One post. Two topics. No time for a rambling intro!
When: 3rd December 2011
Where: Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex, Yerevan, Armenia
Motto: ‘Reach for the top!’
Hosts: Gohar Gasparyan & Avet Barseghyan
Returnees: 1 – Bulgaria
Withdrawals: 2 – Malta and Serbia
Interval acts: Vladimir Arzumanyan with Mama, Sirusho with Qele Qele and Molly Sandén with Spread A Little Light
First place: Georgia
Last place: Latvia
Most douze points: 3 – Georgia and Belarus
Russia/ Romeo and Juliet by Katya Ryabova
Latvia/ Mēness Suns by Amanda Bašmakova
Moldova/ No No by Lerika
Armenia/ Welcome to Armenia by Dalita
Bulgaria/ Supergeroy by Ivan Ivanov
Lithuania/ Debesys by Paulina Skrabytė
Ukraine/ Evropa by Kristall
Macedonia/ Zhimi Ovoj Frak by Dorijan Dlaka
Netherlands/ Teenager by Rachel
Belarus/ Angely Dobra by Lidiya Zablotskaya
Sweden/ Faller by Erik Rapp
Georgia/ Candy Music by Candy
Belgium/ Een Kusje Meer by Femke
- 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
My top 5…
Netherlands – I really wish this had won. I certainly thought it was going to right up until the last of the points came in and I realised it wasn’t possible, at which point I started punching the wall and screaming ‘why, God, WHY?!?’ like any sensible person would.
Russia – I was never that sold on Malenkiy Prints, but Ekaterina-turned-Katya suited me better. This song is so damn catchy from start to finish, and fortunately does not end with a re-enactment of what happened to the “real” Romeo and Juliet.
Bulgaria – underrated, that’s all I can say…apart from a few more things. I love the electronic, Lady Gaga vibe of this one, and I think it was really well performed by Ivan, who looking back was the Anastasiya Petryk of 2011 (the teeny, intense-looking child who can belt out a song with the best of them).
Sweden – ever since the Year of Molly Sandén I have loved Sweden in JESC, and that didn’t change last year when they decided to shake things up by sending a boy (gasp!). Faller is danceable without being in-your-face, and I think it was mature enough to pass in the adult contest.
Latvia – I did not like this initially, thinking it sounded like a suicidal Christmas carol. It still reminds me of Christmas, but I no longer feel like crying when I hear it. It’s quite haunting at the beginning, and I may have gotten goosebumps once or twice as a result.
Georgia – sure, all the Candy girls sound good, but I’m sure you’ll know which one I’m referring to when I say WOW. I’m pretty sure her Christina Aguilera impression sealed Georgia’s victory (and pushed Rachel into second place *shakes fist threateningly*).
Moldova – it’s no wonder Lerika was recruited to sing again this year with a voice like that at her disposal. She sounds a lot better when she’s not singing in English, but even in Pig Latin she’d sound great.
Belarus – I really hope to see Lidiya trying out for the ESC in the future. She knew what she was doing with her voice, and with a song that strikes me as being hard to sing (it’s definitely been hard when I’ve tried it in the shower).
Bulgaria – as I said, his vocal is surprisingly powerful for someone of his age/size.
Sweden – unlike Dorijan Dlaka, it seems Erik’s voice had broken prior to his arriving in Yerevan. It’s a voice well suited to his teen idol, check-out-all-my-fangirls looks.
Georgia – anything would have been better than the gold lamé and afro wigs Candy were sporting in the rehearsals, but they did take a big sugar-coated step up with their pink-and-white confections. I MUST have an outfit like this before I die.
Armenia – everything about this entry made Scooch look just as cheap and tacky as they were, including the awesome hostess and pilot costumes. Great use of colour and asymmetry.
Ukraine – I’m kind of obsessed with flags, so Kristall making me realise that you can wear them and still look relatively normal was an epic moment. Plus, her backing group’s tracksuits were so cool! Again, I want.
Belgium – cute overload. Red and white, polka dots, skater skirts and matching bangs…it doesn’t get much more adorable than that. I like how they made Femke stand out as the lead and match at the same time.
Netherlands – I am 110% sure there is a Dutch factory that exists only to mass-produce amazing jackets for their JESC contestants.
My bottom 5…
Macedonia – I actually don’t mind this, Macedonia being one of my favourite JESC countries (as you’d know if you read my recent list, hint hint). But there is a sleazy quality to it that seems inappropriate for a competition between 10-15 year olds.
Lithuania – again, I do like this and I loved it at the time…but a year later I am bored of it. Once something loses its magic it’s hard to get it back.
