Malta fulfill their Destiny: Looking over the performances (and the leaderboard) of JESC 2015

Since Junior Eurovision 2015 came to a conclusion on Saturday night, I’m sure you’re already aware that we have our winner. Even if you’re repulsed by the mere mention of mini-Eurovij, you’d have heard that Malta’s Destiny Chukunyere destroyed her competition and clinched the tiny island’s second victory in three years with the party-starting Not My Soul. The thirteen-year-old triumphed over Armenia’s Mika by nine points – quite a massive margin by JESC standards – and in the process, nabbed the record for the highest-ever score in the contest. Mika has a record of his own to take home, too, scoring the highest amount of points for a non-winner in Junior history.

Although I did call Malta to win, it wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for (and even though Armenia wasn’t my ideal winner, I would have preferred them to take it out instead). But you can’t help being happy for a country that is fast becoming to JESC what Sweden is to ESC – i.e. a superpower. Plus, there’s no denying that Destiny is an incredible talent, and it’s likely we’ll see her pop up in Malta’s NF MESC the split second she’s sixteen. She’ll be shattering windows and Ming vases simultaneously with her voice by then, so there’s something to look forward to (unless you’re the owner of said windows/vases).

Malta15

I’ll get back to the results later on in this post. Right now, I’m going to answer the question nobody asked: what did I think of Bulgaria’s first-ever Eurovision event?

Well, there’s not much I could complain about. The stage was super-cool, and like last year’s, could easily accommodate the adult contest. Hostess Poli was confident and competent, and sported a hairstyle that only she – and maybe Gwen Stefani – could rock. The postcards showed off Bulgaria’s beauty to the fullest, and featured the contestants for the first time since 2013 (I was hoping that’d make a comeback). And the interval acts were actually reasonably entertaining (meaning I didn’t traipse outside to watch my lawn grow while waiting for the show to go on). Sweeping a bit of shoddy camera-work aside, I’d say that the exercise was a big success for Bulgaria – and hopefully a good practice run for hosting Eurovision sometime while I’m still around to see it (though as countries like Portugal have competed for 40+ years and never won, I won’t hold my breath…and as some countries continue to nail JESC and fail ESC, I ALSO won’t hold my breath. Basically, no breath of mine will be held over this).

Now, the biggest drawcard of any Eurovision event is the performances of the participants, right? *assumes you all agreed enthusiastically*. So let’s have a look back at the seventeen acts that battled it out for a place on the figurative podium (there should be an actual podium, I reckon), to see who shone, who needed more polishing, and who…well, the terminology I was going to use would be too cruel for children.

 

From Serbia to Montenegro and everyone in-between, here are my thoughts on the competing seventeen!

These are all my own opinions, of course, and you are free to agree or disagree in the comments. Let’s get cracking so you know just what you’re agreeing/disagreeing with!

Serbia A very red, and violent – what with all those arm movements (no wonder there were no backing dancers…at least one of them would have ended up with a black eye) – performance from Lena opened the show. She had amazing intensity for someone who ordinarily, I’d want to pinch the cheeks of because they’re SO CUTE, and vocally, she was almost entirely on point – that shaky final note the exception. Much ljubav for the lyrically-aligned hand tatts!

Vocals 9/10 Staging 8/10 Costumes 9/10 Overall 8.5/10

 

Georgia Speaking of intensity, The Virus’ front man Data was frighteningly intense during Georgia’s performance. The group’s choreography and vocals weren’t as slick as what we’re used to from Georgia, and I felt like a bit of energy was missing. The girls’ costumes were great though. I love me some houndstooth, and I suppose it’s more sophisticated than the pajamas and towel turbans I was expecting/hoping for.

Vocals 7/10 Staging 6/10 Costumes 8.5/10 Overall 7/10

 

Slovenia I could listen to Lina sing all day long, so I was really looking forward to song number three. Vocally, she did not disappoint – the clarity of her voice was unreal. Her cutesey dress and sparkly sneakers also got my tick of approval, but I wasn’t 100% sold on the Frozen-esque visuals Slovenia opted for. I feel like a cool lighting scheme (a spotlight and some of Serbia’s redness, perhaps) would have been more suitable.

