After Malta’s record-breaking victory in November, Eurovision fans were excited to see the contest return to the land of Ira Losco. Since then however, several changes have been made to the contest’s format with countries withdrawing and returning in 2016.
The contest will be held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta on 2oth November 2016. Also, the contest will take place during the afternoon (16:00 CET) rather than in the evening “in order to make the event more suitable for family prime time viewing”.
There will also be major changes to the voting system this year. Unlike previous editions of the contest, there will be no televoting. Scores will be decided entirely by juries: a kids jury and and adult jury from each competing country. Each jury consists of 5 people as usual. In a similar way to the new Eurovision voting system, each country gives two sets of 1-8, 10, and 12 points. The results of the adult juries are presented “graphically” at the very start of the voting. Then spokespersons will reveal the results from each kids jury.
Also, the age limits for participants have been lowered. Previously contestants had to be between 10 and 15 to take part. Now, contestants must be between the ages of 9 and 14.
There’s also been a change in management as Vladislav Yakovlev was replaced by Jon Ola Sand as Executive Supervisor of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Well, that should cover everything. Now it’s time to see which countries will take part in Malta and who has already chosen their performer and song.
Albania – Klesta Qehaja – “Besoj”. Albania is never tardy to the Eurovision party and this year is no exception. Albania was the very first to select their song and performer in both the adult and junior contests for 2016. Klesta was chosen on 1st June 2016 in the Albanian national selection by a jury of music professionals. The title translates to “I Believe”. Also, Albania managed to finish 5th in Junior Eurovision 2015 with “Dambaje” by Mishela Rapo.
Armenia – Anahit Adamyan and Mary Vardanyan. Anahit and Mary were selected internally to represent Armenia on 10th August and their song will be revealed at a later date. Armenia are incredibly successful at the junior contest, most recently finishing in 2nd place with “Love” by Mika.
Australia was invited back to Junior Eurovision in November after debuting last year with “My Girls” by Bella Paige. Still, SBS has not revealed any plans for the contest yet.
Belarus – Alexander Minyonok – “Muzyka moikh pobed” (Музыка моих побед). Alexander was selected to represent Belarus after winning the jury vote and finishing 3rd with the televote in their national final on 26th August. The song title translates to “Music of my victories”. Also, Alexander is the only boy to be competing Junior Eurovision 2016 as of now. Belarus was a hit with the juries at the contest last year with “Volshebstvo” by Ruslan Aslanov – achieving 4th place. Can they do even better this year?
Bulgaria – Lidia Ganeva. Bulgaria held a national selection consisting of two semi finals and a final on 11th June ending with Lidia being crowned the Bulgarian representative after topping the jury vote and televote. Her song will be announced in September. After hosting the contest last year and achieving 4th place in the adult Eurovision with “If Love Was A Crime” by Poli Genova, it is likely Bulgaria will be aiming high this year.
Cyprus are returning to the contest this year after taking a break in 2015. Cyprus achieved 8th place the last time they were in the contest in 2014 with ”I Pio Omorfi Mera” by Sophia Patsalide. Unfortunately, the Cypriot broadcaster has not revealed how they will select their song and performer.
Georgia have confirmed that they will be using a national selection to choose their Junior Eurovision entry. The date of the national final has not been revealed yet. Georgia is another very successful country in Junior Eurovision; they have won twice, once in 2008 and once in 2011.
Ireland will select its Junior Eurovision entry using the national selection Junior Eurovision Éire in September. Ireland only debuted in the contest last year , finishing in 12th place with the song “Réalta na mara” by Aimee Banks.
Italy announced they would participate in Junior Eurovision 2016 on 2nd June. Unfortunately we don’t know anything about the selection process right now. Italy won the contest back in 2014 – their debut – with “Tu primo grande amore” by Vincenzo Cantiello.
FYR Macedonia – Martija Stanojković. MRT announced Martija would be singing for FYR Macedonia on 24th July. Her song will be released at a later date. FYR Macedonia have not been particularly lucky in Junior Eurovision, finishing in last place in Sofia last year.
Malta – Christina Magrin. Christina won the right to represent the host country this year after winning their national final on 16th July. Each of the 20 participants sang a song of their choosing with Christina choosing “No More Tears” by Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer. A jury consisting of the head of delegation of Bulgaria, France, and Italy made up 75% of the total vote with televoting only accounting for 25% of the score.
The Netherlands – Kisses – “Kisses and Dancin”. Kisses is an all-girl trio (Kymora, Stefania, and Sterre) which was chosen to represent the Netherlands in the 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest on 27th May. A snippet of their song was released on 25th July. The full song will be revealed at a later date.
Poland will return to Junior Eurovision in 2016 after missing 11 contests (last appearing in 2004). TVP will air a national selection on 8th October. Poland was incredibly unlucky in the 2 contests they took part in; they finished in last place both times.
Russia – Sofia Fisenko – “Zhivaya voda” (Живая вода). Russia-1 organised a national selection consisting of auditions (20th July) and a final (16th August). Sofia received full marks from the jury and the internet voting, securing her place to represent Russia. The title of the song translates to “Living Water”.
San Marino announced their withdrawal from the contest on 14th July after SMRTV had stated that their entrant would be a foreign singer if they were to participate.
Slovenia announced their withdrawal after participating in 2 contests and achieving 3rd place last year in Sofia. RTVSLO said the decision was made due to rule changes for the contest by the EBU.
Ukraine will hold a national final on 10th September after the semi-final that has already taken place on 13th August. A professional jury decided which 12 songs qualified to the final of the national selection. Ukraine won the contest in 2012 with “Nebo” by Anastasiya Petryk
Countries who might still participate:
TVM (the TV network operated by the Maltese broadcaster) have said they expect 18 countries to compete in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Malta. With only 14 countries confirming their provisional interest to participate, we may see some more countries appearing on our radar before November comes.