Another year, another Junior Eurovision Song Contest over, and another shock victory. Anyone following me on Twitter last night (or anyone ON Twitter last night) would be aware of how flabbergasted the majority of fans were by Candy’s 5-point win over the Netherlands’ Rachel – Georgia’s second win in four years. There’s a ton of stuff to discuss and dissect re: Last Night, and as I have finally become fully awake after watching the contest which for me was This Morning, I’m chomping at the bit to do so. So, let’s talk about a brilliant but baffling JESC…
WARNING: This may be the longest post I have ever written here at EBJ. In fact, I could probably bind it and submit it as my uni PHD. But if you, like me, are suffering from Post-Eurovision Depression right now, I hope the sheer size of it will aid you in your recovery. Feel free to print it off and make it into a book yourself. Ha ha.
- RUSSIA: What a great number to kick off the show with! I can see why those lucky people-on-the-ground-in-Yerevan-whom-I-am-insanely-jealous-of thought rehearsals, for Katya, were a little pointless. I wasn’t sure about the all-white theme going on when BAM! the backing dancers turned around to reveal a rather clever heart motif on their backs. Does that count as a costume reveal? Well, whether it does or doesn’t, it added some extra interest to an already polished and professionally performed act.
- LATVIA: I was pleasantly surprised by Amanda’s performance, even though it featured her lonesome self and nothing else (a.k.a. no frolicking puppies) as I’d expected. I found myself spellbound for the almost-three minutes. And no, I was not by her mouth gear (although she and Dorijan Dlaka should consider getting together sometime). Apart from one wobble, Amanda was in control of her high notes – i.e. the entire song. It’s ironic that Meness Suns is so high that dogs would probably bolt away at the sound of it.
- MOLDOVA: I would say this was the most perfectly packaged performance of the night. Everything was there – the voice, the costume, the props, the charisma, the scooter Lerica must have borrowed off Katya when she decided not to use it for her own stage show…Moldova had it all. Still, I feel they would have benefited from a couple of backing dancers (maybe also borrowed from Katya) as Lerica looked a bit odd leaping around the stage by herself. She also looked a bit odd pulling handkerchiefs out of a bag, but then she’s not a magician, so I’ll let her off on that one.
- ARMENIA: Dalita got the biggest round of applause of the night, being the Armenian representative and all, but she deserved it simply for her vocals which were infinitely better last night than in the national final. Despite the throwback to Scooch, I enjoyed the aeronautical shebang. I mean, at least nobody held up a giant lollipop and asked ‘Would you like something to suck on for landing, sir?’ which would have both been blatant plagiarism and an inappropriate allusion for an under-16 to make.
- BULGARIA: No leathers? Ah, such disappointment! But when it came to the important things, like, I don’t know, the song and the vocals, I wasn’t left disappointed at all. Supergeroy was an early favourite of mine and I thought it worked great on the big stage. I take it Bulgaria drew choreography inspiration from the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. Before he’d been oiled up by Dorothy, of course.
- LITHUANIA: Gorgeous. It’s not a word that crops up often in my vocabulary, but it’s so fitting for what Paulina did last night. I can’t believe she’s only 10 years old! It makes me hate her talented self a little bit, but then she smiles and she’s so cute and I can’t hate her anymore. It’s very confusing.
- UKRAINE: Speaking of all things confusing, I know a lot of people were confused as to how Ukraine ended up so low in the table again, especially since Evropa had been backed by bookies and fans (including me) to be a contender for the trophy in a way that Mii Litak never was. But I have to say that Kristall’s vocals were the worst of the night, and unfortunately she can’t excuse that by saying her voice was breaking, unlike the artist who followed her. Kudos for the outfits and her song-writing abilities though.
- MACEDONIA: As discussed in my prediction post, trouble had been afoot (or should I say, athroat) for Mr. Dlaka through no fault of his own. However there was only one part of the chorus that his vocal chords objected to; the rest sounded fine. The performance was also better than I’d thought it would be, thanks to some nice costumes and choreography. Another point of interest: was that umbrella the same one used for the JESC 2007 postcards? If so, there is some serious black market prop-swapping going on here that the EBU should be investigating…
- NETHERLANDS: What can I say? Uh-MAYZING! I have a whole list of highlights from this performance alone, including the jackets that rivaled those of Ralf Mackenbach & Co in the awesome department, and the always versatile scaffolding. Plus, Rachel’s hair stayed in position the whole time, just as I’d predicted. It really was a winning act. Well, it should have been.
- BELARUS: I guess there’s something about good ballads that gets me. I was as spellbound by Lidiya as I was with Amanda and Paulina. I think she has the best live voice of the three, and I can see why she was also a favourite to win. Her violinists reminded me of those people who paint themselves metallic and then stand around on the street hoping you’ll throw money at them.
- SWEDEN: Erik is another epic vocalist, and I loved his performance despite the presence of the most unnecessary guitarist ever seen on a Eurovision stage. It was definitely a lot more dynamic than last year, and deserved a top 5 finish in my (slightly biased as it was one of my favourites) opinion.
