JESC 2013 Preview: Part 3

250px-JESC_2013_logoThe moment of truth is just about here!  Tomorrow, November 30th, young talent from a dozen nations will set foot on stage at the Ukraine National Palace of Arts in the hopes of bringing home this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest championship trophy.  In our first two previews (viewable here and here), we looked at eight of the acts vying for the title; let’s look at our last group!


Number of Previous Appearances: 8
Year of Debut: 2005
Best Result: 1st Place, 2006 (Tolmachevy Twins, “Vesenniy Jazz”)

Song: “Mechtay (Dream On)”
Artist: Dayana Kirillova, age 11

Last year’s bridesmaid at the Russian National Final (coming in second behind Lerika’s “Sensatiya“), Dayana finally gets her chance to take the stage at JESC.  She’s already taken the stage at the Junior Slavianski Bazaar (Vitebsk, Belarus) and Junior New Wave (Jurmala, Latvia) competitions, and is a member of the oddly-named girl group “Barbie Cocktail” (here they are singing the ubiquitous folk song “Kalinka” a few years ago).  She hails from the city of Kazan, not too far from the hometown of 2013’s Russian ESC representative Dina Garipova.  Soooo…what’s in the water in Tatarstan?

San Marino

Number of Previous Appearances: 0
Year of Debut: 2013
Best Result: N/A

Song: “O-o-O Sole intorno a me (O-o-O Sunlight All Around Me)”
Artist: Michele Perniola, age 15

Junior Eurovision 2013 marks the debut of San Marino in the competition (even though, technically speaking, Michele is not from the Serenissima Repubblica).  Due to the nation’s size and population, SMRTV was given a special dispensation by the EBU allowing them to “import” a performer from Italy.  Michele, who hails from Puglia (the “heel” in Italy’s boot), first came to fame following his appearance in the Italian variety show “Ti Lacio una Canzone”, where his performance of Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” brought the house down and clinched his victory.  It’s really no surprise that “O-o-O Sole intorno a me” plays right into the MJ-esque qualities in Michele’s voice.

(Fun fact: Michele’s vocal coach and co-writer, Antonello Carozza, has also swung for the fences and attempted a Eurovision entry of his own.  The year before his Italy re-joined the competition, Carozza took part in the 2010 Russian National Final with the lyrically ballsy “Senza Respiro“, coming in a respectable 8th place out of 25 entries.)


Number of Previous Appearances: 9
Year of Debut: 2003
Best Result: 3rd place, 2006 (Molly Sandén, “Det finaste någon kan få“)

Song: “Det är dit vi ska (That’s Where We’re Going)”
Artist: Elias Elffors Elfström, age 13

Opening the show this year is Sweden’s Elias, a young singer-songwriter from Stockholm. While this driving, inspirational pop-rock song has become a favorite of mine in studio, there are rumblings from Kiev that young Elias’s voice has been going through some…ahem…age related transitions, and that tweaks in his arrangement might be in the cards.  You can do it, Elias!  If my brother could survive his Bar Mitzvah, you’ll be golden!

It should be noted that while only one singer from JESC has ever made it to the adult competition (Serbia’s Nevena Božović, who performed as part of Moje 3), Sweden’s JESC performers have continued to grow into the spotlight.  Most notable are the Sandén sisters (2006’s Molly and 2007’s Frida), who have gone on to Melodifestivalen and X-Factor, respectively (youngest sister Mimmi, who sang at JESC 2009, is now 17, and is also eligible for the adult competition).  Also of note is 2011 contestant Erik Rapp, who (as of the publication of this article) is in the Top 3 of Sweden’s version of “Idol”.  Who knows what the future holds for Elias?


Number of Previous Appearances: 7
Year of Debut: 2006
Best Result: 1st place, 2012 (Anastasiya Petrik, “Nebo“)

Song: “We Are One”
Artist: Sofia Tarasova, age 12

Representing the host nation is Kiev-native Sofia, who, like her Russian counterpart, had also thrown her hat into the ring for last year’s National Final, but “Puzzle of Life” failed to topple eventual JESC champion “Nebo”.  Seemingly taking a thematic page from Malmö’s tagline and musical inspiration from “Titanium”, Sofia appears to be gunning for the consecutive victory.  If she takes the title, it would mark the first ever back-to-back win in JESC history, as well as the first home-soil win.  But she’s got eleven other entries vying for the trophy…can she do it?

For those of you who want to view this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest from outside of the participating nations, a live stream will be available at  The show starts at 19:00 CET (that’s 18:00 GMT, and 13:00 EST for those viewers on the East Coast of the United States), and live commentary will be provided by Ewan Spence (of and Luke Fisher (of, as well as the EBU itself).  Enjoy the show!

Posted on November 29, '13, in 2013, JESC, Russia, San Marino, Sweden, Ukraine. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Interesting to note that, whereas both purely solo acts took the top (Ukraine) and bottom (Albania) last year, this year’s two purely solo acts took the top two spots. By “purely solo”, I mean no backup singers or dancers. Is there a better term for this?

    • Samantha Ross

      You make a good point, Stefanos! I think it boils down to the quality of the singer, at the end of the day. If you don’t have any distraction to hide behind, the quality of the song will shine through, for better or for worse!

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