Vocals 10/10 Staging 8/10 Costumes 9/10 Overall 9/10

 

Italy The reigning champions (in case the overwhelming Bulgarian-ness made you forget that Italy won last year) put on a pretty good show, better than I thought they would. It was fun and competent, though lacked a little charisma. I loved the graffiti-type backdrop, which made the somewhat dated Viva feel fresher. You could say it brought the song back to viva. Or you could not be annoying like I am, and leave puns out of it.

Vocals 8.5/10 Staging 8/10 Costumes 7/10 Overall 8/10

 

The Netherlands Shalisa is so gorgeous, and would have lit up the camera even without her shiny jacket on and those candles burning. I love Million Lights, but it’s not particularly cohesive, and neither were the accompanying dancers – I didn’t really get how some of their moves related to the song. ‘Disjointed’ is how I’d describe the sound and staging, as much as I want to say otherwise.

Vocals 8.5/10 Staging 6/10 Costumes 8/10 Overall 7/10

 

Australia My eyes were moist during Bella’s turn, so I hate to imagine what state her mother was in. Another Australian debut was always going to be a big moment for me, and I applaud our well-choreographed and attractively metallic stage show. Bella’s Christina Aguilera impression was bang-on, too (#shegotthegrowl), and I adored her pants as much as I moon over Måns Zelmerlow’s leather pair…though for different reasons.

Vocals 9.5/10 Staging 9.5/10 Costumes 9.5/10 Overall 9.5/10

 

Ireland Following directly on from an excellent debut performance was another excellent debut performance – albeit one that lost its ability to spine-tingle thanks to some distracting graphics. That dodgy, badly-animated floating ship behind Aimee made me seasick. Dry ice was used to its maximum potential here, however, and it looked like Aimee was floating on the ocean herself. Fortunately it didn’t invade her lungs and ruin her vocals.

Vocals 9/10 Staging 6.5/10 Costumes 10/10 Overall 8/10

 

Russia Wow. Unexpected wow. This really impressed me! As much as I like Mechta, I was convinced Mikhail’s live rendition would be flat and boring (like it was at the Russian NF). But Russia seemed to have cut a mix of the song that had far greater impact in the arena. I loved the mood set by the moon prop and the dry ice (boy, that machine got a workout on Saturday), the dancer, the appropriately dreamy feel created by the blue and white colour scheme…it was all lovely. Well done, Russia.

Vocals 8.5/10 Staging 10/10 Costumes 9/10 Overall 9/10

 

FYR Macedonia Okay, bad bits: the vocals were in tune but a bit wobbly, and the costumes looked like they’d been fished out of a charity shop bargain bin after Britney Spears had dropped off a load of stuff circa 1999. The good bits? Well, Ivana and Magdalena avoided creating car-crash TV (that came later) and seemed to have fun on stage. Energetic choreography and good stage presence all round helped elevate this from amateur to enjoyable.

Vocals 7/10 Staging 8.5/10 Costumes 6/10 Overall 7/10

 

Belarus This was everything I was hoping it would be, Volshebstvo being my favourite entry of the year (in case you weren’t around when I mentioned that the other 500 times). Belarus used the backdrop to perfection, and Ruslan’s vocals were insanely good, as always. His camera and crowd engagement was top-notch until he finished off with that ultra cheesy wink (WHY, RUSLAN, WHY?). Pretending that never happened, I’d call this the total package.

Vocals 10/10 Staging 9.5/10 Costumes 10/10 Overall 9.5/10

 

Armenia Mika also had a (bright pink) package, signed, sealed and delivered to the door of victory…or something like that. Armenia’s stage show would have been drooled over by Georgia, who didn’t carry off the boy/girl/girl/girl dynamic half as well (plus, effortless, quirky fun used to be their forte). Mika is such a little star, and I think he’s going to have a bright future – perhaps as an Armenian representative in adult Eurovision one day (he said he’d be happy to do it when he answered my question during the winners’ press conference!).

Vocals 9.5/10 Staging 10/10 Costumes 10/10 Overall 9.5/10

 

Ukraine Waterfalls, sharks, forests, mechanical human-sized flowers…a list of what Ukraine didn’t incorporate into Anna’s stage show would be shorter than a list of what they did. This was OTT, even by Eurovision standards, with too many colours and too many vistas on the backdrop making things messy. Anna’s Pochny z Sebe is like a vanilla cupcake, not a ten-tiered marzipan-enrobed masterpiece fit for a royal wedding – it only needed minimal decoration.

