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Lessons From Junior Eurovision 2022 Written by , and on December 12, 2022 | 1 Comment

As we leave Yerevan and Junior Eurovision 2022, what lessons can we take from the Contest, what needs to be addressed, and what do we want to see more of? Ben, Ewan, and Sharleen look back on Eurovision’s time in Armenia.

On Stage in May

We wrote earlier in the week that we would love to see the winner of Junior Eurovision appear in May’s Song Contest for May and perform their three-minute song. Could Lissandro perform in Liverpool?

We certainly wouldn’t have any concerns about his ability to pull off a spectacular show there and feel the local crowd would be receptive. However, with a packed cultural programme that should emphasise Ukraine in its British-based productions, the time will be tight. This would be a far easier tradition to begin if the United Kingdom or Ukraine had brought home the Junior Microphone trophy.

That said, assuming the plan is to bring Lissandro to Liverpool I suspect this little showman would be more comfortable signing to the crowd than being interviewed by our hosts. If there is space BBC, please make some live music happen.

The Online Voting Needs To Make A Difference

With the reintroduction of the United Kingdom and its BBC One broadcast, we saw a new country win the Junior Eurovision public vote; congratulations Freya Skye. But the margin is worth highlighting. Just ten points separated six different nations. The points distribution is as flat as a pancake.

While the Contest may officially be a fifty-fifty split between jury and public voting, much more power lies with the juries. It was the juries that gave Lissandro an unsurpassable lead heading into the televote.

You could argue that this flat distribution of points from the online vote, paired with the amount of self-promotion required in the run-up to Junior Eurovision creates its own level playing field – if everyone follows the playbook, then nobody reaps any disproportionate benefits.

That view would ignore the imbalance created between the smaller and larger broadcasters. It also ignores some of the strategies that broadcasters are using to try and get the vote out, pushing propaganda campaigns that may increase the show’s reach but also our pressure on the act by overly raising expectations.

It may be ‘better’ on the scoreboard today than a few years ago, but ‘playing the game’ to climb the scoreboard does not feel in character for Junior Eurovision.

Stand-In Plans In Place

In this first Eurovision Song Contest as a post-Covid production, without any formal restrictions outwith those from the Armenian government, we saw numerous acts get ill. Some missed rehearsals and didn’t perform at the jury show, and sadly our Serbian act did not perform on the live final of Junior Eurovision.

Illness can happen at any Contest, but to see so many wiped out this week has been tough to witness. This is the perfect chance for the EBU to evaluate their policies and practices so that there’s an open plan for Liverpool and beyond.

Will those on-tape performances become a forever trend?

A Prime-time Junior Eurovision?

It has already been confirmed that the French broadcaster is looking to host Junior Eurovision 2023. It also has been confirmed that the JESC steering group will be discussing the options once more of the broadcasting time slot and day; afternoons, evenings, Sundays, Saturdays, are all in the mix.

We should expect a strong momentum building to switch to the prime time Saturday slot. Germany is returning next year and the Contest is moving more westward, and on major channels at that. If those channels believed Junior Eurovision would be good for their Saturday night broadcasting then I think the EBU would jump at the chance.

Is Brand Eurovision sufficiently cool now for Junior Eurovision to bump the BBC’s Strictly Coming Dancing around the schedule for a week in December?

Perhaps not quite yet but it’s slowly moving that way.

Could Yerevan Host In Any Given May? Maybe…

The Karen Demirchyan Sports Complex provided the stage for one of the most spectacular-looking Junior Eurovision contests in modern times. It was visually as strong as a Eurovision Song Contest and showed Armenia was able to deliver on a global platform.

Should Armenia win in Liverpool 2023 (Maléna surely would have a go sooner rather than later) then this is the obvious location for the Eurovision Song Contest to be held. Could Armenia host here?

A capacity of 7,500 would be small but understandably so. Yet the venue struggled with access being designed with only one direction for public attendance up a long flight of stairs; with aggressive pushing and shoving being experienced by many, groups and families separated, and tempers flaring with police on the way in. For some attending the show the combined queuing time was about an hour to go from the perimeter to inside the venue.

