Category Archives: 2012

JESC 2012: We have a Winner! dozen young singers from a dozen nations (including a trio of newcomers) faced off in Amsterdam, all vying to take home the title of “Junior Eurovision Champion”.  We had ballads, hyperactive pop, Beatle-mania, and numbers that could have been taken straight out of a youth edition of “Glee” (I’m looking at you, Israel!).  After all of the tension, and an often-dramatic, yet ultimately decisive vote, who claimed the victory? Read the rest of this entry

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! Read the rest of this entry

Editorial: If At First You Don’t Succeed…Part 2

Picking up where we left off (way too long ago…pardon the delay!), here’s another look at a handful of National Final stalwarts who really deserve their big break at Eurovision.

From Malta, the land that brought us Chiara, Glen Vella, and Kurt Calleja, brothers Wayne Micallef and Richard Edwards have each submitted a handful of strong entries to the National Final.  First appearing in a trio with their sister Michelle as “The Mics” in 2003 and 2005, the siblings came in 14th with “Take Me Back Again“, and came in a disappointing 21st place with their disco-fied entry “It’s Up To You”.  It was Wayne who first struck out on his own, with his 2009 submission “Where You Belong“.  He improved upon his 7th-place finish that year with his 2010 follow-up, “Save a Life“, and came in 8th place in 2011 with the more upbeat “Everybody Sing“.  His 2012 entry, “Time“, with its Wisconsin-filmed video, brought him a 12th-place finish, and he is showing no signs of stopping.  Read the rest of this entry

Editorial: If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Eurovision this year felt just as much like a reunion as it did a Song Contest.  Among the contestants, we had more than a small handful of performers who were returning to the Eurovision stage.  From the Class of 2004, we saw the return of Iceland’s Jónsi and Serbia’s Željko Joksimović.  Jedward’s return marked the first time that an Irish representative performed at the ESC back-to-back (or, in the case of the twins, would it have been back-to-back-to-back-to-back?).  Macedonia’s Kaliopi was supposed to have performed in 1996, but we never got to hear her sing “Samo ti” during the main event, due to being knocked out during the not-televised pre-qualifying round.

But, if you ask me, Kaliopi’s gotten even better with time… (Photo courtesy of

However, a deeper look into this year’s roster shows that we had more “returning acts” than a first glance would reveal.  If you delve into the National Finals, you can see that a full dozen of 2012’s performers had tried (and failed) to represent their respective nations before.  While artists like Loreen, the Buranovskiye Babushki, and Anri Jokhadze made it through to the big dance on their second attempts, it took Moldova’s Pasha Parfeny four tries to succeed, and for Lithuania’s Donny Montell and Belarus’s Litesound, a full six entries were submitted before they finally broke through!

Viewers who think that the Contest is simply a bit of light entertainment on a few May evenings often miss out on finding the nuggets of gold hidden within the National Finals.  So, in honor of those countless singers and bands that have tried multiple times to represent their homelands at Eurovision, I’d like to turn the spotlight on these “unsung heroes”, in the hopes that their efforts will finally pay off in 2013 and beyond.  Here’s my first set in a list of “ones to watch”: Read the rest of this entry

Ok, now that we’re all settled…a look back!

Hey, everyone!  Pardon my absence following Loreen’s epic march to victory last weekend; within three hours of Sweden clutching the crystal microphone, I was at Heydar Aliev International Airport, waiting to board the first of my four flights home from Baku to Minneapolis.  There aren’t many things that I could have told you that you likely hadn’t heard already through my counterpart site, ESC Insight, or throught my friends at ESCXtra…but in short, “Euphoria” stormed to first place with the second-highest vote tally in Eurovision history, as well as the second-highest margin between Loreen and her nearest competitor, the Buranovskiye Babushki from Russia.  Sweden did clinch the record for the highest number of “douze points” for a song in history, with an impressive 18, beating the 16 garnered by Alexander Rybak’s “Fairytale”.  Loreen also won two out of the three Marcel Bezencon Awards, for Artistic Representation and Composition.  The third, the Press Award, went to hometown heroine Sabina Babayeva. Read the rest of this entry

Semifinal Two: Predictions, Hopes, and Fears

Ok, it looks like I’m on a bit of a hot streak, correctly predicting nine of the ten fortunate qualifiers from Tuesday’s First Semifinal.  (Bittersweetly, two personal favorites of mine swapped places, with Albania qualifying while Israel unfortunately missed out.)  That run of luck might end tonight, though, as I’m finding this Second Semifinal an absolute pain to predict!  Will regional voting blocs and running order politics trump the general strength of songs?  Will appearances, gimmicks, and tricks take precedence over voices and composition?  It’s going to be an interesting night… Read the rest of this entry

Semifinal One: Predictions, Hopes, and Fears

It’s hard to believe that the First Semifinal is upon us.  After a week and a half of rehearsals, press conferences, interviews, partying, PR plugging, and promotional performances, the moment has arrived.  After tonight, eight delegations will be researching their early flights back home from Heydar Aliev International Airport.  I’ve had the chance to observe a trio of Dress Rehearsals (once from the Press Centre, and twice in the Crystal Hall itself), and here are my personal expectations and favorites for tonight’s festivities: Read the rest of this entry

Azer-mania Continues

These past few days have marked the first rehearsals for this year’s Eurovision acts, and it’s been another busy time at the Press Center.  Interviews, press conferences, rehearsals, chaos, laughs, face-plants, and re-evaluations were a constant, as to be expected.  Read the rest of this entry

Azer-Mania, Day 0-1

Minneapolis, New York, London, Istanbul, Baku.  What do these cities have in common?  They’re all large metropolitan areas, major cultural centers with great culinary scenes, artistic life, lovely histories, and major airports.  I mention the airports, specifically, as that’s where I’ve been spending most of my time these past few days.  I left Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon, and after four flights to four countries, I landed in Baku, the site of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, on Friday evening.

The things we do for the things we love…

Read the rest of this entry

The votes are in! A look into an American ESC Preview Party

As part of my last weekend before I head off to Baku (even though I’m still waiting on the return of my passport and visa from the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington…argh), I decided to host a modest Eurovision 2012 Preview Party from my home in Minnesota.  Over bites of Italian arancini, German pancakes, Turkish apricots and Swedish cookies, my friends and I mulled over the forty-two competing entries in this year’s competition, giving each song a score from 0 to 10.  Most of my friends had never seen or heard the entries prior to our little shindig, and only really knew about the competition through what I’ve forced down their throats over the past few years.  Read the rest of this entry