Ukraine – before I heard her perform live, I thought Kristall had a good chance of propelling Ukraine to the top of the scoreboard. And really, if you watch her performance back with the mute button on you can still see why. Un-mute, and it all becomes clear.
Armenia – Dalita pulled off a much better vocal on the night than she did at the Armenian final, but it was touch-and-go all the way.
Lithuania – I think Paulina has the potential to be a great singer when she and her voice have matured more.
Macedonia – ah, the notorious voice-breaking incident of 2011. I know it wasn’t Dorijan’s fault (and under the circumstances he did well) but his is an uncomfortable few minutes to listen to.
Latvia – Amanda did look pretty, but the dress was miles too big for her. Also, I was expecting her to wear a dog suit in lieu of the fact that real animals are not allowed on stage, so to see her in this was so disappointing.
Amsterdam 2012: My predictions
I’m sorry to tack this on to the end of a random post, but there has been so much Junior material to cover the past month and only…well, a month, to do it in. With only twelve countries competing, there are only so many predictions one can make anyway. Here are a few of mine.
Who will win?
If you put a party popper to my head and demanded that I name the most likely winners, these are the countries I’d pick: Georgia, Israel and Russia.
As usual, Georgia has come to Junior armed with a unique and catchy number to be performed by charismatic kids with great voices, and probably great outfits. Add that to their previous two wins and good performance position, and we could be looking at a repeat of last year – i.e. the song that everyone thinks will win is pipped by polished Georgia, Masters of JESC. Don’t count it out.
I’d love debutants Israel to win, but if the music does win it all then anyone could win (yes, I do classify Albania’s song as ‘music’). Like Georgia, they’ve sent a group of very talented singers along to represent them, and if the voters respond as I suspect the juries would have, it could well pay off. LTMW is high-energy and infectious, and the multilingual lyrics work well.
Last but not least, it’s the favourite – Russia/Moldova’s Lerika. This girl knows what she’s doing on stage, yellow moped or no yellow moped, and despite her early slot, she’s sure to leave an impression. Her song is very current and only needs one listen to be remembered, unlike quite a few others. She wants the win, and she has a high chance of getting it.
Who will lose?
This time last year, I said ‘it’s GOT to be Latvia or Macedonia’, and I was right (for what felt like the first time ever) and now I’m saying it’s GOT to be Albania. I don’t want Igzidora to fail, but the fact is somebody will be at the bottom when the night is over…and for me, it’ll be her. Challengers should come in the form of Belarus and Armenia.
What will the scoreboard look like?
- Georgia – I feel like I should put Russia here, but my instincts are telling me not to. Feel free to laugh if I turn out to be spectacularly wrong.
- Israel – 3rd would be more than respectable for a first shot.
- Netherlands – home country advantage and performing 12th of 12 should bump Femke up.
- Ukraine – she’s nothing if not memorable.
- Armenia – unique enough to miss out on last, IMO.
The underrated act that will surprise us all
I do think Albania’s performance could be a lot better than those of us who dislike the entry are expecting. Sweden, in all its humble beauty, could provide us with a real moment and Ukraine’s Li’l Demon Child may pull an Alyosha and make the intensity appealing.
The hyped-up act who will fail to succeed
Azerbaijan may be riding on their Eurovision success (after success, after success) coming into JESC for the first time, but I don’t think they have what it takes to win this time.
The vocalist/s who will blow us away
We already know Lerika is an über-singer, so she won’t shock us with her talent. JESC newbies Funkids, Kids.il, Anastasiya Petryk and Egor Zheshko are likely to put in the most impressive vocals.
The act likely to have the best costume/s
Georgia, as always, Russia, the Netherlands and Moldova should be looking stylish. I may be basing that partly on the dress rehearsal photos I accidentally saw yesterday (that dress from Albania…yowser!).
The act most improved from NF to now
Albania, in look and sound. It won’t be enough to save her from tailing the group, but it will be commendable.
Well, Junior Eurovision 2012 is less than twelve hours away, so I’ll leave you to organise yourselves. If you’re lucky enough to live in a country that is broadcasting the show on TV at a reasonable hour, I hate you and please don’t ever speak to me again. Just kidding (but I am jealous). If you’re watching online like me, I hope you enjoy the show and that your stream runs smoothly. It would be awful listening to Lerika belt out ‘sensa-a-a-a-tsi-i-i-ya-a’. And don’t even get me started on ‘tik-tik, ta-a-ak, tik taktaktaktaktak…’
What did you think of last year’s show in Yerevan? How do your predictions for Amsterdam stack up against mine?