know the kids’ names, so he just refers to them as Ms. Sweden and Mr. Azerbaijan.

Albania!  Kam Një Këhgë Vetëm Për Ju – Igzidora Gjeta

Our third debut entry comes from Albania.  Apparently, it’s the country’s centennial and this song signifies that.  What’s up with Gjeta’s hair?  The song is not bad, not my favorite, but I like it.  And I commend her bravery for coming out and performing by herself.

Armenia!  Sweetie Baby – Compass Band

Another throwback entry – this time in the style of 60s rock (are they trying to look like the Beatles?).  I’m pretty sure that bass is bigger than that kid playing it.  I really like this song, I didn’t think I was going to, but I really like it.  Oh, lookie, English that last time through the chorus.  I think they are new frontrunners (though Russia is not out of it).

Ukraine!  Nebo – Anastasiya Petryk

The Ukraine is trying to recover from a string of disappointing finishes in the past few jESCs.  Petryk is only 10 years old, but she has a much bigger voice!  This song makes me think of the 90s when rock-muzak was popular.  I like it.  Petryk is turning out a very strong performance; I think this an entry that would be competitive in the real ESC.  Though, I’m not sure how it will do tonight.

Georgia!  Funky Lemonade – The Funkids

Georgia attempts to defend their crown and break their tie with Belarus for most jESC wins.  So, another fun feature of jESC is that experimental pop is also rather popular and no one does it better than Georgia, which always sends an entry that is wholly unique.  So, this song mixes Georgian, English, and gibberish – fun.  I don’t know if Georgia has ever submitted a song that was entirely in Georgian…or normal.  Either way, I really liked it, but do not think it was enough to win a third time.

Moldova!  Toate Vor Fi – Denis Midone

His intro clip was full of confidence, his performance, full of nerves.  Did he just start a new song?  Meh, I am not impressed.

The Netherlands!  Tik Tak Tik – Femke

The Netherlands is always good for a solidly retro song every other year.  This is their attempt to defend their home turf and become the third country to win twice within the short history of the jESC.  This would have a better chance of doing well if she didn’t hit those bad notes towards the end of the song.  This most definitely will not win, but the host country bump, performing last, and the pyrotechnics will definitely get her in the top half of the scoreboard.

How are they doing a recap without opening the voting?  Also, I had some technical difficulties – was Belarus left out of the recap?  By the time the site self-corrected, they were on Sweden.

My Top Twelve (might as well rank them all)

How I think the final votes will go

1. Russia

1. Russia

2. Armenia

2. Georgia

3. Ukraine

3. Ukraine

4. Georgia

4. Armenia

5. The Netherlands

5. Belarus

6. Belarus

6. The Netherlands

7. Albania

7. Moldova

8. Belgium

8. Azerbaijan

9. Israel

9. Israel

10. Sweden

10. Belgium

11. Azerbaijan

11. Albania

12. Moldova

12. Sweden

This was very difficult, as I think Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, and Georgia really separated themselves from the pack with vastly superior songs and performances.  I would be shocked if any other entry made it into the Top Four.

So, just like in 2008, the last time all the entrants performed together – everyone is singing without microphones.  Wouldn’t it just be easier to shoot a music video with all of them – same result (using the studio version, ensuring that everything goes smoothly) without insulting the viewers.

Wait, when was voting opened?  There’s not countdown clock so we know how much time is left in voting!  And the male host is causing more awkward moments by trying to get the  Belgian boy (note: he’s Flemish, so his language is essentially a more guttural Dutch) and the Dutch girl to hook up.  Is this how foreign journalists get their stories, they make them happen?  What was the point of the host talking to the Israel boy, just so he could say “Fine, fine?”

That final countdown was definitely shorter than ten seconds!

Oh – it’s always fun to see how the jESC contestants grow up.  Wow!!  He looks so differet – a lot can change two years (he won in 2009, but we saw him again in 2010 when Belarus had all the previous winners together for the Interval Act).  This is crazy!!  It’s like he’s a totally different person – which I guess is what he was going for.

The whole “everyone gets 12 points” thing is nice – I like how they did it last year, where it was as if Australia gave 12 points to everyone.

Hmmm…so this is how they’re working in the jury votes.  I guess it makes sense, since they were able to vote for everyone and there are only a few countries competing.  Hmm…Georgia jumps out to an early lead.  Albania and Moldova start off with nothing.

The official theme song.  Is it me, or does this, the song that Ralf Mackenbach performed, and the version of Euphoria from the Opening Act sound ridiculously similar to one another?  Also, why wouldn’t they bring that girl from the postcards back for the performance of the theme song?