Vocals 8.5/10 Staging 6/10 Costumes 7/10 Overall 7/10

 

Bulgaria Not bad, Bulgaria. There was possibly a bit too much going on here as well (rainbows! Ribbons! Unflattering cummerbunds!) but in comparison to Ukraine, Gabriela and Ivan’s performance was simplicity personified. Both kids’ vocals were strong individually, and together…well, it could have been much worse.

Vocals 9/10 Staging 7/10 Costumes 8.5/10 Overall 8.5/10

 

San Marino Epic staging and brilliant costumes couldn’t disguise the weaknesses in Kamilla’s voice, and she looked very uncomfortable on stage (whether that was due to nerves or her Aliona Moon-esque height off the ground, I don’t know). With a more competent vocalist, this could have been a contender for the top five.

Vocals 5/10 Staging 10/10 Costumes 10/10 Overall 7/10

 

Malta Destiny can sing – we all know that. She certainly didn’t emit a single off-key note on the night, and did her best to full up a big stage without the aid of backing singers, dancers, or trumpet players. Her personality and stage presence are larger than life, but I still wish she’d had some (or all) of the above with her. Company is what her performance was missing for me, because it certainly wasn’t missing soul (obvs, since THEY CAN NEVER TAKE AWAY HER SOUUUUUUL) or spark.

Vocals 10/10 Staging 7.5/10 Costumes 7/10 Overall 7.5/10

 

Albania Mishela is another soloist who could have used some backup to bring her song to life, but again, I really liked her performance anyway. Her voice is amazing, and so was that dress (though I know I’m in the minority, I wouldn’t give her a Junior Barbara Dex Award). If I could have given her some advice beforehand, I would have said ‘Smile! This is JESC, not a funeral’. It definitely wasn’t the death of Albania’s JESC journey, if her eventual result is anything to go by.

Vocals 10/10 Staging 7/10 Costumes 10/10 Overall 8.5/10

 

Montenegro Oh dear. What WASN’T wrong with this? Unsuitable colour scheme and costumes, half-hearted attempts to create a fun, tropical atmosphere on stage, and woeful vocals were all present and accounted for. Judging by the way Jana fiddled with her earpiece, then hissed at her backing dancers as soon as she struck her final pose, I’d say some technical problems may have been afoot. Hell hath no fury like a woman with a malfunctioning in-ear monitor.

Vocals 5/10 Staging 6/10 Costumes 5/10 Overall 5/10

 

That was the show from my point of view, and based on the marks I’ve awarded as if I’m a musical theatre teacher examining my protégées, here’s my ranking of the performances:

  1. Armenia
  2. Belarus
  3. Australia
  4. Slovenia
  5. Russia
  6. Albania
  7. Serbia
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Italy
  10. Ireland
  11. Malta
  12. FYR Macedonia
  13. San Marino
  14. Ukraine
  15. Georgia
  16. The Netherlands
  17. Montenegro

Hmm…that doesn’t quite match up with the actual results, does it?

 

Taking a look at the leaderboard

Speaking of which, here are the actual results, for anyone who needs a refresher (which I would totally understand given that I’m so late in posting this wrap-up…as usual):

  1. Malta (185)
  2. Armenia (176)
  3. Slovenia (112)
  4. Belarus (105)
  5. Albania (93)
  6. Russia (80)
  7. Serbia (79)
  8. Australia (64)
  9. Bulgaria (61)
  10. Georgia (51)
  11. Ukraine (38)
  12. Ireland (36)
  13. Montenegro (36)
  14. San Marino (36)
  15. The Netherlands (35)
  16. Italy (34)
  17. FYR Macedonia (26)

There’s only so much you can say without knowing the split results (even though they might not prove to be that interesting). I’ll save a more in-depth scoreboard analysis for when they’re released, but here’s a few observations for the meantime.

