National Pride On Show
Much of the news of the last few weeks has revolved around the fact we have a record twenty countries taking part in Junior Eurovision. Wales and Kazakhstan are debuting, and France, Azerbaijan and Israel are returning after absences.
These countries are bringing performances that all remind us of where they are from. Manw from Wales is performing as a proud dragon and Kazakhstan breathtaking eagle imagery reminds of my time transversing the barren steppe.
For Israel and Azerbaijan, my memories revert back to the Eurovision Song Contest. Noam’s performance and light show could be lifted from any combination of ‘Milim‘ or ‘Made of Stars‘. Similarly the floaty dress Fidan wears for Azerbaijan, combined with the white box and four symmetically formationed dancers is just a little bit ‘X My Heart‘.
And France. I don’t know about you but there’s a building I reckonise from somewhere. Can’t recall where I’ve seen it before.
Belarus Bring A Gamechanger
In the press room the host country entry ‘Time‘ is not being talked up as one of the favourites. Win or lose I am certain that the staging of ‘Time‘ is such a gamechanging moment in stage performance. This is the first true performance that is played out in music video style, with beach, basketball and living room scenes so effortlessly transitioned.
Delegations heading to Tel Aviv should watch and learn – the smaller scale of the show that Tel Aviv will need to be might need more creative ideas to make impact back home.
And What A Scale This Is
The Belarussian media have ensured that all the country’s eyes will be on the capital city for the Sunday evening show, with newspapers covering Minsk’s hosting on the front pages.
Minsk Arena, hosting the 2021 International Ice Hockey World Championship Finals, is a modern world-class venue that has ample capacity to run the Eurovision Song Contest with ease. It sold out within days for the show, and expect a passionate home crowd cheering on the acts.
That’s only backed up by the thousands of children that will be on the floor for the show itself. We’ve seen schoolchildren coming in to learn choreography throughout the week and we’re expecting a co-ordinated crowd not just for the interval acts but all 20 performers as well. I remember this well from the 2009 Contest in Yerevan adding to the carnival atmosphere.
Light Up My Spotify Please!
OK, having heard it in full with all twenty acts getting there chance to shine makes it run just a wee bit long (I’m just too used to songs with a 3:00 limit), but the fact is that the “Light Up” common song this year is perfectly written. It’s safe pop of course with production polished to the nines, but the hooks are infectious and I dare this it would do well as a great competitive song as well.
I just hope it doesn’t disappear into the ethers post-contest. I’ll be listening again.
A New Second Language
Our hosts exclaim Добрый вечер at the start of the show. Times have changed. Junior Eurovision’s eastern-heavy participation list means Russian is probably far more understood to many.
Yes the show is in English, but note how Ukraine opens the show with the bilingual ‘Say Love‘, with brash text on the backdrop in both Latin and Cyrillic script. It’s incredibly powerful and will send that message clearly down to viewers all around the region.
And no, even though France are taking part there’s not a whiff of français anywhere in this. Not even a douze points in the voting.
Blink And You Miss It
There’s no fireworks in the show itself but a precise number of one entry is using the gas cannons. It’s subtle, but will you notice with one?
There’s also only one true costume change to spot for the eagle eyed of you.
The Jury Votes Come In
Just a recap that Junior Eurovision has a system of half juries (3 adults and 2 children) alongside half the scores from an online vote (which,if you are reading before the show, is available at https://vote.junioreurovision.tv/)
Two things to keep your eyes on. The reading of each country’s jury score is read out on stage – but can you guess which have brought one of their own to read the 12 points and which are read by a local Belarussian act? I’ll let you know that one of Ireland, Australia and Wales isn’t from their country, guess who!
There’s also a puppet. A decidedly creepy vote revealing puppet. Thankfully it’s not this one.
And Finally The Online Vote
We at team ESC Insight are expecting that the spread of votes in the jury vote will be far wider than the online vote. This is because the voting system encourages votes to be spread much more uniformly across all the songs rather than just one.
Although 50/50, therefore the jury vote is arguably more important.
Expect most countries in online voting to be clustered around the 45-60 point mark with a few breakaways. The question will be if enough points are left on the board for any remaining countries to overtake the leader. The voting could be close, or could be a formality with a few countries left to receive points, as it was last year sadly.
The juries have already voted. Now the only decision is left in your hands. Who do you want to win Junior Eurovision 2018? May the best song win.