Junior Eurovision 2012: The Reviews (Part 1)

Nine days. Twelve songs. One winner.

And apparently one opening line that sounds like an introductory voiceover for The X Factor. I’m sorry about that. Sometimes it’s hard to think of what to say at the start of a post, and when that happens you’ve pretty much got to launch straight into it. So here goes – this is the first half of my 2012 JESC reviews, featuring Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium and Georgia. Read, enjoy and comment! Please?

 

ALBANIA

Igzidora Gjeta | Kam Një Këngë Vetëm Për Ju

Sounds like: Greece’s disaster of JESC 2007. Just a teensy bit.

The good: Well, it’s definitely a plus to have Albania in Junior for the first time. If it wasn’t for them the line-up could have been even more pathetic than it is now (don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful the contest is even happening. But we are talking about the smallest field EVER here). Igzidora has the most interesting name of 2012, and I am a fan of the crimped hairdo she rocked at the national final.

Everything else: The reason I didn’t say anything about her song just then was because I think it’s a shocker. It’s dated, it doesn’t have any particular hook to latch on to, and it basically just plods along for two-and-a-half minutes, ending right where it began. Her singing voice is less than impressive – in fact, it’s more of a screech. That (combined with the dodgy song) makes for a noisy entry in no danger of beating the odds to succeed, a la Rona Nishliu’s Suus. I’m not Satan reincarnate so I do feel mean being mean to this poor girl, but honesty is the best policy. And hey, maybe in the arena, with a fancy costume and nifty light show, she’ll make it work? Just maybe…  

The verdict: A letdown. It’s 2 points from me.  

How it will do: 11th-12th

 

ARMENIA

Compass Band | Sweetie Baby

Sounds like: Lost and Forgotten by Peter Nalitch & Friends

The good: Hello, and welcome to The Ubiquitous Entry That I Really Like But Nobody Else Does. Actually I have noticed some more love emerging for this diamond in the rough recently, which is good because I think it’s great! It’s not a typical JESC song – there’s a bit of darkness, a bit of grunge there – which works in its favour. It’s down-tempo but catchy, and the Compass Band perform it very well live. I also think the Armenian and English parts go nicely together. 

Everything else: Okay, so the ‘baby, sweetie baby’ refrain is a bit nauseating, and as for ‘give me smile’…well, I don’t even know how to react to that. But I’m not too fussed about those things. I don’t expect Armenia to score well this year, but you never know what might happen when a ton of kids get access to mobile phones. I do expect the boys to iron their shirts before the show, something they didn’t do before the NF if the grainy video is any indication.

The verdict: 10 points for originality and my (slightly) guilty pleasure.

How it will do: 9th-11th  

 

AZERBAIJAN

Omar & Suada | Girls and Boys

Sounds like: Azerbaijan picked something good without even trying

The good: This year’s ESC host country was the second debutant to save JESC from total embarrassment, and for that I thank them. The prospect of having Azerbaijan in Junior was exciting for one main reason: because of the rules, we’d get to hear Azeri in a Eurovision entry for the first time. Girls and Boys was originally released entirely in English, but now the bilingual version has come out, I’m liking this entry more and more (or as the Belarussian contestant would say, a more-more). It’s current and accessible, with the Azeri giving it a decent ethnic touch and the English parts making it a good sing-along song.

Everything else: Concern #1 – this is repetitive, repetitive, repetitive. Not to quite the same extent as Russia, but repetitive nonetheless. Concern #2 – I haven’t heard Omar & Suada perform live, so whether they can sing or not is unknown…and that scares me. Concern #3 – I don’t think this deserves to win, but because it’s a decent pop song from Azerbaijan it just might.

The verdict: Not absolutely brilliant, but I like. 8 points.

How it will do: 4th-6th

 

BELARUS

Egor Zheshko | A More-More

Sounds like: Sasha & Liza after too much red cordial

The good: If nothing else, this song will win the award for ‘Most Choruses Crammed Into A Single Entry’. And doesn’t Egor sing those choruses like a champ? His voice is pretty amazing, so on that note (pun intended) we’ll be starting the show on a high. A More-More is a jazz number that we’ve been hearing less manic versions of for years at JESC, and whilst it’s not my favourite of the genre, it has its merits. It’s even easier to sing along to than Girls and Boys since the chorus is made up of about five words, and it does get stuck in your head which could bode well for vote-getting.

Everything else: Jazz is very rarely a douze-pointer in my eyes, and there’s no denying this is lacking what would push it into winning contention. It’s a step down from their last entry. There are also moments in Egor’s live performance when he seems to lag behind the track, then has to speed up his already rapid mor-ays to get back in time, which is a bit uncomfortable to hear. Hopefully he gets his timing right on the night.

The verdict: A closer-to-5-than-7 6 points.

