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Eurovision Insight Podcast: The Last Podcast From Junior Eurovision 2016 Written by on November 21, 2016 | 3 Comments

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That was the Contest that was, and the ESC Insight team gathered around a microphone in Valletta one last time as the curtain closed to look back on Georgia’s victory at the fourteenth Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: The Last Podcast From Junior Eurovision 2016.

Recorded in the hour after the end of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2016, Ewan Spence is joined by Sharleen Wright, Lisa-Jayne Lewis, and Ben Robertson, to look back on a Contest filled with storytelling and controversy, fantastic singers and some fundamental changes.

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About The Author: Ewan Spence

British Academy (BAFTA) nominated broadcaster and writer Ewan Spence is the voice behind The Unofficial Eurovision Song Contest Podcast and one of the driving forces behind ESC Insight. Having had an online presence since 1994, he is a noted commentator around the intersection of the media, internet, technology, mobility and how it affects us all. Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, his work has appeared on the BBC, The Stage, STV, and The Times. You can follow Ewan on Twitter (@ewan) and Facebook (

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3 responses to “Eurovision Insight Podcast: The Last Podcast From Junior Eurovision 2016”

  1. Eurojock says:

    A very interesting post-mortem guys. My own reflections having watched the live show are as follows

    Ireland – did a lot better than I expected. I don’t know why, but credit to Zena for writing her own song and she beat some songs written by professional adult songwriters.

    Armenia – This was one of the 5 strongest songs. Was competently sung and well staged. I loved the costume change. A far better example of a good song aimed at kids than the rather cliched examples The Netherlands or Italy served up.

    Albania – I stand by my view that this one of the two best songs and actually Klesta sung it well on the Sunday (or they toned down her mic). If only they had spent their budget on the stage show instead of the wonderful video.

    Russia – The other stand out song (Well done Jedward and the kids juries for recognising this!) It was probably a difficult song to stage for the contest not being either a big ballad or a lively uptempo number.

    Malta – Another top 5 song, well sung but the staging killed it. Christina badly needed some dancers on stage – which I believe she had in the first rehearsal. Why did Malta ditch them.

    Bulgaria – Cutesy performer probably helped bring a higher score than the moderate song deserved.

    Macedonia – Again one of the strongest songs. The singing was on tune. Their finishing position was an injustice. You have talked of the song being more radio friendly than suited to a song contest. Also the costumes blended into the background LED screen. Following the tiny Bulgarian it also looked as if Macedonia had smuggled some 18 year olds into a children’s contest.

    Poland – I never thought much of the rather dated song, but watching the contest I actually thought this or Georgia would win. It was well staged and well sung by a girl in a white dress. With hindsight, another girl in white dress happened to do it better.

    Belarus – I actually rather enjoyed this. The hoverboarding worked on TV and the lead singer had a lot of presence. Surprisingly it was the kids juries that took this down the leaderboard.

    Ukraine – Actually Ewan, I rather liked the song, especially the chorus – but it was quite an adult song. I also quite liked the staging. It was different to anything else in the contest. While the staging had nothing to do with the song, they could get away with it as most of the song was not in English so most of us wouldn’t have much clue what the song was about anyway.

    Italy – I can see how people liked this, especially if they couldn’t understand the lyrics.

    Serbia – We have all made the point about the hoverboards. It was also crying out for dancers on stage. Additionally, the Sunday performance vocal was not great.

    Israel – The song felt dated and nobody went for it.

    Australia – I’m surprised this did so well. Alexa had good stage presence, but the song was no more than average. I can only think her jury vocal was better than her (admittedly okay) Sunday vocal.

    Netherlands – Formulaic kids pop song that admittedly had a strong hook and was well staged. Vocals were a bit dodgy though. Interestingly the kids juries liked this less than the adult juries.

    Cyprus – Initially I said the jurors wouldn’t vote for a song without a melody. I then thought the strong staging would do it a favour. However, watching the televised performance it was clear that (in the context of JESC) this was going to bomb.

    Georgia – You called it right after the jury final Ewan, and it became clear that in the context of a song contest that this (with its last slot draw) was going to be a strong contender. There couldn’t have been a better climax to the show – that’s one in the eye for producer led running orders. It’s a decent but not a great song but it allowed Mariam to impress with her vocal gymnastics. My concern is whether this is the way we want JESC or ESC to go – where the emphasis is on X-Factor style vocals over song content. Still if a strong vocal is going to win I would rather it be something out of the ordinary like Mzeo rather than a safe pop-ballad like ‘Sound of Silence’.

    Finally, notwithstanding the above comments I should say it was a great show with a surprisingly high standard and all the young singers and dancers should be very proud of themselves.

  2. Ewan Spence says:

    “Why did Malta ditch them?”

    Real answer: because pretending to be in freefall on body boards with castors on them looked silly.
    THe answer history will accept: It was a Maltese version of ‘My Lovely Horse’.

  3. Emily says:

    While I think the smaller venue makes more sense for Junior Eurovision, there should be a better way to present or capture the audience than was done by PBS. The only time we ever heard the audience was during Poli’s song, (or the results, which had there own problems) and the audience reaction shots looked like people milling around which sometimes sucked the energy out of high energy performances. I can imagine Cyprus doing much better at the 2014 contest, with an audience clapping and cheering along. Obviously with trying new things there are hiccups, but something that could definitely be improved.

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