  • Malta’s win marks their third top five result in a row – not bad for a country that only squeezed in to that section of the scoreboard once during their first eight years of participation.
Malta-Champion-Destiny-Chukunyere-Credit-EBU-Elena-Volotova-Vladimir-Dudakliev-604x272

How could you NOT be happy for that face? (Photo: EBU, Elena Volotova/Vladimir Dudakliev)

  • Armenia’s second place takes their total of runner-up trophies to three. They have also won once and come third twice, and are yet to finish outside of the top ten.
  • Five countries achieved their best placements ever in 2015: Slovenia, Albania, Australia, Ireland and Montenegro. For Australia and Ireland, that was always going to be the case; but two-time competitor Slovenia reached the top three for the first time in any Eurovision event, and Albania equaled their best-ever ESC result from 2012. DambaYAY!
  • Italy, on the other hand, experienced a fall from grace that could only have been more unfortunate if they’d come last. From winning last year on their debut to just sidestepping last place, it’s hard to predict how they’ll fare if they decide to return in 2016.
  • Belarus added to their collection of commendable results with Ruslan’s fourth place. They have now won twice, come third twice, and appeared in the top five eight times out of thirteen participations. The same can’t be said about their record in the adult contest…
  • Bulgaria might have done better than many of us expected, but they actually performed pretty poorly for a host entry. The past five home representatives have finished 4th (Malta in Malta, 2014), 2nd (Ukraine in Kyiv, 2013), 7th (the Netherlands in Amsterdam, 2012), 5th (Armenia in Yerevan, 2011) and 5th again (Belarus in Minsk, 2010).
  • FYR Macedonia (a.k.a. the Norway of JESC) came last for the third time in Sofia. IMO, there was a different country starting with ‘M’ that should have taken out the wooden spoon this year.
  • If you’re wondering how my pre-show predictions panned out, then prepare to laugh at my ineptitude! Yes, I did peg Malta as a possible winner, but I only guessed three of the top five correctly – Malta, Armenia and Belarus – and unlike last year, only predicted one country in the exact right place (FYR Macedonia in 17th). I massively underestimated Albania (though can you blame me?) and massively OVERestimated Australia (I blame bias for that one). How did you do?

 

I’m going to take my leave now in order to wallow in the murky waves of PJED (Post-Junior Eurovision Depression) – although the prospect of the upcoming delayed Aussie broadcast of the show, complete with our own commentary team and whatnot, is easing the pain. I’ll be back with a fun-sized amount of further JESC coverage before looking ahead to Stockholm 2016 – a party that we’ve just discovered will be attended by a) Bosnia and Herzegovina (where did they end up getting funding from? I hope to hell it wasn’t Ralph Siegel) and b) Kaliopi, Miss Congeniality of the world. I will be there too, but how much ‘there’ might depend on tomorrow’s ticket sales working in my favour. Wish me luck as I attempt to snap up the same thing that everybody else wants!

 

Until next time,

 

2015sig

 

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 25, 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 25, 2015, in Junior Eurovision and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hey Jaz! Fellow Aussie here. I, too, hauled my butt out of bed for the live Junior Eurovision Song Contest festivities on SBS, albeit at the more kid-friendly time of 5:30am (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time would like to politely say to Perth JESC fans that they’ve been majorly sucked in). As a 12 year-old child who had never watched JESC without being spoiled early, I was filled with delirium for the live broadcast.

    Bulgaria and BNT were incredibly professional in their own right, and the camerawork was pretty accurate (although on my TV a few panning shots were blurry). Poli Genova of Bulgarian Eurovision alumni was a pretty rockstar hostess, although a bit disappointed when SBS went to ads during the ‘Where is my dress?’ segment in where she threw a hissy fit when her (one of many) dresses for the show went missing, and her staff had to parkour around Sofia to find it. Basically, a product placement for the Bulgarian tourism industry, but had somewhat a discernible plot and child appeal which prevented it from taking on the qualities of the shamelessly Azerbaijani ‘super-postcard’ of Eurovision 2012 days yore. Come to think of it, SBS didn’t have live commentary either. Sad. Stage was pretty cool too, although a bit flashy and gimmicky IMO (let’s face it, the overarching thingamabobs’ main purpose was to induce cringe from the audience when the words ‘NO NO NO NOT MY SOUL’ flashed erratically on them during the winner’s reprisal).

