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Your Spotter’s Guide To The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Written by on December 11, 2022

Today’s the day for Junior Eurovision, as the Song Contest returns to Yerevan. Ben, Sharleen, and Ewan take you through the big moments to watch out for in today’s lavish and dramatic show.

The Money On Show

This may be Junior Eurovision but the budget is anything but. Local press have reported figures of €13 million spent on this week, a figure that is in keeping with some of the Eurovision Song Contests of this past decade. Visually inside the 7,500 seater venue is a stage featuring pyro effects, curved LED walls including the transparent type we saw used in Rotterdam in 2021, and sweeping camera shots and production tricks that scream big-budget broadcasting.

When you add all this imported equipment, ran by a team with previous international Eurovision experience, to all the trappings of the Opening Ceremony and social programme earlier in the week it is easy to see how the cost for Junior Eurovision hits these record numbers. Expect to see two and a half hours of TV entertainment of the highest production quality.

The Staging Pretenders and Kings

Poland has been brought out to perform second after The Netherlands drew to open the show. Watch out if a small delay happens here, the Dutch balloons take a while to be pulled off the stage. Poland’s producer picked draw of second is easy to explain now we’ve seen this number as the act begins with a video filmed in Poland, giving just a couple more seconds of time to clear the stage.

If you remember the intense on-screen graphics from Ochman’s ‘River’ from Turin 2022 then what Poland is bringing visually may not surprise you. Those sweeping moon shots across the screen, accompanied by whoosh sound effects, fall into the same realm.

What follows from Kazakhstan performing third is a world away from this. Cheesy PowerPoint transitions are swapped out for cinematic perfection once again and their opening LED graphics of dystopia would befit the best modern computer game trailers.

Year upon year Kazakhstan show the other delegations in Europe how to stage a song.

The United Kingdom’s Return

It is not uncommon for the host broadcast of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest to take part in Junior Eurovision. Attending and experiencing another show on the ground gives a great experience for what one has to do in just a few months’ time. What is uncommon is taking the momentum from Sam Ryder’s second-place finish and running this into Junior Eurovision with a desire to be cool, contemporary, and a public desire to aim for victory. And the UK is one of the pre-Contest favourites, ranking highly within the Junior Eurovision community with its Zara Larsson-esque number.

The show is being broadcast on BBC One under the Children’s BBC branding CBBC, and over here in Yerevan a team from the CBBC show Newsround has been reporting on Freya’s performance and getting the home crowd ready to vote for their queen

Yet the excitement about the UK has been tempered with a touch of worry due to some unfortunate news… After feeling “under the weather” on Friday Freya and the team decided to miss the second round of rehearsals, struggled through a Saturday afternoon rehearsal and didn’t perform at the jury show in the evening.

We wish her, and all the other artists in similar situations, the best in this regard.

Juke Box Jury On The Eurovision Stage

Many of the songwriters involved in this year’s show will be familiar to viewers of Junior Eurovision and the Eurovision Song Contest respectively. Giorgi Kukhianidze is responsible for three of Georgia’s victories with Iru Khechanovi from the Georgian group Candy in 2011 one of the lyricists. Barbara Pravi, 2nd place in Eurovision 2021 and the winning composer of 2020 is one of the two lyricists behind the French entry.

However, we’ll spend this songwriter slot doing a shout-out for a familiar voice to ESC Insight Podcast listeners. Check the credits carefully under the Irish entry for MaJiKer, the moniker of our own Juke Box Jury stalwart Matthew Ker who is making his songwriting debut in the Eurovision circus. It’s a “hit” already!

Robin The Robot

The fourth presenter of the show is the delightful Robin the Robot, who rolls across from the Green Room to the stage with a computerised accent that is part adorably cute and part chalk-gratingly annoying. Robin has a role to bring down the intense pressure of the Junior Eurovision down and some of his humour actually is quite funny (if at times pitched towards an audience at the six-year-old level).

