Counting down to JESC: Lillehammer 2004

Watching Junior Eurovision 2004 back the other day, I felt like the Norwegian organizers really pulled out all the stops to outdo the Copenhagen show. With the hosts (including co-compere of Oslo 2010, Nadia Hasnaoui) on hand to perform physical comedy, exchange lame banter, and change outfits an unnecessary amount of times, JESC was beginning to model itself more on big Eurovision, and so becoming more familiar – i.e. less of a novelty and more of an institution.

I also felt ’04 was a strong year entry-wise, perhaps more so than I did when I first saw it, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t find the ‘nay’ amongst all the ‘yay’! Read on for a recap of the second mini-contest, as well as the promised verdicts on the songs, voices and costumes that floated my boat (as well as those that sunk it).



The stats

Edition: 2nd

When: 20th November, 2004

Where: Håkons Hall, Lillehammer, Norway

Theme: ‘Bright Nordic Winter Nights’

Hosts: Nadia Hasnaoui & Stian Barsnes Simonsen

Broadcaster: NRK

Entries: 18

Debutants: 2 – France, Switzerland

Returnees: 0

Withdrawals: 0

Interval act/s: Dance medley and Westlife with Ain’t That A Kick In The Head

First place: Spain

Last place: Latvia/Poland

Most douze points: 8 – Spain


The entries

Greece/ O Palios Mou Eaftos by Secret Band

Malta/ Power of a Song by Young Talent Team

Netherlands/ Hij Is Een Kei by Klaartje & Nicky

Switzerland/ Birichino by Demis Mirarchi

Norway/ En Stjerne Skal Jeg Bli by @lek

France/ Si On Voulait Bien by Thomas Pontier

Macedonia/ Zabava by Martina Siljanovska

Poland/ Łap Życie by KWADro

Cyprus/ Onira by Marios Tofi

Belarus/ Spiavajce Sa Mnoju by Egor Volchek

Croatia/ Hej Mali by Nika Turković

Latvia/ Balts Vai Melns by Mārtinš Tālbergs & C-Stones Juniors

United Kingdom/ The Best Is Yet To Come by Cory Spedding

Denmark/ Pigen Er Min by Cool Kids

Spain/ Antes Muerta Que Sencilla by María Isabel

Sweden/ Varför Jag? by Limelights

Belgium/ Accroche-Toi by Free Spirits

Romania/ Îţi Mulţumesc by Noni Răzvan Ene


The scoreboard

  1. Spain – 183

María Isabel, proud owner of a trophy almost as big as herself

  1. United Kingdom – 152
  2. Croatia – 138
  3. Romania – 135
  4. Denmark – 128
  5. France – 90
  6. Macedonia – 76
  7. Cyprus – 73
  8. Greece – 60
  9. Belgium – 49
  10. Netherlands – 39
  11. Malta – 26
  12. Norway – 24
  13. Belarus – 21
  14. Sweden – 20
  15. Switzerland – 16
  16. Latvia/Poland – 15


My top 5… 


Denmark – one of the catchiest songs in JESC history, this brings out the gangsta in me (hardcore, I know). I feel like Scandinavian languages lend themselves so well to rap/hip hop/whatever you would classify this as.

Spain – As strong as ’04 was in my opinion, and despite the fact that I like Denmark a little better, Spain deserved to win. María was so teeny back then it’s hard to believe she was old enough to tie her own shoelaces, let alone write such a cracking song. And yet, she did.

Croatia – Croatia, like Spain and the UK, is one of those countries that can’t even get a look in at Eurovision these days, yet managed two amazing results in a row in Junior a mere few years ago. Maybe it had something to do with the BLEEDING BRILLIANT songs they sent?

France – This has got to be the Frenchiest song on the planet. It would have been the Frenchiest contest entry ever too, if only Thomas had worn a Breton shirt and a beret and sung into a baguette. That aside, j’adore cette chanson in all its quirky glory.  

Romania – I know I’m supposed to be judging the songs here, but I can’t help it. Is Noni not the most adorable child to ever walk the earth? And I’m usually a sucker for puppies and kittens, not kids. I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate me saying that now since he’s practically middle-aged, but whatever. PS – yeah, his song was a good one.


France – with a vocal like this, who needs fancy costumes, backup dancers or cannons that shoot disco balls filled with glitter and confetti?  

Poland – these girls knew how to harmonise. I mean, I think they did. I don’t, but they sounded pretty darn good to me.

