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Paths To Victory: How To Win Junior Eurovision Before You Start Singing Written by on November 22, 2018 | 6 Comments

If the goal is to win the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, how should a delegation work its way towards victory? Ewan Spence looks at the paths to victory at Junior Eurovision 2018 and what elements the winning package will need.

As rehearsals continue in Minsk, the delegations entering this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest be considering the tactics needed to get the votes and the points that will win the Contest. Yes, Junior Eurovision is a melting pot of friendship and sharing, but we do keep score.

Following on from our look at the strategies to win the Adult Contest, what unique challenges feature in Junior Eurovision?

Once more, let’s remember the first principles. You win the Junior Eurovision Song Contest by scoring more points than any other song in that year’s Contest. It does’t matter if these are all points from the jury, all from the televote, or (more likely) from a mix of the two. Points are points.

How Many Points Do You Need?

Our analysis of the Adult contest suggests that ‘half the maximum number of points plus one’ is the finishing line in May. Junior Eurovision has a smaller competitive field, and like any Contest, each year is unique. But a look back at previous Junior years shows that scoring half of your maximum available points will put you in the mix for winning… because of the smaller field at Junior it’s common for second (and sometimes third) placed songs to pass the halfway mark as well.

Junior Eurovision winning points table (Ewan Spence)

Junior Eurovision winning points table (Ewan Spence)

This year there are twenty countries entering the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. That means nineteen juries are handing out votes (as you cannot vote for yourself). The maximum jury score is 228 points. The televote winning threshold is harder to calculate, as there is just one voting constituency (the world) and the Eurovision points are allocated on a percentage of votes cast. It’s also been used once before, in 2017, so there’s not a huge amount of data to work on – The Netherlands won the 2017 televote with 112 points out of a worldwide total of 929 points, but if we look at the more traditional jury vote there was a maximum of 180 points on offer, offering a midway point of 90 points. Translate that to the televote and The Netherlands scores 112 (over the 90 point mark) while Italy in second place scored 81 points.

In a blatant piece of theorising, I’m going to take the finishing line to be the fifty percent of available points in the jury vote, and a similar amount as the televote threshold, as the winning line of Junior Eurovision 2018, plus one.

We’re looking for 229 points to grab the victory.

The Two Sides Of Junior Eurovision

The jury side and the televote side of Junior Eurovision are completely split. There is nothing the jury can do to influence the televise, or vice versa. You can easily sweep the board with the jury, have a tiny showing in the televote, but still come home with the trophy. Songs can be tailored towards the jury, and in previous years there has been a clear bias by Junior jurors to reward technical singing and performance skill.

But what are the public looking for? This is where Junior Eurovision does something different to its older sibling. As previously explained here on ESC Insight the televote is not bound by country, it is a single region and the Eurovision points will be shared out according to the percentage of the votes cast. Of critical importance is that you can vote for your own country. Polish fans of Roksana Węgiel – and there are quite a few, she has over 121,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 8 million views on her lead video – can all vote for ‘Anyone I Want To Be’. And they don’t need to wait for Junior Eurovision to start, the televoting lines open up 48 hours before the show starts on Friday 23rd.

A glance at the current viewing figures of the official video clips shows a huge disparity. Wegiel’s video is currently sitting on 1.4 million views, while Bojana Radovanović’s ‘Svet‘ is on 65 thousand views. There is a huge disparity between the songs online performance, and that’s down to their personal fanbases.

An act with a strong following on social media that can motivate their fan base to get up and vote (and encourage others to vote) will have a notable impact on the final result. While there will be a component of Sunday’s show to attract new voters, it could be that the televote is effectively decided by the time ‘Te Duem’ rings out to open up Minsk 2018.

Arguably the music videos are for the televote, the stage performance is purely for the jurors to watch on the Saturday dress rehearsal/jury final, and the Sunday show is for pride. But if the music video is key to unlocking your televote, then delegations that can afford higher production values and increased marketing budgets have a distinct advantage.

One example in the difference in presentation can be seen between The Netherlands and Kazakhstan. Max And Sam’s official video is an edited version of the National Final performance, while Daneliya Tuleshova’s video (and Kazakhstan’s debut at Junior Eurovision) replicates some of the glorious excess witnessed by the rock bands of the eighties and nineties.

All of this is talking about victory in the final score table, but there are other ways to ‘win’ at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. From the step forward for a performer’s career, to the presence of a country on the international stage, Junior Eurovision can be the starting point for many new adventures.

We’ll explore those tomorrow.

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 (facebook.com/ewanspence).

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6 responses to “Paths To Victory: How To Win Junior Eurovision Before You Start Singing”

  1. I think that the large view counts racked up by some countries’ entries is related somewhat to their language isolation–and size of their domestic cultural sphere. Poland, Italy, Spain, all have significant local music markets, where the national language support is both large and largely local. It’ll be interesting to see if Poland leverages their click counts better this year than in previous years.

    And keep an eye on the Kazakh-Azeri jury scores: will being Turkic languages produce the sort of love that the Azeris and Turks routinely shared at the main Contest?

  2. Ewan Spence says:

    Good points John on the televote… strategies (and pointers for us observers) are still being developed!

  3. Eurojock says:

    Do members of the public have to vote for more than one song to dilute the impact of being able to vote for one’s own country? And is there any control in place to prevent the same individual voting on multiple devices?

    I also worry about the PR disaster that would occur if a young contestant effectively had the win sewn up on Saturday by dint of online and jury votes only for their voice to break on Sunday morning or for them to fall off the stage during the live broadcast.

  4. Ewan Spence says:

    Minimum of three votes, maximum of five votes, no more than one vote per country.

  5. James says:

    How do votes made online turn into points? This is the part I am confused about from last year when they were announcing the points from the popular vote. Is it the same as the other 50 % where each 10 sets of points come from each participating country’s jury, granted online votes coming from outside Europe would have to be taken into account?

  6. Ewan Spence says:

    Percentage wise. So if you get 47% of the public vote (it is one constituency) you get 47% of the available points (ie the pool of points that matches the jury votes, which is 1160 points this year (20 juries, 58 points per jury in classic 12 10 8-1).

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