    Speaking of ‘Not my Soul’, I couldn’t agree more that Malta wasn’t the best winner for the contest. Sure, it was classy, Destiny commands stage presence like a vexed LOLcat and thank God, it wasn’t Anti Social Media-level childish and peppy (looking at you Armenia), but for such a dance banger of a track, it was lacking in back-up dancers or even a back-up vocalist that would have cemented Destiny’s on-fleekness (probably not a word). Nevertheless, her vocals would win the Guy Sebastian Award for Most Flawless Singing and that backdrop, lifted straight out of the Maltese music video’s back catalogue, outclassed most, if not all, of the acts (yes, IMO even Ruslan, please don’t denature my soul).

    Armenia’s MIKA (otherwise known as ‘The Singer that if Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang Commentated for JESC, would be Named Pocket Rocket’) while had a pretty child-friendly tune destined to send JESC backward from its evolution as a teenager-aimed event, was staged pretty well and true to your word, did that boy/3 girls dynamic on stage better than Georgia (first Stephanie and 3G, now The Virus; can’t GPB learn?) and had decent vocals. Mr Varosyan well and truly avenged the Tambourine Playing Travesty of JESC 2012 by taking, to an extent, deserved second place. Slovenia also managed #JusticeForUla (as some JESC fans have called it) through another sophisticated ballad about love, even with LED displays right out of a Christmas Hallmark card). It was a pretty good top 3 in my opinion that were understandable for once (*coughs* COMPASS BAND *coughs*), with good entries, Belarus and Albania, trailing behind.

    ‘Volshebstvo’ was a powerful ballad and had eye-catching graphics too, although that butterfly in his hand was painfully CGI. Cringed, however (lol, ready for Jaz to come rushing over to Melbourne to kill me now, hoping it death will only be a merciful release), at that moment when Ruslan sang ‘warmness’ (because singers that don’t speak English as a first language must still sing their lyrics top-notch *vainly contends*) and those synthesised vocals, which would have been more cohesive with Ruslan’s vocals if they were ACTUALLY HUMAN. ‘Dambaje’ was also a pleasant surprise; I, who loved the song but abnegated desires for it to score decently, thought a left-hand score on the leaderboard would be a long stretch. I liked the dress too!

    And to play Sam and Julia’s games again, the rest of the top 10 in short form:
    RUSSIA: Moldovan pelican 2013 anybody???, dry ice borderline Nina Sublatti, decent vocals, scraped 6th through ex-Soviet support
    SERBIA: them tattoos, roses everywhere, cash money notes, jury panacea, somewhat fanwank despite good performance
    AUSTRALIA: Bella’s most questionable vocals ever (I watched The Voice Kids and can attest), dress everyone thought was alfoil but wasn’t, hate everywhere online, good song tho
    BULGARIA: bells and whistles everywhere, feigned enthusiasm for duet, nice but never could beat Krisia, Hasan and Ibrahim, 12 REALLY IRELAND???
    GEORGIA: Data asking ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!!?!?, other Virus members verging on back-up vocalists, doing what Georgia does best and gets 10th

    Results and Australian (respectful 8th REALLY SBS?)/ Macedonian/ Italian/ Dutch/ (insert country of your choice) travesties aside, the voting was pretty interesting too. I’m talking about those Ukrainian douze points to San Marino reeks of fishy (even Mother Russia just gave 7) and let’s face it, was borderline Azerbaijan-Albania Incident of JESC 2012. Kamilla Ismailova had a potentially powerful song that could’ve made waves through Europe (gradually subsiding through each ocean passed and then finally lapping gently on the cliffs of Australia) but those vocals ruined San Marino’s chances of beating Michele Perniola’s (not that impressive) 10th in Kyiv. Then there was Ireland-Bulgaria, Malta-Italy and the less noticeable Albania-Georgia. Otherwise, results were pretty normal.

    Great JESC this year, looking forward to Valetta/ *other country, maybe Armenia, hopefully Slovenia but probably not* 2016! Will you be going next year Jaz? Love your work as always and good luck on snapping up them tickets for Stockholm!

    Like

  2. Hey Jaz! Fellow Aussie here. I, too, hauled my butt out of bed for the live Junior Eurovision Song Contest festivities on SBS, albeit at the more kid-friendly time of 5:30am (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time would like to politely say to Perth JESC fans that they’ve been majorly sucked in). As a 12 year-old child who had never watched JESC without being spoiled early, I was filled with delirium for the live broadcast.