I like Sietse Bakker – I’ve always been a fan (if you wanna know about his rise to where he is now, and why he is a personal hero of mine, check out his Wikipedia page).  But you can tell that he’s still getting used to being on screen – if the results don’t matter, what’s the point of the show?

Voting: So, essentially, everyone will give points to all but one of the other competitors.

Belarus – people are not happy with the small points to the Netherlands, no surprise with the 12 to Ukraine.

Sweden – (so I see we’re going in performance order for the voting) I imagine this will be a long night for Albania – too bad they didn’t debut last year when Macedonia and Bulgaria were still competing.

Azerbaijan – isn’t that the girl who had that amazing song for Georgia a few years back?  She’s surely taking her sweet time, though.  I guess we knew that Armenia was not getting any points, but who would have guessed 12 for Albania?

Belgium – Through 1/3 of the voting, I’m doing pretty well, three of my predicted Top Four is up there.  The Netherlands is definitely doing better than expected.

Russia – So, this is going to be close, but it’s now a two-horse race between Ukraine and Georgia.

Israel – nix that, Ukraine is quickly ascending to the Winner’s Circle.

They need to lose this host!  Why is taking the trophy around?  This is so wrong!!  He needs to be reprimanded!  Poor Albania and Israel, the host did not even acknowledge them.  The Ukraine is separated from the rest of the group at the midway checkpoint, is that simply because she has such a big lead?

Albania – and the technical difficulties continue to abound.  Ha!  And the signal is lost right as she was about to give the 12 points to someone.  Ha!  Who would think that Tirana wouldn’t have a strong internet connection….  Who would have guessed that Albania would blank Russia?

Armenia – Armenia returns the favor of zero points to Azerbaijan.  Fun times.  Ukraine breaks 100!

Ukraine – Time for Georgia to make up ground as the Ukrainians cannot vote for themselves.  Whoops!  Only seven – the Ukraine is in it to win it!

Georgia is behind by 14 points, mathematically, they can pull off a come-from-behind victory.  So can Armenia (they’re down by 31 with three countries left to vote), but it’s not likely.

Moldova – whoops!  there goes Armenia’s shot.  Georgia has to hope for 12 and 0 to Ukraine.  Whoops!  only eight for Georgia.  Ukraine now has an 18 point lead, looks like it’s a lock for Ukraine.

The Netherlands – five points to Georgia and they are mathematically eliminated (but hey, they broke 100).  Congratulations to the Ukraine, you do not need points from the Netherlands or Georgia to win at this point.  And the Ukraine just got another 12.

Georgia – wait, shouldn’t Candy be in Amsterdam to pass over the Winner’s trophy?  This really is merely a formality at this point, though there’s a battle for third!  Armenia gets third!

And the winner is….the Ukraine!

This is most definitely a well-deserved victory!  Anastasiya Petryk has an amazing voice, the song is well-written, and the composition fits beautifully – all from a ten year old!  Petryk not only performed on stage by herself but is also the only person listed as lyricist and composer.  Well done; bravo!

As far as the final Scoreboard goes:

How I thought the final votes would go

1. Ukraine

1. Russia

2. Georgia

2. Georgia

3. Armenia

3. Ukraine

4. Russia

4. Armenia

5. Belgium

5. Belarus

6. Sweden

6. The Netherlands

7. The Netherlands

7. Moldova

8. Israel

8. Azerbaijan

9. Belarus

9. Israel

10. Moldova

10. Belgium

11. Azerbaijan

11. Albania

12. Albania

12. Sweden

Clearly, I am stunned that Sweden did so well despite the singer’s mousey performance.  And, in case you’re wondering, the Netherlands was one point out of the top half on the final scoreboard.  I am mildly shocked that, essentially, I inversely predicted Belgium and Belarus’ final positions.

And, the thing I was most sure about, the countries comprising the Top Four, came to fruition – with a full 16 points between fourth-place Russia and fifth-place Belgium.  As I said before, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Russia set themselves apart from the rest and the clear divide in the voting backs this up.

Overall, I think the Dutch put on a good show, though, I did not like the male host at all.  But it was definitely high quality by jESC standards.  However, I think the qualities of entries was down.  Hopefully, next year, the number of participating entries bounces back up.  I think Western Europe has taken to heart the moderate success of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Sweden of late.  Not only that,  I hope the participating countries send stronger entries next year.  With that said, I still found it to be entertaining and enjoyed watching the show.  Next year in…..where ever they decide to hold it next year!