Welcome back to our series of Junior Eurovision reviews as members of our team share their thoughts on the class of ’15. Last time, our jury reviewed the songs from Georgia, Russia and Australia and their scores saw debutants Australia surge into the lead as early favourites.
It’s now time to listen to another four of Saturday’s competitors. Can Ireland’s operatic debut, Armenia’s rockabilly effort, Malta’s soulful pop or Serbia’s Big Balkan Ballad score better than Australia? Let’s find out.
MALTA: Destiny Chukunyere – Not My Soul
Liam: Destiny starts the song by taking us to church and then launches into some uptempo fun. Honestly I love this track. I honestly love that they’ve worked with Destiny to give her a track that really suits her soul diva voice. I am not sure how this is going to play to the audience given that they are mostly kids but I don’t care, I love this. 10/10.
Yassia: A very cheerful song called Not My Soul is to be performed by talented singer Destiny Chukunyere, the 14-year-old representative from Malta. Btw, Destiny is one of the writers of her song. She is definitely one of the most vocally strong participants of this year’s JESC. Destiny’s song’s key message is “Everything means nothing if you don’t love what you got in your heart you feel it in your soul, you can never let it go, I want the world to know they can never take away my soul”. Hope that Destiny will always feel fire in her soul! 9/10.
Nathan: I hope someone’s told Cee Lo Green that he’s got a writing credit on this track. This just does not appeal to me whatsoever. It reeks of cut and paste from popular 00’s pop songs. Destiny herself is clearly talented, it’s just a shame that this song really does not do much to demonstrate that given all I hear throughout it is “Forget You”. 1/10.
IRELAND: Aimee Banks – Réalta Na Mara
Yassia: Thirteen-year-old Aimee Banks will represent Ireland with the song Réalta Na Mara (Star of the sea), which will be performed in Irish, as Aimee comes from one of her country’s Irish-speaking regions. I believe this girl is very strong vocally. Her song is a ballad with some opera elements. The song tells us a story about the sea voyage that started in a cold night with a wind at the back of the ship. Aimee is talking to the “Hail Star of the sea” asking it to “carry her away back to it”. Good luck, Aimee! 8/10.
Nick: I’m not quite sure what I think of this. The semi-classic performance Aimee delivers surely is impressive. There’s not much to say about her impeccable vocal skills and the entire classic atmosphere of this song is good. So where is the ‘problem’ for me in this case? When Ireland said they’d go with a song in Irish, I was hoping that they’d show that Irish can be modern too. Show the world (ok, Europe and Australia) that Irish can be used for pop as well. But instead, it’s yet another classic entry and I’m still left here wondering if the Irish language can be modern too? All in all, a classic entry in a very underrated language. It’ll be interesting to see how this will do in Sofia. 8/10
Liam: While Malta’s song is taking us to church in a fun, soulful ‘Sister Act’ kind of way, Aimee is taking us to church in a “my parents dragged me here” kind of way. That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad song necessarily, but it surely isn’t fun. That being said she has a lovely voice and it’s good to hear both the Irish language and a bit of traditional music that isn’t from the Riverdance school of generic Celtic music. 7/10.
SERBIA: Lena Stamenković – Lelina Pesma
Peter: This is a song that could be so much more. I really like the vibe they’ve gone for, which compliments some of the country’s best work at the adult contest, and the melody is fairly catchy. Still, I just feel it could go further. The song has quite a big finish but it’s too little too late – I want beefier production and a bigger build throughout. Another criticism that may seem somewhat more harsh is that Lena herself sounds exceptionally young, and whilst I know it’s a junior competition, the song itself would be carried so much better by a singer with a bigger voice and more experience. 6/10.
Brent: Another prime example of the different levels of vocal maturity, and although her voice might not be as developed as some older contestants, don’t let that fool you! There is a mighty voice in this tiny package and Lena will most definitely deliver the goods! This girl is definitely going places and her voice will only get stronger – she’s one to look out for on the ESC stage in 7 years time! 7/10.
Nick: People, this kid is eleven. Let her be eleven. Some of the dance moves she’s making in this official video just seem awkward, as if someone told her: Do that, Lena, that’s a good idea! Well, it’s not. This song is Serbian by numbers and it works well for Lena’s voice, but please, let her just be and do what she wants on that stage. If they manage to give her that bit of freedom, this is a dangerous outsider for the victory in Sofia. The song itself follows the trend which was started by Nebo in 2012 and does it quite well. Lena just needs to feel more comfortable with the performance on Saturday. And make her look 11, not 15. 8/10.
ARMENIA: MIKA – Love
Nathan: Mika has presented us with the most professional of all the JESC entry videos this year. The song uses some contemporary elements in its instrumentation and the chorus channels some retro funk, which of course has been used widely recently by artists such as Mark Ronson and Fleur East and this makes for very pleasant listening. 7/10.
Liam: This is the sort of nonsense that you expect from Georgia usually, so it’s nice to see that Armenia has decided to peek over their neighbour’s shoulder and copy their notes for this year. This is fun. Mika has a lot of charisma and really sells the song. Armenia isn’t messing around this year, they’re heading to Sofia with the intention of winning this bad boy. But I think they’ll just miss out. 7/10.
Yassia: A very energetic song and performance will be given by MIKA (Michael Varosyan) from Armenia on the JESC stage. MIKA is 12 years old and has a strong voice. His song is called “Love” and it’s about how this feeling changes everything for the better. MIKA sings “we are in a good mood, every day is good, because…there is love, there is heart, there is life in this world”. He also sings that “it’s good when love is around you, it’s strange, how people live without smiling!”. So let’s enjoy the song and smile together with MIKA and his team! 10/10.
The story so far…
As you can see, all of today’s songs scored strongly with our jurors (remember the maximum possible score is 30 points), but none of them were able to topple Australia from its lead. Come back tomorrow for more reviews and to see whether our team will have a new favourite.
- AUSTRALIA – 27 pts
- ARMENIA – 24 pts
- IRELAND – 23 pts
- SERBIA – 21 pts
- MALTA – 20 pts
- GEORGIA – 20 pts
- RUSSIA – 15 pts