The Junior Eurovision Song Contest can often be far harder to follow than the adult contest. Countries withdraw, return and début with little to no warning and much like the singers themselves, the publicity around the contest is much smaller. So with just under three months to go until the 2014 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, we thought we’d have a look at where things currently stand.
13 countries confirmed, more expected.
This year we’re already one up on last year’s 12 participants and with the list of participants set to be confirmed sometime in September, there’s still time for more to join the party.
Belarus and The Netherlands, who have attended every single JESC so far are of course returning, as are Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine and last year’s winners Malta. Bulgaria returns after missing two contests, Serbia after missing three and Cyprus after missing four. Montenegro makes it’s independent début after participating as part of Serbia & Montenegro in 2005. Making a true début this year is Italy who become the first member of the big five to participate since Spain withdrew after the 2006 contest.
Portugal are expected to return to the competition in Malta after their last participation came in 2007, but have not as yet officially submitted their paperwork, while we are yet to hear from recent participants Azerbaijan, Albania, Israel, FYR Macedonia, Moldova or San Marino. The EBU have however confirmed that there are still a number of interested broadcasters that they are still in talks with as many as 7 countries.
Five singers selected, three with songs.
Host nation Malta kicked the proceedings off by announcing that 11 year old Federica Falzon would be the young performer to represent the island nation at home with the song to be later announced.
That was followed by Sweden hosting a national final back in June which was won by 14 year old Julia Kedhammar with her song ‘Du är inte ensam’ (You are not alone).
Cyprus then announced that their return would see 13 year old Sophia Patsalides sing the song ‘I pio omorfi mera’ (The Most Beautiful Day) in a mixture of Greek and English.
Just over a week ago now Ukraine held their national final which was won by the trio Sympho-Nick, a trio made up of 11 year olds Amalia and Sofia and 12 year old Marta who will perform ‘Pryyde vesna’ (Spring Will Come).
Finally Georgia announced that they too would be sending a female trio, only to change their minds a day later and declare that their trio was to become a solo of 10 year old Lizi Pop accompanied by a backing duo of 11 year olds Sofi & Dea Dashniani. The song has yet to be released, but GPB has stated that they intend to release it very soon.
Coming up next we have national finals from Belarus on August 29th and The Netherlands having semi-finals on September 13th and 20th, with their final on September 27.
2014 – Eurovision’s year of the shipping venue.
The venue was announced to the steering group back in June to be the Malta Shipbuilding located in Marsa, a mere 10 minutes from the capital city Valetta. Malta Shipbuilding is a collection of three sheds that are attached to each other, with the middle shed being used as the stage, audience and backstage and the other two sheds being used as entrances, toilets, merchandise & food stalls, delegation dressing rooms and production areas. The new arena will seat around 4,500 and have room for about 800 standing. The press centre will be located next to the arena. Members of the steering group were enthusiastic about the choice of the arena, with AVROTROS’ Anja Zegwaard telling the EBU that:
The venue is a challenge, and we’re looking forward to seeing it transformed into a wonderful setting for Junior Eurovision
The tickets to this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest have yet to go on sale, but the EBU reported last month that they are expected to do so sometime in August and that interested parties should stay tuned to their official website and social media platforms.
Where does that leave us?
A few years ago with fewer countries participating every year many predicted the death of the junior contest was imminent, but if 2014 has shown us anything it’s that the EBU, combined with the raw enthusiasm of the Maltese people are certainly not going to let the contest go any time soon. As the contest heads towards its teenage years, we might finally see Junior Eurovision flourish and grow into a spectacle of it’s own right that may ultimately silence the critics.