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).
When: 20th November, 2004
Where: Håkons Hall, Lillehammer, Norway
Theme: ‘Bright Nordic Winter Nights’
Hosts: Nadia Hasnaoui & Stian Barsnes Simonsen
Debutants: 2 – France, Switzerland
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
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
- Spain – 183
- United Kingdom – 152
- Croatia – 138
- Romania – 135
- Denmark – 128
- France – 90
- Macedonia – 76
- Cyprus – 73
- Greece – 60
- Belgium – 49
- Netherlands – 39
- Malta – 26
- Norway – 24
- Belarus – 21
- Sweden – 20
- Switzerland – 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.
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.
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?