    Bulgaria and BNT were incredibly professional in their own right, and the camerawork was pretty accurate (although on my TV a few panning shots were blurry). Poli Genova of Bulgarian Eurovision alumni was a pretty rockstar hostess, although a bit disappointed when SBS went to ads during the ‘Where is my dress?’ segment in where she threw a hissy fit when her (one of many) dresses for the show went missing, and her staff had to parkour around Sofia to find it. Basically, a product placement for the Bulgarian tourism industry, but had somewhat a discernible plot and child appeal which prevented it from taking on the qualities of the shamelessly Azerbaijani ‘super-postcard’ of Eurovision 2012 days yore. Come to think of it, SBS didn’t have live commentary either. Sad. Stage was pretty cool too, although a bit flashy and gimmicky IMO (let’s face it, the overarching thingamabobs’ main purpose was to induce cringe from the audience when the words ‘NO NO NO NOT MY SOUL’ flashed erratically on them during the winner’s reprisal).

    Speaking of ‘Not my Soul’, I couldn’t agree more that Malta wasn’t the best winner for the contest. Sure, it was classy, Destiny commands stage presence like a vexed LOLcat and thank God, it wasn’t Anti Social Media-level childish and peppy (looking at you Armenia), but for such a dance banger of a track, it was lacking in back-up dancers or even a back-up vocalist that would have cemented Destiny’s on-fleekness (probably not a word). Nevertheless, her vocals would win the Guy Sebastian Award for Most Flawless Singing and that backdrop, lifted straight out of the Maltese music video’s back catalogue, outclassed most, if not all, of the acts (yes, IMO even Ruslan, please don’t denature my soul).

    Armenia’s MIKA (otherwise known as ‘The Singer that if Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang Commentated for JESC, would be Named Pocket Rocket’) while had a pretty child-friendly tune destined to send JESC backward from its evolution as a teenager-aimed event, was staged pretty well and true to your word, did that boy/3 girls dynamic on stage better than Georgia (first Stephanie and 3G, now The Virus; can’t GPB learn?) and had decent vocals. Mr Varosyan well and truly avenged the Tambourine Playing Travesty of JESC 2012 by taking, to an extent, deserved second place. Slovenia also managed #JusticeForUla (as some JESC fans have called it) through another sophisticated ballad about love, even with LED displays right out of a Christmas Hallmark card). It was a pretty good top 3 in my opinion that were understandable for once (*coughs* COMPASS BAND *coughs*), with good entries, Belarus and Albania, trailing behind.

    ‘Volshebstvo’ was a powerful ballad and had eye-catching graphics too, although that butterfly in his hand was painfully CGI. Cringed, however (lol, ready for Jaz to come rushing over to Melbourne to kill me now, hoping it death will only be a merciful release), at that moment when Ruslan sang ‘warmness’ (because singers that don’t speak English as a first language must still sing their lyrics top-notch *vainly contends*) and those synthesised vocals, which would have been more cohesive with Ruslan’s vocals if they were ACTUALLY HUMAN. ‘Dambaje’ was also a pleasant surprise; I, who loved the song but abnegated desires for it to score decently, thought a left-hand score on the leaderboard would be a long stretch. I liked the dress too!

    And to play Sam and Julia’s games again, the rest of the top 10 in short form:
    RUSSIA: Moldovan pelican 2013 anybody???, dry ice borderline Nina Sublatti, decent vocals, scraped 6th through ex-Soviet support
    SERBIA: them tattoos, roses everywhere, cash money notes, jury panacea, somewhat fanwank despite good performance
    AUSTRALIA: Bella’s most questionable vocals ever (I watched The Voice Kids and can attest), dress everyone thought was alfoil but wasn’t, hate everywhere online, good song tho
    BULGARIA: bells and whistles everywhere, feigned enthusiasm for duet, nice but never could beat Krisia, Hasan and Ibrahim, 12 REALLY IRELAND???
    GEORGIA: Data asking ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!!?!?, other Virus members verging on back-up vocalists, doing what Georgia does best and gets 10th

