Earlier in this countdown series we talked about Vladimir Arzumanyan. Now it’s time to check up on Candy, the JESC 2011 winners from Georgia!
Yerevan 2011: throwback
The ninth edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest contest took place in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. The contest had 13 participants, this was one less than the previous year. Bulgaria made a return to the contest in this edition, however both Malta and Serbia withdrew. Originally, San Marino had intended to make their debut this year, but withdrew as they could not find a suitable artist. They would eventually debut in 2013.
The biggest rule change in this edition was in regards to the voting procedure. Unlike previous years, televoting could only commence after all songs had been performed. A change was also made to the presentation of votes, each country’s spokesperson now had to read out all the votes of their country from 1-12. This was applied due to the lower number of participating countries.
The winners of the contest were the group ‘Candy’ from Georgia. It was the 2nd victory for Georgia. But how did the group come to be?
Candy was a girl group from Tbilisi, Georgia consisting of Irina Kovalenko (14), Ana Khanchalyan (15), Irina Khechanovi (11), Mariam Gvaladze (14) and Gvantsa Saneblidze (14). The girls were brought together by producer Giga Kukhianidze, who also came up with the name for the group. The group decided to take part in the Georgian national selection for JESC 2011, here the girls sang ‘Candy Music’, a very disco inspired number. They won the national final, beating eight other contestants. They replicated this success in Yerevan, winning with a total of 108 points. The group performed in a V shaped formation at the final, with youngest member Irina Khechanovi in front. Their performance was noteworthy for their bright pink candy-like outfits.
Life after the Junior Eurovision
The girls made their homecoming to Tbilisi by train, and were met in the train station by hordes of fans and even representatives of the office of the Mayor of Tbilisi. They were extremely happy and proud of their winning performance, but made the point that it was not only them but the whole of Georgia who could claim the victory. They put some of the success of the song down to the inclusion of English lyrics, which the girls spend a lot of time perfecting.
What are Candy up to now?
One of the members, Irina Kovalenko, left the group quite soon after JESC 2011. This later led the rest of the members to separate and each began their own solo singing careers. Anna Khanchalyan won the Voice of Armenia in 2013.