Portugal’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest journey so far…

On November 26th, the crystal anniversary of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest will take place. Indeed, Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi will host the 15th edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Therefore it is the perfect time to look back at the journeys of all of this year’s participating countries in the contest so far. Therefore, following Portugal’s recent entry selection, let’s take a look at Portugal’s Junior Eurovision journey.

Quick facts

  • Country: Portugal
  • Broadcaster: RTP
  • Debut appearance: 2006
  • Number of participations: (2006-2007)
  • Highest finish: 14th (2006)
  • Lowest finish: 16th (2007)

Back to the very beginning…

In 2006, Junior Eurovision was going through a significant change. The three Scandinavian broadcasters all chose to withdraw from the contest to start Melodi Grand Prix Nordic. In addition, the broadcasters were concerned by the level of pressure being placed on the children. (Further reading: Are Junior Eurovision and The Voice Kids just too cruel on children?) Despite this, another Swedish broadcaster ensured Sweden stayed in the contest. In addition, the United Kingdom chose to withdraw with ITV citing low viewing figures leaving Spain as the sole “big 4” country to take part in the junior contest. Latvia and Serbia and Montenegro also withdrew, with the latter splitting into two separate countries.

It wasn’t all bad news though. Portugal, alongside Serbia and Ukraine, made their Junior Eurovision debut back in 2006 when the contest was held in the Romanian capital city of Bucharest. RTP selected their entry through the national final Festival da Canção Junior. 13-year-old (at the time of selection) Pedro Madeira won the competition and represented Portugal in Bucharest with Deixa-me sentir.

Indeed, Portugal opened the 2006 Junior Eurovision Song Contest and finished in 14th place in a field of 15. Pedro was awarded 7 points from Spain and 3 points from Malta, with his other 12 points being awarded by the EBU. Russia’s Tolmachevy Twins went on to take victory after performing last. Vesenniy Jazz was a dominant winner, 25 points ahead of second-placed Belarus. Of course, the Tolmachevy Twins would go on to represent Russia in tthe2014 Eurovision Song Contest and finished in 7th place.

Portugal’s journey so far

RTP gave the contest a second go, with Jorge Leiria taking victory in Festival da Canção Junior. He won the honour of representing Portugal in the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest with Só quero é cantar. Unfortunately, Portugal once again finished next-to-last with Jorge finishing one point ahead of last-placed Greece. Aside from the twelve points each country was awarded with, Só quero é cantar earned 2 points from Armenia and 1 point from Cyprus. Alexey Zhigalkovich from Belarus took the victory by just one point ahead of Arevik from Armenia.

Despite Portugal’s lack of success, viewing figures were high. The 2007 contest was the broadcaster’s most-watched show, with 1.09 million viewers – a figure RTP was reportedly very pleased with. Nevertheless, RTP did withdraw from the contest in 2008 due to a lack of interest from the broadcaster. A Junior Eurovision return was on the cards in 2014, when Portugal provisionally announcing their participation in Malta. However, in the end, RTP chose not to participate.

Looking ahead to 2017

In the end, it has turned out that 2017 is Portugal’s year of return! No doubt overjoyed by their victory in the adult contest, RTP’s return to the contest was announced by the EBU in early August. The move was a surprise for many fans, but certainly a very pleasant surprise.

A combination of televoting and jury voting chose Mariana Venâncio to represent Portugal in Tbilisi. She will sing Youtuber after beating four other young talents in their artist selection show Juniores de Portugal.

My favourite Portuguese entry!

I only have two entries to choose from here, and both are very of their time before production values stepped up several notches in the past few years. Nevertheless, both entries are pleasant listens with 2006’s Pedro Madeira being my favourite. The song and stage presentation is very classic Eurovision with the backing singers performing simple choreography in sync behind Pedro. Deixa-me sentir has an uplifting feel and was a great opener for the 2006 contest.

Which is your favourite Portuguese Junior Eurovision entry so far? Furthermore, are you looking forward to their performance in Tbilisi? Make sure you tell us in the comments section below and via our social media pages @ESCXTRA!

Ryan Cobb

My first memory of watching the Eurovision Song Contest was back in 2001 and, over the years, my passion and enthusiasm for the contest has very much turned into an obsession. I adore music and I love geography, so this contest is a natural fit for me. If la la loving Eurovision was a crime, I'd certainly be a criminal!

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