    Results and Australian (respectful 8th REALLY SBS?)/ Macedonian/ Italian/ Dutch/ (insert country of your choice) travesties aside, the voting was pretty interesting too. I’m talking about those Ukrainian douze points to San Marino reeks of fishy (even Mother Russia just gave 7) and let’s face it, was borderline Azerbaijan-Albania Incident of JESC 2012. Kamilla Ismailova had a potentially powerful song that could’ve made waves through Europe (gradually subsiding through each ocean passed and then finally lapping gently on the cliffs of Australia) but those vocals ruined San Marino’s chances of beating Michele Perniola’s (not that impressive) 10th in Kyiv. Then there was Ireland-Bulgaria, Malta-Italy and the less noticeable Albania-Georgia. Otherwise, results were pretty normal.

    Great JESC this year, looking forward to Valetta/ *other country, maybe Armenia, hopefully Slovenia but probably not* 2016! Will you be going next year Jaz?

    Like

    • Hi Hendrik! Welcome to my comments section 

      I know, I know, we West Aussies were sucked in, but it’s not like we had a choice if we wanted to tune in to JESC live! I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Although, it was a bummer having to have the sound down on the TV for fear of waking up everyone else in my house.

      I think, as flashy and gimmicky as the stage was, it got away with it because if you can’t go OTT at a Eurovision event, when can you? I do prefer last year’s JESC stage, though. It’s possibly my favourite ever. Malta did an amazing job there.

      I am with you on Destiny, as you’re obviously aware! I’d like to hear the reasoning behind the lack of backup. They could have recruited some Bulgarian kids to “play” the trumpet behind her so they didn’t have to pay for their flights over. That’s what Australia did (though of course, two more flights from Aus to Europe costs a tad more than two from Malta to Bulgaria).

      I don’t mind the likes of Armenia taking some of the teen emphasis off JESC. I’d kind of like it to retain the mix of childlike and slightly more mature entries that it’s had recently, even if the former variety of song won’t ever win the comp again in the face of more sophisticated stuff. It can still storm into the top three, as Armenia know very well by now. PS – props for remembering Mika as the creepy tambourine kid from Compass Band, who was (mercifully) too teeny to hop on the JESC ride in 2012. At least he got to announce his country’s points back then…which still scared me a little, I’ll admit.

      I have to agree with you on Bella’s vocals on the night. She took the growl too far. Not that we have anything to be ashamed of, like, say, Montenegro. Cough.

      SECONDING THE MOTION OF 12 FOR BULGARIA FROM IRELAND WTH! Talk about a curveball.

      I would love Slovenia to somehow nab next year’s hosting rights, but I can’t imagine Malta relinquishing their hold. And based on how they handled the show in 2014, they’ve set a great standard for themselves. I’d love to attend, but since I’m forking out for Stockholm in May, I’ll probably be living off air for the rest of 2016. I might aim for 2017, though, assuming the contest will still be alive after all of the employee losses of late. Do you have plans to go to Sweden/Malta next year?

      Like

  3. Add me to the list of Nobodys that was enjoying the JESC reviews! I appreciate the jury and Jaz lending their time and talents to this junior endeavor.

    I’ve been apprehensive about watching since I learned of JESC (yes, it does creep me out to flaunt kids at pageants or contests even if Little Miss Sunshine is an outstanding movie, imo) but decided to give it a go this year due to Jaz’s cunning posts. Australia, Ireland, Slovenia, Malta, and Italy were the entries I listened to once or twice before deciding to watch the contest without further influence. Of those five, Australia, Ireland, and Malta had impressive vocals. I had the same chills with Malta as when I first saw the video for “Rise Like A Phoenix”, as in this-might-be-the-one-feels. Slovenia left me wanting more and Italy was on the fence.

    Of note, Georgia was still in rehearsal form whereas Armenia nailed it for a group act. And the Georgiana boy, jeez, I saw flashes of a seedy old man in another 60 years! I was relieved that he loosened up by the end of the song. The Georgian delegation left me feverish, just two songs in, and I was wondering if it was the right decision to proceed with viewing.

    Slovenia, mercifully, answered the question with a perfect performance. There were other entries with more charisma or exciting/disastrous staging depending on how you look at it, but for me Slovenia had the best all-around entry. The dress was simple and befitting Lina perfectly just like her vocals. Where Prva Ijubezen lacked in the ingenuity (I) expected from Maraaya, it was still a sweet, well-crafted song.