How it will do: 9th-11th

 

BELGIUM

Fabian | Abracadabra

Sounds like: a slower, less screamy version of Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

The good: How do I love thee, Belgium? Let me count the ways. Where JESC is concerned there are about 1094637299 ways, because I always, always love what they send, and you can judge me for that however you like. Fabian’s song is a cruisy, pop-rock ballad that I can only assume is about magical young love since I haven’t had a chance to check out the English translation yet. It’s not a super exciting entry, that’s for sure, but sandwiched between high-energy Azerbaijan and even higher-energy Russia, it should make for a nice interlude.

Everything else: Fabian is trés adorable, but I have doubts about his live abilities. The NF performance I saw wasn’t bad, but his voice certainly isn’t in the league of say, Lerika’s – and she’s on straight after him. I just hope he pulls off a good vocal and doesn’t get completely obliterated by her performance, which will inevitably be louder and flashier. I also hope there’ll be something going on to up the interest – a few dancers maybe, or a sword-swallowing acrobat with a flamethrower. Something simple.

The verdict: An unashamed 10 points.

How it will do: 5th-8th

 

GEORGIA

Funkids | Funky Lemonade

Sounds like: it could be the new Sesame Street theme song

The good: This song is all over the place, but I have to say, I think Georgia may have done it again. Having won twice and placed well on every other occasion, they’ve proven they’ve got the knack when it comes to Junior. This song is a bit strange (in a mostly good way) and incredibly infectious, and it’s likely to have a show-stopping performance. The audience in HMH is going to love it.

Everything else: I am a little worried that these kids are out there tearing up the Georgian highways when they aren’t even old enough to have a part-time job. What was that? That was a fantasy created for the music video? Well, never mind then. I am genuinely worried that they could be the first Georgian contestants in Eurovision history that can’t sing live, but the odds of that are low. I swear there is something in the water over there. The boy’s part in this does annoy me, so maybe someone could switch off his mike on the night.

The verdict: 8 points

How it will do: 1st-3rd

 

That’s it for Part 1, and at this point it’s Armenia and Belgium topping my rankings. No douze points have been handed out yet, so will another country knock Compass Band and Fabian off their perch? You’ll have to wait and see. Israel, Moldova, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine – you’ll get your turn soon enough…

I hope you liked all of the above. Let me know which of the six is you’re loving and hating!

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 26, and I'm 110% Eurovision-OBSESSED. The contest is one big party, and I like to keep it going 365 days a year - that's why I write about anything and everything ESC on my blog. Come join the fun, and I promise you'll never have a nul-point experience! www.eurovisionbyjaz.com/

Posted on November 22, 2012, in Junior Eurovision, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Yay!! I love reviews! Here it goes.

    Albania: 100 percent agreement. What makes this doubly depressing is that Albania tend to send really interesting entries in the big show, so this, quite frankly, boring song is upsetting. Nothing more to say.

    Armenia: At first, I called this an “awful disgrace to the world.” In retrospect, that’s a little harsh, but I still don’t like this song. It’s just so bleh, for lack of a better adjective. And I really like “Lost and Forgotten.” I would prefer to forget about the relationship you made between the two songs.

    Azerbaijan: Again, I disagree. My big problem with this is that the English is bad and it just sounds juvenile (ironic, huh?). I mean, the kids from 2003-07 could write better stuff than this, and, seeing as it’s Azerbaijan, it’s probably Swedish, which really shocks me. Anyway, hope they do well.

    Belarus: Not terrible, but it’s not a huge improvement over the past three songs. After slow jazz in the big show from Italy 2011, it’s nice to have something really uptempo. But, it is pretty darn repetitive. I kind of like.

    Belgium: I’m so sorry Jaz! I know that you love this song, but it just gets under my skin like a tiny splinter. The chorus is okay but I can’t stand the verses, especially that little embellishment instrument in the background. Ughhh.

    Georgia: By far the best of this lot. It’s total fun and candy goodness that doesn’t give the impression of diabetes, which is what I got from their most recent winner. The hook is great and it’s totally singable. Love.

    For this lot, my ranking is…

    1) Georgia
    2) Belarus
    3) Belgium
    4) Armenia
    5) Azerbaijan
    6) Albania

    The next six songs are just in a whole different league, except maybe for one (try and guess which one), but they’re all better than these except for Georgia, for the most part.

    Also, aside from the sad news about Poland and Portugal (no more Ps in Eurovision!), Soluna Samay made me all the more thankful with her new single called “Humble.” I’m so sorry, but after about 30 minutes, I can’t find a link, but it’s on Spotify, if it helps. I swear, I love “Should’ve Known Better,” but compared to her other stuff, it just doesn’t stand up, even though it’s amazing. Sorry to get off topic, but it had to be done. Really thankful and grateful for this blog. 🙂

    Like

    • Wouldn’t you know it, freaking Soluna posts a link I skipped over at least five times. Here’s the song, the last button on the page.

      http://www.dr.dk/p3/programmer/p3/2012/11/21/xander-og-soluna-samay-ugens-playliste-pa-p3-er-klar

      Like

    • I had high hopes for Albania (just like I felt sure Azerbaijan would send some good old effortless pop) but yeah…they were dashed. Even a mini Rona would have been better.

