JESC 2013 Preview: Part 1
Well, we’re just about at the apogee of the Eurovision calendar, when we’ve got as much time behind our last ESC experience as we do before the next one. For some, that means that broadcasters are just beginning to publicize their plans, and the first names are beginning to be announced for a few early-bird nations. However, as the plans for the grown-ups lie somewhat dormant, their younger counterparts are gearing up for their turn in the spotlight.
This year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest will take place on November 30 in “Ukraine Palace of Arts”, located in the heart of Kiev. The event will be hosted by 2013 ESC representative Zlata Ognevich and 2005 JESC host Timor Miroshnychenko (try saying that five times fast!), with musical appearances from Ruslana, Emmelie de Forest, and Zlata herself.
The 2013 contest is one of transition, with former Executive Supervisor Sietse Bakker relinquishing his title in order to focus his energy on the adult competition, where he is still Event Supervisor. However, successor Vladislav Yakovlev (previously at the helm of the Eurovision Young Musicians and Young Dancers competitions) and his team have weathered the storm of change and continent-wide economic belt-tightening, keeping the field of competition at a dozen, steady from last year. While we’ve seen withdrawals from Israel, Albania, and Belgium, fans welcome the return of Macedonia and Malta. Furthermore, fans will see an entrant from San Marino for the first time in Junior Eurovision’s 11-year history.
Who will take the trophy home, and will they be a worthy successor to Anastasiya Petrik’s “Nebo”? Let’s take a look at some of this year’s young contenders.
Number of Previous Appearances: 6
Year of Debut: 2006
Best Result: 1st place, 2010 (“Mama” by Vladimir Arzumanyan)
Song: “Choco Fabrik” (Chocolate Factory)
Artist: Monica Avanesyan, age 15
If there’s a formula that generally tends to work well at Junior Eurovision, it’s this: take a catchphrase that’s universally understood, pair it with a catchy beat, and have it performed with aplomb by a charismatic performer. It’s worked pretty well before, with songs like “Bzz…”, “Mama”, “Candy Music”, and “Click Clack” making it to the top of the leaderboard in the recent past. Will those pieces fall into place for Armenia this year?
Number of Previous Appearances: 1
Year of Debut: 2012
Best Result: 11th place, 2012 (“Boys & Girls (Dünya Sənindir)” by Omar and Suada)
Song: “Me and My Guitar”
Artist: Rustam Karimov, age 10
On the other end of the age spectrum is Azerbaijan’s second-ever entrant, Rustam Karimov. At only ten years of age, this will be his first foray into musical competition, although he’s currently a student at one of Baku’s more prestigious musical academies.
Song: “Poy So Mnoy (Song with Me)”
Artist: Ilya Volkov, age 11
Even though Belarus hasn’t scored any higher than 6th place at the adult level of Eurovision, they are a bit of a powerhouse at Junior. One of only two nations that have taken part in every competition (the other being the Netherlands), Belarus has taken home two victories in ten years. Ilya, despite being only 11, is no stranger to JESC; he was one of the backing dancers during last year’s Belarussian performance. This year, however, he takes the lead, with a quintet of female dancers (the group “Maxi Briz”) supporting him. But you can likely expect that Ilya will have a moment to let his fancy footwork shine sometime during his three minutes on stage. With moves like this, could you really blame him?
Name of Song: “Give Me Your Smile”
Artist: The Smile Shop (Mariam Shavladze, 10; Mariam Samushia, 11; Tamta Diasamidze, 11; Ana Kvantaliani, 12; Saba Chachua, 13; Luka Gogiberidze, 14)
Another two-time Junior Eurovision champion, Georgia has gotten their format down pat. Normally depending on groups, rather than solo artists, Georgian representatives tend to rely on strong harmonies, universal themes (much like neighboring Armenia this year), and polished presentations. It worked for Bzikebi, it worked for Candy, and last year, it nearly worked for the FunKids. Serving up a bit of a throwback to big band and disco, the Smile Shop seems to be catering as much to the parents of JESC’s target audience as it is to the kids themselves.
We’ll take a look at the next four entrants (Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, and the Netherlands) in the coming days, but what piques your interest so far?