    Italy served as a reminder to not go to karaoke bars, which is where this rendition of “Viva” should stay.

    Is Bella old enough to drive? Because she went from 0-60 mph in an instant. “My Girls” had me worried at the soft sounding start and then she plunged into the deep end. Australia was my favorite of the small sample I had pre-show, and I love that Delta Goodrem was involved, but I had the vague sense it would be lucky to crack the top 5. Unfortunate, considering Bella’s robust voice and ability to wear MC Hammer pants in a flattering way (that feat was almost as impressive as her voice).

    The Irish entry was not my cup of tea at all, sounding very church-y, with no disrespect to Aimee who is clearly talented. There were “Climb Every Mountain” chills during the chorus of Réalta na Mara.

    Albania was super duper intriguing in a missed chance kind of way. Mishela’s voice is so clear and pure that to see it suffer from the repetition of Dambaje almost hurts (not as much as that dress which would be more fitting on a younger kid). The song had a pleasant, easy sway/Lion King-ish style. Of all the contestants Mishela is the one I’d be eager to see graduate to Eurovision.

    Ukraine was literally all smoke and no fire, despite what the background graphics depicted. All excitement was lost after Anna’s fruit casing peeled away; I’ve never seen a song wilt before.

    Armenia and Malta in a tie for the funnest performances of the evening. I couldn’t help but like Mika and Destiny had a sassy-sweet swagger of confidence and control. Destiny completely commandeered the stage and if I were to add anything, a few backing/dancing divas, ala Diana Ross and the Supremes, would have put it over the top for me (in a good way). Mikhail from Russia completes my trio of camera-loving acts.

    Random observations: the wink from Ruslan, I LOL’d at his cheekiness….Serbia was everything that scared me about watching JESC, especially when it comes to the younger looking kids + over dramatization (whereas MIKA and Mikhail were cute in their attempts to woo the audience). FYRM was better at canceling this factor even if it sounded like I left a Nintendo plugged in somewhere while the girls were dancing a ring…….the Netherlands was too “we put this kid in costume and re-hashed this entry from the late 2000s” for my taste……Bulgaria was pleasantly alright……San Marino, aye, potential yes, but if I, much less a child, was placed a few meters above everyone else I’d struggle merely think, much less sing…….Montenegro: was that an actual entry or a (badly placed) interval act? People could choose to vote for “Oluja”?

    From the final top 10 I’d only edge San Marino in there instead of Serbia or Georgia. The top six finishers: *nods in agreement with voters for once*

    Personal favorites: Albania, Slovenia, Malta, and Australia.

    My first JESC experience wasn’t as off putting as feared, so give yourself a pat on the back Jaz for a mini-conversion. I don’t envision looking up and obsessing over next entries before JESC in the future as I still have my small children fears to get over, limited time to dedicate to non-official ESC matters, and it felt refreshing to watch the contest cold without judgements. To put it one way, JESC can not (have) my soooooouuuuul, but instead how about weekends worth of time to view and review?

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    • Thanks for reading the reviews, Amy! Perhaps you could be coerced into being on the jury next year? I’m prepared to spend the next twelve months bribing you, if that helps.

      I completely agree with your description of Georgia VS Armenia – Georgia weren’t as slick and in sync as they usually are (pre-2014, anyway) and appeared to be in need of some more rehearsal time, whereas Armenia was – hate this expression, but I’m going to use it anyway – on point, in every respect. I was expecting a highly inappropriate groin grab from Mika post-moonwalk, but I’m relieved he didn’t take the MJ moves that far.

      ‘FYRM…sounded like I left a Nintendo plugged in somewhere while the girls were dancing’. THIS. It has so much to do with the Croatia 2014 vibes Pletenka gives me, which in turn are mostly what made me think Ivana and Magdalena would come last. I still think they should have beaten Montenegro, though, based purely on performance.

      I’m happy to have had a hand in half-converting you to the JESC way! I understand your unwillingness to obsess over it, though. But the fact that you gave it a chance and weren’t completely traumatised makes me think I could change that in the future…*insert thirty consecutive seconds of evil laughter here*

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