Once inside the venue there was more queuing needed for coat storage and drink purchasing, the latter of which suffered by only being available from one section of the venue. If Eurovision comes here the space inside and outside the venue must be better managed for the safety and enjoyment of visitors.

Could Eurovision be here in Armenia? Probably, but the venue limitations as well as hotel and transport infrastructure in the host city, would certainly need some creative solutions.

The Winners Had Their Moments

With a show that points in the direction of juries as the heavy voting strength, we can note that vocal capacity was key to their success. The four songs at the top of the jury vote, which also ended up as the final top four, were those that had huge vocal capacity workouts in their final minute of crescendo.

This will come as no surprise to those watching closely, but it is a reminder of just what works in Junior Eurovision. Expect more kids with big voices becoming an increasingly big trend in this competition as we skew more to the juries.

New Nation Successes Bring Hope

One could have predicted that France, Georgia and Armenia, modern day powerhouses of Junior Eurovision, would take the podium spots in Junior Eurovision long before we knew the songs. That they were joined by Ireland and the United Kingdom would have been almost impossible a year ago.

For Ireland, competing with the smallest broadcaster in the competition TG4, and competing in the Irish language, one has to think that their success here will influence the philosophy of main public broadcaster RTE. Ireland’s 4th place here is after all their best result since 1997 in any Eurovision contest.

For the United Kingdom, despite Freya’s illness throughout the week a fifth place finish is all the evidence needed to know that good songs will be rewarded. It is as simple as that and the BBC has enough momentum out of Paris to continue their attack on the Contest in Liverpool.

The Pravi Show

Barbara Pravi now has two Junior Eurovision songwriting successes to her name, as well as one fourth-place finish with the huge hit ‘Bim Bam Toi’. Add to that her second-place finish in Rotterdam and there’s one question we all wonder…

When, Ms. Pravi, are you returning to the adult Contest? It is surely only a matter of time.

Ukraine Is No Longer The Automatic Liverpool Favourite

One press centre prediction was for Ukraine’s online score to top 250 points. A Twitter poll by Insight’s Ben Robertson saw the majority expectation of over 175 points for Ukraine.

The theory was Ukraine would receive votes from almost everyone as they voted for at least three entries. Instead Ukraine stumbled to a mid-table online vote score and a ninth overall finish. In total Ukraine got just shy of seven percent of the public vote which means just over twenty percent of voters gave a vote to Ukraine.

A lot more people will be voting in May but there’s evidence here to suggest that the voting public of Europe are not in the exact same place regarding showing solidarity to Ukraine as they perhaps were in May.

Surely now we need to question the current status of Ukraine as the shortest price favourite to win a Eurovision show so far before the final itself.

A Social Programme Of Dreams

One shout-out we want to give the organisers here in Armenia is the social programme for our performers. The city of Yerevan closed the metro system for two days for acts to stop off at different stations, each themed in magical ways. I’ve only heard good things from those attending.

I also want to point out how genius it was to book the after-show party for delegations at Yerevan Park, the theme park just around the corner from the arena for their final celebrations. Pictures of Lissandro holding the trophy are one thing, but pictures of the acts enjoying the jubilation of their final few hours in such a joyous setting represent the true meaning much better.

What do you have as the lessons out of Yerevan? How do you see Eurovision looking in 2023? Comment below.

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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One response to “Lessons From Junior Eurovision 2022”

  1. Eurojock says:

    I finally got around to watching Junior Eurovision on catch-up. I had only heard a couple of songs in advance.

    I must say that this is the best JESC I can remember. There were a number of strong songs and a number of strong performers. And the staging was so good for everyone.

    Also, congratulations to the UK. Freya was a strong entry and I believe should have finished higher than 5th. It was great to be able to watch the show on BBC for once. I hope the BBC’s commitment to JESC will continue longer term.

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