      You don’t have to be sorry for your opinion!! I honestly understand why people wouldn’t like Belgium, but that doesn’t stop me from being a fan. We’ll see what the majority is thinking next weekend I suppose. Even though I love it I suspect it will end up mid-table.

      Georgia just have ‘it’ when it comes to JESC, don’t they?? Even the entries a lot of us don’t like do well (coughbzzcough). Apart from the boy’s solo, FL is a cracking song. It could do really well…but I’d prefer someone else to win for a change.

      I actually can’t pick which of the other six you’re not into. Moldova or Ukraine maybe??

      It sucks about the Ps. I really thought Poland would come back =”[

      Really thankful and grateful for such a comment!!

      Like

      • Ah yes, one of the many problems with that entry. Well, I hope she doesn’t tank completely. No one really deserves that, even if they’re on a similar level to Greece ’07.

        That’s how I felt during the big show while supporting Finland. I knew that a lot of people found it boring, but I loved it. Actually, it’s the same with Sweden right now. As for a prediction on Belgium, well, I guess that with only twelve songs, I couldn’t do worse than I did with the big show. I’d say probably 6th or 7th.

        Yes they do. Now if only they could bring some of “it” to the big show, I’d be happy. I don’t want it to win (I think that there are quite a few better songs), but it should do well.

        Hmm, should I kill the suspense or make you wait?? I know, you’ll get two hints. Here’s the first: the two songs you mentioned are at the bottom of the next lot, but that doesn’t mean their next to each other in my table. The second is: the eagle flies beneath the sky. Enjoy my (silly) puzzle!

        I know! Now I have to redo my theme design… stupid Poland. And I’ll miss Portugal. I liked their fado song, even if it was a tad boring. But, I read on esctoday that Croatia’s looking to send a song that’s like a Croatian twist on fado, so there’s that to look forward to, if fado is one’s thing.

        Like

        • I don’t want her to tank either! She’s just a child! But someone has to come last and I expect it’ll be her.

          Can I just say, HALLELUJAH! Someone else who was a fan of Finland in Baku. Such a beautiful song (take that, Anmary!) even if we all knew it wouldn’t qualify.

          Okay, I think I know which song you’re not fond of now. But I won’t say on the off chance I’m wrong and end up looking stupid =P

          I’m looking forward to what Croatia will dish up for 2013.

          Like

      • Finland was epic! They’re number two on my list, just behind the Netherlands. Pernilla Karlsson rocks!

        If you guessed Moldova, there’s no need to be embarrassed. You’d be right.

        Super excited about Croatia. Really eager to hear at least a demo. I wonder if any other countries will follow suit?

        On a completely unrelated note, I finally got around to listening to “Prati mi SMS” after you wrote about it. I have to say that Macedonia was ROBBED! What a killer song!

        Like

  2. Hi Jazz, I mean Jaz, this is a short comment now that I’ve finished some of my uni work and took a break of 3 hours or so.

    I agree with most of what you said except Armenia, which I still consider the worst jesc song ever. And Belgium, which has grown on me a bit recently, but still bores me.
    I think albania improved a bit. It’s still awful, just less awful.
    I heard Azerbaijan live yesterday and it sounded chaotic. Then again, it was the opening party and no one was particularly amazing. Well, Georgia was pretty good actually. I was surprised. Guess we’ll see with the rehearsals. Talking about easy karaoke fo Belarus’,Femke recorded her own version of a-more http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTc0yJQvdJM and I like it so much better than the original xD Sorry fi what I write makes no sense, I’m so tired!

    PS: how do you guys use that gravatar thing? Oh and I like Soluna’s new song 😀

    Like

    • I can’t believe you think ‘Sweetie Baby’ is the worst JESC song ever!! Worse than Greece 07?? Worse than Albania this year?? *shocked face*

      So Omar and Suada aren’t too reliable with their vocals. Hmm. TBH, I don’t really care how well Azerbaijan does because it would be good for them to not make the top 5 for once (the JESC equivalent of the top 10). To show them that they aren’t untouchable…if that’s actually true. Maybe they just can’t do badly.

      I heard Kids.il doing an a cappella version of LTMW which sounded reaaallly good, so I’m exicted for them. I’d love Israel to win on their first go.

      I’m beginning to think you get deported from Georgia if you can’t sing. They have never sucked in any Eurovision event. Diana Gurtskaya came pretty close, but it might have been her voice I didn’t like. She was in tune.

      I don’t know how Femke managed to learn the words to do that version! They are so complex. She’s adorable.

      Re: the gravatars…um, I think you can do it through gravatar.com. It just kind of happened when I started using WordPress, so I can’t remember.

      Like

    • So sorry to interject, but I must say “Yay!” to Soluna! Also, if you’re curious about gravatar, here’s the website where you can register, I think… http://en.gravatar.com/

      Like

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