While all the action is taking place out in Sofia, back home we’re still deciding on who we’re backing in this year’s Junior Eurovision. With just 2 days to go until the big final, the escXtra firm favourite is still Australia. Will any of today’s lot manage to overtake them?

Under scrutiny today we have Russian-born Kamilla for San Marino, Europop from Montenegro courtesy of Jana Mirković, yet another Maraaya composition for Slovenia, and twins Chiara and Martina attempting to defend the title for Italy.

SAN MARINO: Kamilla Ismailova – Mirror

Peter: After I remember that Kamilla is singing in Italian and not Russian (it’s not totally clear in the opening lines), I really quite enjoy this midtempo that is the most Eurovision-by-numbers of the lot this year, right down to the predictable key-change and its accessible English hookline. The production could do with a bit of beefing up, but no complaints other than that. I really wouldn’t mind if San Marino bought in a Swedish song and a Russian singer in the main contest you know – I think it’s a fairly solid plan of action! 8/10.

Liam: Despite having one of the most forced key changes I have ever heard, I actually really enjoy this. It’s midtempo and inoffensive but with enough hooks in there to keep you interested. Kamilla seems an odd choice for San Marino, but she’s trying her darndest for them, so I say good for you girl. 6/10.

Nathan: This shouldn’t work. I mean, it doesn’t work. A Russian girl singing in Italian for San Marino. What a risk. A risk that doesn’t pay off (unlike the parents clearly paid for this entry) because it’s dull, bland and boring. The saving grace here, for me, is that the lyrics in the chorus are pretty sweet. If she belts this out live, this might end mid-table but it does all scream “how do we, as San Marino, get ourselves some votes” by hiring a Russian to sing the entry. 3/10.

MONTENEGRO: Jana Mirković – Oluja

Brent: Classic Euro-pop! Jana has a song that is hard not to have a good time to. I wonder how long it will take for a dance remix to be made because it is screaming to be played in a disco. Fun with a capital F and a key change to boot, who could ask for more? 8/10.

Liam: This song sounds like the poorly made karaoke version of a badly made Steps song from the 90’s, which was actually a cover of a pretty good song from the 80s. But at least Jana has a pretty good hair-flipping shoulder-shrugging strut going on. 2/10.

Peter: What is it with all of Montenegro’s Eurovision music videos looking like 3 minute tourist board promos? I mean Montenegro looks very pretty and all, but maybe they should put more effort into making a winning song and then they can promote the hell out of the country when they host. Anyway I do have a bit of a soft spot for this song in its fluffy, summery 90s glory. It’s a bit like a Balkan cover of a Caracola song (remember them Melfest fans?) and what could be wrong with that? Jana’s voice doesn’t sound great on record so let’s wait and see what it’s like live, but this injects some much needed fun into proceedings. Not that it has a hope of winning of course, let’s clear that up! 7/10.

SLOVENIA: Lina Kuduzović – Prva Ljubezen

Yassia: I think that many children will fall in love with Lina Kuduzović from Slovenia and her song Prva Ljubezen (First love). This 12 year-old blondie girl is certainly very strong vocally. Her charming song is about first love and about how it feels to be in love. “There is something strange that I feel inside, my heart was never broken. In the magic land only butterflies. Our love was never stolen.” – this is how the girl expresses her feelings to a person she fell in love with for the first time in her life. Catchy song! Good luck, Slovenia! 10/10.

Nick: I had to check and check again: JUNIOR Eurovision, right? I know, lately the contest has moved towards a contest for teenage kids (11-15?), but this could just be released as a song by pretty much any Slovenian artist right about… now? Sure, this was predestined to win the national final in Slovenia and quite rightfully so. Possibly one of the best songs in this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Sadly though, the unwritten rule of never doing anything similar to last year’s winner was lost by the Slovenians with their ‘first love’… Still, this should be in for a good finish. If not more, if I could decide about it. I just hope it’s not too adult for JESC. 9.5/10.

Brent: Talk about a song having it all! It no wonder Lina won her Ticket for Music Final! A powerful chorus and one of my favorite things about Eurovision songs (mixed languages) if there is the same sort of fierce hand choreography in her performance as in her clip I will be very very happy! 9/10.

ITALY: Chiara & Martina – Viva

Brent: Chiara and Martina have a song that is full of life, its no wonder it is named Viva! Catchy and up tempo its hard not to enjoy yourself listening to the Italian entry in this years contest. Its one of the harder clips to watch so it might be best to listen to this one and wait for what I have no doubt will be a pumping and energetic performance! 7/10.

Peter: Wow. The Italians must be worrying that if they win again they won’t be able to sliver out of hosting as easily, because an insulting lack of effort has been put into this. From the music video put together on Windows 95 to the track that sounds like a demo recorded in the girls’ bedroom. I feel quite sorry for the girls because there is definitely a song hiding in there somewhere, so I haven’t completely robbed it of points, but this is just so very amateurish. 4/10.

Nick: Italian is just made for music. This song is actually quite pleasant. It’s an Italian pop song by numbers. There’s not much to fault here, is there? (Yeah the official video, but we won’t see that in Sofia… will we?). Yeah I quite enjoy this song, it’s nothing extraordinary and I highly doubt it’ll do as well as Italy’s début, but the natural chemistry between these two girls (I mean, they’re sisters) will surely give them another few points. Good job Italy, an Italian song by numbers – throw in the ‘amore’ and ’liberta’ and Europe will be satisfied. 8.5/10.

The story so far…
The mathematically inclined among you will have realised that after the latest set of scores, we have a new leader! Congratulations Slovenia! Lina manages to push Bella from Australia down to 2nd place with a nearly perfect score of 28.5 out of 30. Only The Netherlands, Belarus and hosts Bulgaria to go – can any of them threaten Slovenia at the top? Come back tomorrow to find out!

  1. SLOVENIA – 28.5 pts
  2. AUSTRALIA – 27 pts
  3. ALBANIA – 24.5 pts
  4. ARMENIA – 24 pts
  5. IRELAND – 23 pts
  6. UKRAINE – 21.5 pts
  7. SERBIA – 21 pts
  8. MALTA – 20 pts
  9. GEORGIA – 20 pts
  10. ITALY – 19.5 pts
  11. MONTENEGRO – 17 pts
  12. SAN MARINO – 17 pts
  13. RUSSIA – 15 pts
  14. FYR MACEDONIA – 12 pts
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