There’s just something about an animated character that can say things that nobody else can get away with…

The Hometown Cheer

If there’s one thing that a home crowd enjoys, it’s their own song. They always go big in the hall, and Junior Eurovision is no exception to the rule. If anything the cheers for ‘Hayastan’ is likely to be as loud as anything else we have seen in ESC history. And there is good reason to cheer. Armenia is a country that in recent years has been under strict martial law between 2020 and earlier this year 2022 and, thrown in with a pandemic, there has been little to celebrate for this population of three million Armenians.

This is only helped by having a song worthy of cheering. ‘Dance!’ is an uptempo floor-filler that is going to go down a storm in Yerevan and has every chance of doing well come the final results. Armenia doing the double? Well, that is a very significant possibility.

Before Ukraine

While you can build a running order to have a powerful coda to close out the competitive part of the Song Contest, Junior Eurovision’s use of a random draw to decide three spots (that of the host, the opener, and the closer). This has given us the host’s running spot, opening and closing numbers, and has gifted us with an Armenia to Ukraine pairing to close the show.

Now, the hall is going to be absolutely jumping as ‘Dance!’ comes to an end, and what happens to that emotion is going to be… curious. Will the energy levels stay high, and will the emotion of Ukraine’s Zlata Dziunka raise the show to a powerful crescendo and connect across the continent… or will the bright energy of Armenia’s Nare feel like “the end of the show” moment and captures the public imagination and the vote.

Postcards with a twist

Armenia is far from the largest nation on the Eurovision circuit but despite that, you will see plenty of diversity in locations used around Yerevan and the rest of the nation on the Eurovision postcards before each song.

At the start of each postcard the contestants in turn fire a spinning top that (virtually) imbeds into the structure before slowly unwinding the building open, magically. These spinning tops have been the top collectable here for Eurovision fans here in Yerevan, costing just over €10 for the hand-painted traditional toy. They are being ripped off the shelves on a daily basis before the shop employees can put them back on display.

Check out the instructional video if you want to learn how to play with these new collectables.

Interval Acts

There are three big-name interval acts that are well worth slumping down on your sofa with a big bowl of crisps and enjoying some quality music entertainment. I’ll start off with a beautifully arranged version of ‘Snap’ that Rosa Linn performs. This is extended beyond its three-minute format with traditional instrumentation weaving in alongside the original guitar-driven track and Rosa Linn pushing her vocal to levels we didn’t see before in Turin. I’ve heard this song umpteen times over the last six months and this version brings fresh life and emotion to the global sensation.

Junior’s reigning champion Malena is back with her new single, staged with the level of detail befitting the very best pop sensations on the planet, before she returns for the big finale. The previous winners’ medley is tastefully presented (even with Robin the Robot acting as narrator) and for those songs that do not have winners present the Tavush Diocese Children’s Choir do a fantastic job to present the songs in an engaging way. This is a heartwarming treat through memory lane, especially seeing the grown-up winners from over a decade ago.

The Size Of The Public Vote

The jury vote takes place as one usually expects from the Eurovision Song Contest, but the public vote is a whole different beast. The show’s conclusion will be a fascinating sequence where the points given to each country are proportional to the number of votes received.

Watch out for low scores averaging around the 20-30 mark, smaller nations getting a core vote out but not much more. A score of over 150 would mean that more than 1 in 2 voters were supporting your song (remember you must vote for three entries) and would be a record score to look out for.

Considering Ukraine’s televote score in Turin there are many commentators suggesting Ukraine could smash this ceiling. We would expect the top televote scores to be at around the 100-point mark. Watch out for Spain, Poland and host nation Armenia which have been running very strong local promotions for their entries to do well. And, if you believe the heavy strategy description on our latest ESC Insight podcast, Kazakhstan.

Friendship and community

Yes, this is a competition and we keep score but watch out for the love on show between the artists. I love how the opening number combines the common song with the flag parade and culminates in all 16 nations coming together in the Green Room to sing ‘Spin The Magic’ as a socially un-distanced group.

Yes there will be a winner and for many of the adults involved it will be important who wins. But the highlights of Junior Eurovision are its ability to inspire the next generation (look at how many previous entrants, winners or otherwise, are still in music) and the community they create as artists together sharing their art.

The Eurovision Song Contest has a lot to learn.

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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