Yeah, that’s right – I said the J word again. It’s only been a few weeks since we left Junior Eurovision behind for another year (and I swore to myself that I wouldn’t write about it again for ages because it seems you can get too much of a good thing) but the fact is that up until December 1st, doing a top 10 of Junior winners was impossible. Thanks to Anastasiya ‘Demon Child’ Petryk, it’s now totally possible, and in case you hadn’t guessed, I’m doing it today. Think of this list as:
a) my belated and frankly rather disappointing celebration of JESC’s 10th birthday (double digits, woohoo!)
b) me handing out ESC-style points to the winners of 2003-2012 as if they were all in competition with each other in some sort of super mega JESC that would ultimately end up turning nine of them into losers. Fun, huh?
Douze points: Ti Si Moja Prva Ljubav by Dino Jelusić (2003)
This wasn’t the first Junior winner I ever heard, but it is my favourite. Obviously. I can never get my head around the fact that an eleven-year old wrote it, mainly because when I was eleven I wrote “songs” too, and they turned out to be absolutely terrible (hence the inverted commas). Dino, on the other hand, had the knack. Ti Si is irresistible, upbeat pop-rock that made me want to learn Croatian so I’d know what I was singing along with (before I could have just Googled it). Hvala, Mr. Jelusić.
10 points: Antes Muerta Que Sencilla by Marìa Isabel (2004)
Is this not the ultimate JESC bum-shaker? AKA what Allez Ola Olé by Jessy Matador is to adult Eurovision? Methinks it is. Once again the songwriting prowess of a small child both impressed me and made me feel inadequate. I also felt, and still feel, that this song could do brilliantly in the ESC with a few minor adjustments.
8 points: Mama by Vladimir Arzumanyan (2010)
I don’t want to pick sides (or fuel an already-flaming fire) but Armenia’s winning Junior song is infinitely better than Azerbaijan’s winning adult song. Vlad was yet another pre-teen who wrote and composed his entry himself, totally nailing mass-appeal ethno-pop in the process. And he could sing circles around Nikki.
7 points: Click Clack by Ralf (2009)
The Netherlands love their retro pop, and in Kyiv, so did everyone else. This song has something extra that sets it apart from the similar entries that came before and after it, and I never get tired of it. You can’t tell me you’re immune to the charm of those ‘woah-oh woah-oh’s’, can you?
6 points: Nebo by Anastasiya Petryk (2012)
The most recent, most mature and least happy-clappy winning song sits at the halfway mark in my ranking. I was a fan of this from the moment it won the Ukrainian final, but I never in a million years thought it would win anything else. As we know (this being a list of winners and all) it did, and not by the narrow margin we see a lot in mini Eurovision. I like the message behind it, which is along the lines of ‘do good and not evil, or else I will strangle you with my flowing locks.’
5 points: Candy Music by CANDY (2011)
This was another winner that blindsided me, and when it did I was livid because I loved the Netherlands so much and was 99.99% sure they would win. I’m not so livid a year later, because the song has really grown on me. Georgia has a way with Junior Eurovision, always bringing unique and very catchy stuff to the table. Candy Music is well and truly (if still a little begrudgingly) included.
4 points: S Druz’yami by Alexey Zhigalkovich (2007)
This shouldn’t feel like a guilty pleasure, since it out-scored everything else in Rotterdam, but somehow it does. And 1980s-esque soft-rock performed by kids in glorified tracksuits should so not be my thing, but because this is a bit of an ear worm and it has the Eurovision tag attached to it, apparently it is.
3 points: My Vmeste by Ksenia Sitnik (2005)
This one has un-grown on me over time, meaning I’m not as in love with it as I was say, five years ago. It’s one of the more childish winners from a competition for under 15s, and the squeakiness of her voice back then really grates on me now. It’s still a decent song though, always reminding me of summer holidays for some reason – probably not because of Ksenia’s tutu and legwarmers (I don’t know about you, but I tend to steer away from wearing those on vacation.)
2 points: Vesinniy Jazz by the Tolmachevy Twins (2006)
Here’s another one that I have gotten a little bored of since it won. Since 2006 was the first JESC I watched I’ll always think fondly of the twins, and I do think their few minutes of jazz is one of the better examples from contest history. But there comes a time when the throaty ‘wap bap do-ahhh!’ bits lose effect (still, these guys and Anastasiya Petryk should battle to see who can most accurately mimic the sound of a chainsaw).
1 point: Bzz… by Bzikebi (2008)
On the contrary, I like this more now than I did at the time. But that doesn’t mean I will be referring to it as a ‘song’ anytime soon. Macedonia was my hands-down favourite in 2008 and I’m sure some of you will agree they had the goods to win, so when it came in 5th – well behind two-and-a-half minutes of buzzing – I was slightly enraged. That aside, I still can’t warm up to Bzz… completely. But I have to commend Georgia again for sending entries to Junior that can do no wrong.
How would you rank the ten winners of the Junior ESC?
NEXT TIME: A very merry Eurovision playlist, and the first impressions of Albania, Lithuania and Ukraine’s entries for 2013!