It’s Junior Eurovision week! Eurovision’s younger sibling has now entered its teenage years and is bigger than ever. On Saturday, Sofia will host its first ever Eurovision event and our team will be out there bringing you all the action in the lead-up to the big night. In the mean time, some of you may have been getting acquainted with the songs in the show, and some of you may still be unfamiliar.

Six people who have been listening intently are our Junior Eurovision jury, and over the course of the week, we’ll be letting you know what they think and who escXtra’s favourite from the line-up is. This year on our jury is Liam, Yassia, Peter, Nathan, Nick and Brent. And here are the songs…

GEORGIA: The Virus – Gabede

Nick: Oh well, as long as you’re having fun! I have no idea what the song is about, but I doubt this song has a really deep message. If it does, then they’ve hidden it quite well. It’s a tad repetitive, which may not be a bad thing considering you’ve got the Georgian language which isn’t easy to understand (read: absolutely impossible). I do wonder how they’re going to bring this to a stage. Including styling…I hope it’s better than in the video. But hey, at least they’re having fun and that really is the only thing that matters. Europe will see that too and this’ll provide a typical Georgian result. For a typical Georgian Junior Eurovision song. 6/10.

Yassia: The musical group Virus is the representative of Georgia at the JESC 2015 in Sofia. The group is composed of four children: Elen, Tako, Data, all three are 11 years-old, and Lizi, who is 12 years old. The song to be performed on the Junior Eurovision stage is called Gabede in Georgian or “Dare” in English. The music video for this song shows us that the four children are trying to escape from their everyday routine, as they want to act on their own and do what they like. “Try to dare encourage to change yourself and change today all what you do not like” is the key message that Virus will give from the stage on 21 November. 8/10.

Brent: Cute and catchy are the two best ways to describe this entry. I’m not too sure what the words mean but boy do they look like they are fun to sing a long to. I’m sure this will be a crowd pleaser but sadly lacks the punch of a lot of the other contestants. Still a solid effort from Georgia! 6/10.

RUSSIA: Mikhail Smirnov – Mechta (Dream)

Yassia: Twelve-year-old Mikhail Smirnov from Russia will present the song called Mechta, or “Dream” in Sofia. Mikhail has a very pleasant and strong voice. His song is about dreaming and he is like a romantic hero, who wants his dream to come true. With a help of his song, the boy is telling us that a dream inspires a person and makes him/her happy. Mikhail’s dream, for instance, is “to perform a duet with his dream”. Let’s dream together with Mikhail on 21 November! 9/10.

Nathan: If you asked me to hum this song to you again, now, after immediately listening to it, I couldn’t. It featured a rather bland melody with boring instrumentation. There’s some vaguely choral backing in the chorus but it doesn’t do much to sell the song to me. 4/10.

Liam: In all honesty I am struggling to have an opinion on this song. It is just sort of there. Mikhail has a lovely voice and I’m sure he’s going to go on to doing some great stuff in the future however ‘Mechta’ is very unlikely to be what he is remembered for. The song threatens to do something for a moment just before the chorus and then the chorus kicks in and… it’s nothing. This song sounds like it’s a filler track on his latest album or something. 2/10.

AUSTRALIA: Bella Paige – My Girls

Peter: It’s fairly clear that Australia are seeing Junior as a bonus opportunity to prove that they mean business at Eurovision, because they’ve really done well here. They’ve got a professional, accomplished young singer with live experience, a song written by one of their best known artists, and slick, contemporary production. I can look past the fact that the song was likely rejected by other artists first (that’s the way of the business) and that the lyrics are a bit juvenile (Bella is 13 after all, and the kids are meant to write this stuff!) and see that this is a very strong package. I still think JESC songs need something a bit more “kiddy” about them to be in with a chance of winning, but as a statement of intent from Australia, this is a job well done. 8/10

Brent: This is in my extremely unbiased opinion, the song of the competition. Ok I’m extremely biased, but that said, this ‘My Girls’ has everything going for it. It is catchy has a strong message of female empowerment and is above all incredibly age appropriate. I have no doubt Bella will provide the powerhouse vocals the song requires and prove why Australia needs to retain its position in all forms of the contest! 10/10.

Nick: This song represents what the Junior Eurovision Song Contest has become over the past few years. In 2009, a Belgian girl yodeling and a Dutch boy doing tap dance were the things Europe went for. Ever since 2012, it’s been about the big voices doing more grown up songs. This is a good contemporary effort which shouts Delta Goodrem for a young girl. I do hope Bella gets this done live. If she can do that, she will be a contender for the victory in Sofia. Basically, the song ticks the boxes of any classic Eurovision song: an empowering message, a powerful (female) vocal and a bit which is an attempt at being catchy. It’s a good début for Australia which shows they take Junior Eurovision just as seriously as they do with the adult contest. I’m just not too sure about the spoken bit in the bridge. 9/10

The story so far…
As you can see, our first batch of reviews have put Australia into an early lead with our jurors, but it’s still all to play for! Come back tomorrow for our thoughts on some more of this year’s Junior Eurovision crop.

  1. AUSTRALIA – 27 pts
  2. GEORGIA – 20 pts
  3. RUSSIA – 15 pts
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