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.
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.