Preview: Junior Eurovision 2012 (Part 2)

Over in Amsterdam, kids from a dozen nations are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their stage shows for this Saturday.  In our last post, we took a look at the first half of the running order.  Let’s take a look at the last six:

7) Albania: Igzidora Gjeta – “Kam Një Këngë Vetëm Për Ju (I Have a Song Just for You)”

  • Number of JESC Participations: 0
  • Number of JESC Victories: n/a
  • Placement at the 2011 JESC: n/a
  • Age of 2012 Participant: 11

The third of our trio of JESC debuts for 2012 is Albania, who will be represented by Igzidora, a veteran of youth musical festivals in her home country.  She beat thirteen other acts to win the ticket to Amsterdam, and while she might not have the polish of a Lerika or a Georgian production company backing her up, she genuinely looks happy to be performing, which could be enhanced even further by a more refined choreography and instrumentation.  And, let’s face it, this is Albania.  If their Eurovision entries are anything to go by, there’s always a bit of a makeover between the National Final and the big show.  Igzidora might not be Rona Nishliu quite yet, but, keep in mind…she’s only eleven!

8) Armenia: Compass Band – “Sweetie Baby”

  • Number of JESC Participations: 6
  • Number of JESC Victories: 1 (2010)
  • Placement at the 2011 JESC: 5
  • Ages of 2012 Participant: All four members are 13.

From Albania, we move on to last year’s hosts Armenia, who have taken a major departure from the happily hyperactive entries that have brought them success in the past.  From last year’s bubbly “Welcome to Armenia” to 2010’s victorious “Mama“, ARM has the tendency to feed off of the energy of youth for their entries.  This year, however, they’re going for a more mature sound…as in, from 1962.  The boys in Compass Band list Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Queen as their influences, but the image that springs to my mind when I listen to this number is the scene from “Grease” where Sha Na Na croons “Tears on My Pillow”.  I have to give the guys credit; it’s a departure from the norm, and a sweet and loving tribute to the music of our parents’ (and, dare I suggest, grandparents’?) generation, but this is Junior Eurovision, where previous winning entries have been about candy, bees, and tap-dancing… 

9) Ukraine: Anastasiya Petryk – “Nebo (The Sky)”

  • Number of JESC Participations: 7
  • Number of JESC Victories: 0
  • Placement at the 2011 JESC: 11
  • Ages of 2012 Participant: 10

Wait…this girl is 10?  She looks like she’s six, and sings like she’s thirty!  Anastasiya’s presenting a much more mature, and even borderline avant-garde, performance than her older sister Victoria sent to the Contest back in 2008, taking home a silver medal for Ukraine (their highest position to date).  Like Armenia before it, “Nebo” feels a touch out-of-place for JESC, but the girl has a spectacular voice, especially considering that she’s one of the youngest singers in Amsterdam this year.  It rises to a dramatic, yet abrupt conclusion.  Honestly, I have no idea how the voting public is going to respond to “Nebo”…

10) Georgia: The FunKids – “Funky Lemonade”

  • Number of JESC Participations: 6
  • Number of JESC Victories: 2 (2008, 2011)
  • Placement at the 2011 JESC: 1
  • Ages of 2012 Participant: 10-13

Hypercaffeinated ensemble of kids who sound like they were born to harmonize?  Lyrics that are in their native language, yet with enough universality to appeal to a wide audience?  Waaay too much swagger for people their ages?  Higher production values than their adult Eurovision entries?  Yep, this can only be Georgia.  Expect it to go big on the scoreboard.

11) Moldova: Denis Midone – “Toate vor fi (It will be fine)”

  • Number of JESC Participations: 3
  • Number of JESC Victories: 0
  • Placement at the 2011 JESC: 6
  • Ages of 2012 Participant: 10

I always find it interesting that for the country that brings us some of Eurovision’s oddest entries ever, Moldova’s entries to Junior are comfortably middle-of-the-road and universally pleasing.  Kids with good voices, uplifting and cheerful melodies…isn’t that what it’s all about, in the end?  So, what happens to Moldovans at age sixteen that turns them from this to this?

12) The Netherlands: Femke – “Tik Tak Tik”

  • Number of JESC Participations: 10
  • Number of JESC Victories: 1 (2009)
  • Placement at the 2011 JESC: 2
  • Ages of 2012 Participant: 12

Appropriate, isn’t it, that the closing number for the 2012 Junior Eurovision will be the hometown heroine Femke (not to be confused with last year’s Belgian Femke).  This soul-infused number sounds like it was ripped from the Motown back catalogue, modernized a bit, and given to a Dutch girl.  Not that that’s a bad thing!  It sounds classic, but not dated (I’m looking at you, Armenia).  Femke will be a great way to close out the show; the home crowd will be on its feet cheering for their standard-bearer, and the visiting audience will be left smiling.  I’m loathe to admit that SVT’s push to step away from a random running order in favor of a producer-picked roster can be good…but here’s one case when producer meddling can work to make the show into great television.

So, there you have it: the dozen contenders for this year’s Junior Eurovision title.  Who stands out to you (for good or for otherwise)?  If you’re not living in one of the countries participating in this Saturday’s event, you can still watch the show online at www.junioreurovision.tv from 20:15 CET.  Gather your family, pop some popcorn, and cheer for your favorites…I know I will!

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Posted on November 28, '12, in 2012, JESC. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Say… what if our winner pulled a Sandra Kim and announced that in fact she was only six instead of ten?

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