- GEORGIA: I have a confession to make. I had been a fully paid-up member of the ‘Candy Music = Crappy Music’ Club right up until last night. But I have to admit that when it came to the crunch, Candy impressed me, and I did have a dance to their disco number. The outfits were great, the wacky hair (no afro wigs in sight!) was, well, wacky, and the girls sang really well (particularly Mini Christina Aguilera on the left). Like Moldova, Georgia had it all. I still didn’t want them to/think they would win…but I’m starting to think they deserved to.
- BELGIUM: Lucky last! Femke is adorable, and the Valentine’s Day theme going on was equally cutesy. I can’t really fault any of it, mainly because I feel like insulting Femke would be akin making a fur coat out of a litter of kittens. You just can’t hurt something so sweet and innocent, can you?
What about the rest?
- The stage: It did bear more than a passing resemblance to the Sydney Opera House, but the incorporation of the logo made it more Armenian. I think the latter alone would have simplified the stage for the better.
- The hosts: Who knew Penelope Cruz had an identical Armenian twin sister? Or perhaps it was Kim Kardashian disguising herself as Penelope Cruz’s twin (she is Armenian, after all). Anyway, she and the other guy did pretty well at the whole hosting thing. And they only changed outfits twice, rather than the 6148 times viewers are accustomed to.
- The postcards: Sweet, but also sad. Burning houses with Chihuahuas inside? Broken bones? Not entirely festive, fun subjects, are they?
- The interval acts: Very impressive! Molly Sandén was as talentless and hideous as ever, and I don’t know what Eric Saade sees in her. Not. She was beautiful, and the remixed performances of Qele Qele and Mama were really well done also. I’m not a remix fan by any means, but those were good ones. Everyone’s already made the Riverdance comparison (I’m surprised it wasn’t trending on Twitter) so I won’t.
- The Australian douze points: What a cool way to introduce the whole ‘we don’t want any children to be upset by a lack of votes so we have to give them all some point to start with’ concept! I’m only annoyed that I wasn’t asked to do it instead of that random kid who was a bit too enthusiastic for my liking. There’s always next year…
All in all, Armenia did a great job, and I’d love to see what they would do with big Eurovision. If they revert back to sending genius songs like Anytime You Need and Qele Qele rather than Boom Boom types that are in a genre all of their own, hosting that could be a real possibility in the near future.
The voting and the results
- As usual, the voting was a nail-biting experience, and as Jill & Lauren were doing their bit at the end, I was frantically calculating the Netherlands’ final score, knowing they’d get 12 points from Belgium. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, but again the Dutch have proved their prowess in JESC with a silver medal.
- I had had a feeling that if Rachel didn’t win, something unexpected would happen – that is, for the second year in a row the host country would be the previous winning country, OR an underdog would take the whole thing out. Lo and behold…
- Poor Katya! Back in ’09 she tied for second place, and now she’s come back wanting to win, and instead tied for third place. Technically, she finished fourth, as Belarus got 3x douze to her 2. Please try your luck at Eurovision 2013, Katya – at least you’re less likely to tie there.
- Another tie that’s harder to break was that between Latvia and Macedonia. Maybe it’s better to come last with someone else, rather than on your own? I also must point out that I predicted these two to be at the bottom. As that’s about the only thing I got right, I plan to gloat a LOT.
- Belarus, Belgium, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ukraine all managed to equal or better their 2010 results, whilst it was a slip down for Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia.
- Here’s the final scoreboard, in case you missed it:
- Georgia, 108
- Netherlands, 103
- Belarus, 99
- Russia, 99
- Armenia, 85
- Moldova, 78
- Belgium, 64
- Bulgaria, 60
- Sweden, 57
- Lithuania, 53
- Ukraine, 42
- Macedonia, 31
- Latvia, 31
And now, for some awards…
Best vocals: Belarus, Georgia, Moldova
Worst vocals: Ukraine
Best performances: Georgia, Moldova, Netherlands
Best costumes: Armenia, Belgium, Georgia
Best choreography: Belgium, Macedonia
Strangest choreography: Bulgaria
Best props: Macedonia, Netherlands
Most pleasant surprises: Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova
Biggest letdown: Ukraine
Deserved to do better: Sweden
Biggest heart-melters: Belgium, Lithuania
Most likely to win Eurovision: Russia, Sweden
Hello. If you’re reading this, you made it to the end of this obnoxiously long post and are still (semi) conscious. I hope you laughed, cried and found it life-changing – but as there is a 99.9% chance you did not, all I really hope is that you’ve enjoyed JESC month here at EBJ. From now on, the focus shifts to Baku; after all, the Swiss final is next weekend! I’ll be keeping my eye and delivering my verdict on that, the other NF’s, developing news and all else concerned with the 2012 contest, as well as bringing you some thrilling (ahem) top 10 lists and editorials. Before that, I suppose I’d better think about reverting the blog back to the standard design. But, always reluctant to let things go, I think I might leave it for now and go and watch Junior Eurovision 2011 once more.