Romania – I bet Mariah Carey sounded like this when she was a boy.

UK – Her range goes a bit far northwards for my taste, but I can’t deny that Cory knew her way around those high notes.

Cyprus – I’m not a fan of Marios’ song (and I find it hard to believe he was under the age of sixteen when he arrived in Lillehammer) but he could sing – and bust some serious moves at the same time.


L-R: Cory (and her spectacular hair), Young Talent Team, Nika, KWADro, and Noni

UK – Kermit the Frog said it wasn’t easy being green, but Cory apparently disagreed. Bonus points for the crazy-awesome hairdo and singular earring.

Malta – colour-coordination was taken to new extremes by the Young Talent Team.

Croatia – speaking of colour-coordination…I’m guessing there was a massive sale on bright pink corduroy in Croatia circa November 2004.

Poland – as the singlet-over-sleeved-top combo goes, this wasn’t a bad effort. 

Romania – pay attention, Blue: this is how you do a shiny suit.


My bottom 5…


Netherlands – it ain’t all bad. In fact, none of the following are, but I had to come up with something. This one’s pretty cheesy, and the whistle-blowing irritates me.  

Belarus – a little all-over-the-place.

Norway – middling 80s-inspired soft rock just doesn’t do it for me.

Cyprus – this reminds me of Israel’s ESC entry in 2003, which is only a guilty pleasure.

Greece – more middling 80s-inspired soft-rock. Not bad, not good.


I don’t think any of the 18 acts were vocally heinous enough to name and shame – not even one certain blonde in a blue suit whose voice may or may not have broken live onstage a la Dorijan Dlaka. It’s not like they could avoid it.


L-R: Free Spirits, 1/3 of Secret Band, Martina, and Marios

Belgium – unkempt is the word I’d use to describe Free Spirits. A haircut and a quick iron before the show wouldn’t have gone astray.

Greece – again, these outfits were just too casual for such a big event.

Macedonia – there’s something old lady-ish about this costume on Martina that freaks me out.

Cyprus – Did Marios have permission to borrow John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever suit?


Were you watching when JESC arrived in Norway? What were your favourite (or least favourite) moments?


4 Responses to “Counting down to JESC: Lillehammer 2004”

  1. Annika

    Hi again Jaz!
    I loved JESC 2004! I don’t really know why. When I look back at it I don’t see what was so amazing but back then I absolutely loved it. Must have something to do with the variety of countries. And I remember I loved Maria Isabel back then to the point that I bought all of his cds and I still listen to some of her songs…but nowadays I find “antes muerta que sencilla” absolutely cringeworthy, especially lyrics-wise. Well, I never liked the lyrics, but back then I didn’t seem to mind them that much.
    My top 5 songs were: 1. Croatia: yeah I agree with everything you said about it. 2. FYR Macedonia: this comes off as super kiddy nowadays, but back then it was fun and catchy, and as I told you a couple of posts ago, this song makes me happy. 3. Spain: as I said, back then I didn’t mind the lyrics too much and I ended up being a hard-die Maria Isabel fan xD 4. Sweden: for no particular reason, I just love the song. 5: Back then I’m pretty sure it was Cyprus (I get the similarity with Israel 2003, but to me he was more like a mini Sakis…and I had this giant crush on Sakis back then xD). Nowadays I’d pick UK.
    Contrary to you I wasn’t a big fan of the Danish entry, and I actually liked the Dutch entry xD But I totally see why you wouldn’t like it, especially since you said you didn’t like the honeypies.
    And finally I’m afraid I agree with Dara on the Romanian entry. I found it boring and pretentious.
    Can’t wait for 2005!! (I almost wrote 2055 xD)


    • Jaz

      Looking back I think it was quite a good year, but then I’ve been thinking that about all of them so far. I think I am becoming more easily pleased in my old age.
      I do like ‘Zabava’, it’s just her costume that freaks me out! But I remember you liking it as a party song.
      Sweden ’04 was the start of my love affair with them in JESC (although the love disappeared for 2005 as you will see). Great song.
      So Sakis ‘shake it’ Rouvas was an object of your affection! Was it his crop top or his back handspring that got you?? XD
      Fair enough on Romania. It’s right up my street but at the same time I can see why it wouldn’t be liked. Still, the voters seemed to like it…

      If you’re waiting for 2055 you’ll be waiting a while, just to warn you!


    • Jaz

      Ah well, each to their own. I have been known to appreciate hideousness from time to time…



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