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ESC Insight Asks: Why The Junior Eurovision Song Contest? Written by on December 7, 2022

One question with so many answers, “why the Junior Eurovision Song Contest?” Ben Robertson asks people from both inside and outside the Junior Eurovision bubble.

Nicklas Nørgaard

Content creator on YouTube platform Neon Pavillion, including Junior Eurovision-related content.

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest is one of the few things that the children of Europe can call their own. It is a fabulous celebration of European culture, seen through the eyes of young people. There is something special about this Contest that makes me tune in to watch it every year. Maybe it’s the excitement you feel when the kids go on stage. Maybe it’s because it feels more authentic than most television these days.

Whatever the case, I’ve loved it ever since I was sick in bed watching the first cCntest almost twenty years ago. I imagine it must be amazing and so much fun to get to represent your country on such a big stage, at such a young age. After all, my biggest dream as a child was to participate myself. Sadly, I never got the courage to send in my song about my toy dog Walter that I wrote when I was 10.

Iru Khechanovi

Member of Candy Music, Junior Eurovision Song Contest winners in 2011.

Junior Eurovision has a very special place in my heart. Our group was called “Candy” and we won on December 3rd, 2011. When I think about Junior Eurovision, I see colours, I feel joy, I hear music and it all makes me very happy. It is a place where children get to express how they feel about the world and they make forever connections to other countries. I remember us, Candy girls singing every song in different languages, of course, we didn’t understand any word but that way we were getting close to the other participants from around the world. Also, we were teaching them our language and it was so much fun.

Rehearsing on the stage was so magical, so interesting, every single movement was planned professionally that it made us feel like we were superstars. Junior Eurovision is one big home for talented singers.

David Carros

Journalist at Junior Eurovision 2022 for ESC Plus.

Why the Junior Eurovision Song Contest? …because it represents the future. Junior Eurovision because it represents new life, and new illusions. Junior because it represents the Europe of the future, the music of the future. Even so, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for me, also represents the past, that past of my 7-year-old self watching the first Junior Eurovision Song Contest, an opportunity to, as it happened with me, bring to the new generations the passion for this way of life called Eurovision.

There will always be contradictory opinions about whether Junior Eurovision is more oriented to ‘junior songs’ or more mature songs; what is certain is that in the mix of these types of music lies the variety and richness that drives this Contest.

Junior Eurovision has evolved in recent years in a very positive way, concentrating on new audiences and rejuvenating the targets of the channels where it is broadcast; in part thanks to the strength of free online voting, which may be questioned by the possibility of voting for one’s own country, but which undoubtedly brings great promotional strength to the Contest.

In short, although it may have its detractors, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest was, is, and will continue to be a great idea that will last over time if it is developed in the right way.

Monty Moncrieff

Co-host of the Second Cherry Podcast.

Despite my somewhat advanced years as a Eurovision Song Contest fan, I’ve never fully embraced its little sister, though I am a committed ‘Sunday-afternooner’ – Junior’s equivalent of the vast majority of Eurovision’s one-night-a-year audience in May.

Of course, I know some of the reasons “Why Junior”. It’s fun TV, particularly for kids. Remember who’s the target audience here. I’d have been obsessed with this show as a child. It engages and nurtures a ‘next-generation’ audience. It introduces the values of friendly competition at a suitable age. And of course, it grows the brand; the frankly, ridiculous claims that Junior would somehow “destroy” the reputation of the adult show are still found wanting. In 2022 the Eurovision Song Contest is arguably more popular than ever.

Why Junior is also a question we could ask of the BBC. Why join now after all these years? That popularity is perhaps a clue. With Eurovision fever running high ahead of Liverpool’s guest-hosting in 2023, the Junior Song Contest offers an opportunity to embed the Eurovision mindset across the BBC’s multiple broadcast and online channels, As a Christmas warm-up for the big event that’s perhaps too enticing to turn down.

Tero Aalto

Attending his second Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Yerevan this year

I remember being interested in Junior Eurovision when it first started, but for some reason, I stopped watching it after 2005. It was only a few years ago that I started again. I have a number of friends who are considerably younger and for whom Junior has thus been organically more relevant, so I blame their influence.

However, I wasn’t more than watching the live shows until last year. A friend of mine was going to Paris, and as we’d had several successful Eurovision trips in the past, I thought why not, Paris is always fun. The experience turned out even better than expected. Compared to the adult version, I especially enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere at the venue. And how cheap the best seats in the hall were, of course. All in all, it felt like a trip back in time to the 70s. One thing I wouldn’t recommend, though, is not listening to the entries before the show (which we did on purpose, just to try what it would be like).

Let’s see if this becomes a habit. At least we’re going to Yerevan. Oops.

Ben Robertson

Writing about Junior Eurovision for ESC Insight.

Junior Eurovision is where I began the journey to cover the Song Contest as I do today. I was accredited in 2012  for the Amsterdam show before I’d been to a Eurovision in May, just as I attended numerous iterations of Lilla Melfest before I got in the doors at Melodifestivalen.

Like our artists get to try out being at Eurovision this week, I got the chance to try out my journalism with much less pressure. It was here that I learnt my trade, in a competition that (in normal years) is far easy to get accreditation for and people are more likely to have time to tell you their stories.

That’s still the case today. Junior Eurovision is often where ideas are experimented with before they migrate to May. That applies to my writing as much as the Song Contest we love. It’s also helped by a community feel; the press group are close knit, the artists all friendly and often far more open in interviews and the commercial pressure barely registers. We cover Junior for the love of the Contest, wanting it to engage the fan community and next generation alike. This week should be inspirational.

Those older than me liken this family feeling to the Song Contests of old, pre-televoting and a free-language rule. I can imagine that comparison needs barely any sugar to coat the nostalgia.

If you want to share your answer to the question “Why Junior?” then please feel free to leave a comment below or via our social media platforms.

About The Author: Ben Robertson

Ben Robertson has attended 23 National Finals in the world of Eurovision. With that experience behind him he writes for ESC Insight with his analysis and opinions about anything and everything Eurovision Song Contest that is worth telling.

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