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VOTE FOR THE WINNERS: The EBJ Awards for Eurovision Excellence (People’s Choice) polls are now open!

Greetings, guys. As promised – and as you know, 94.6% of the time I keep my promises – it’s time for the preliminary stage of the 2016 EBJ Eurovision Excellence Awards, a.k.a. the People’s Choice polls!

In case that sentence meant nothing to you, allow me to explain: every year, like basically every Eurovision blogger in existence, I hold an online awards ceremony on par with the Oscars to commend the best (and best of the worst) of all things related to the contest just passed (if you’re bored or actually happen to have the will, as unlikely as that is, you can relive the glitz and glamour of last year’s EBJEEs here and here). And because I’m all about sharing the love and letting/forcing you to have your say, I always like to make some of my trophies awardable by people other than myself. So, if you have opinions about Eurovision 2016 and you like to vote on serious matters such as who had the coolest prop at this year’s comp, you’ll enjoy this post.

Based on the feedback from the 2015 People’s Choice vote, there are more nominees in more categories this time – plus, you can vote for multiple nominees instead of choosing just one. Don’t say I’m not Miss Generosity (not a People’s Choice Award, sadly). So limber up those fingers and prepare to make THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS OF YOUR LIFE. No pressure.

Europe, Australia and everywhere else…start voting now!

 

ebjeetr2

 

Mr. Congeniality

The ‘he’ you’d never pass up an opportunity to hang out with – thanks to the Euroclub shuttle bus-loads of charm, presence and personality he displayed in Stockholm.

 

 

Miss Congeniality

The ‘she’ you’d choose to be your ESC BFF – i.e. the most personable, likeable lady act available.

 

 

Teen Act of the Year

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Which under-20 artist kept your boat most afloat and proved to be the most talented teenager in this year’s line-up?

 

 

Fanwank of the Year

Not all of these songs were favourites with the bookies, but they were certainly favourites with the fans – in the lead-up to the contest, on social media and (trust me on this one) in the Euroclub. But which one was the most fanwanky of them all? You decide.

 

 

Dancefloor Filler of the Year

You’ll play this song at your wedding when time’s getting on, and your guests are losing the will to woki their popos. Press play and the problem’s solved!

 

 

Best Preview Video

Some were flashy, some were quirky and some were super-duper stylish…but which one is your number one? If you need a memory refresher, check out this playlist I prepared earlier.

 

 

Best Vocal (Male)

They all sang their hearts out, but vote for the guy who gave you goosebumps with his vocal prowess – or just made you think ‘DAYUM, this dude can sing.’

 

 

Best Vocal (Female)

Ditto – only this one’s about girl (vocal) power.

 

 

Best Vocals (Duet/Group)

There were only a handful of twos, threes and mores participating in 2016, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to decide which of those acts hit their harmonies just right.

 

 

Best Prop or Gimmick

Most countries add a little extra spice to their performance via something their artists do, sit on, stand on, dance around, trip over etc. Give props (HA HA) to the prop or gimmick you saw as superior in Stockholm!

 

 

All-Rounder of the Year

Vocals, costumes, choreography; backdrops, song and stage presence – every element matters in a Eurovision entry. Who had the most perfectly-packaged performance that ticked all boxes this year?

 

 

The Host With The Most

This is a straight-up, head-to-head, battle-of-the-sexes duel. Petranators and Månsters, pledge your allegiance and help your favourite host take this trophy home.

 

 

Jaw-Dropping Moment of the Year

There were OMGs aplenty before and during this year’s comp. If your jaw hit the floor when any of these occurred, this poll wants to know about it.

PS – If you’re not sure about the Moldovan moment, be aware that Lidia’s astronaut *may* have forgotten to remove his delegation accreditation for televised semi final purposes. Oops.

 

 

Opening/Interval Act of the Year

For once, the pre and mid-show entertainment at Eurovision was more than multiple annoying interludes interrupting the contest’s exciting parts. From MZW’s reprise with a difference to a US superstar dropping by, there was something for everybody on show. So, which offering gets the biggest high five from you?

 

 

Most Improved (From NF to ESC)

Some delegations work tirelessly to reshape and ramp up their song and/or performance, between winning domestically and stepping onto the Eurovision stage. Vote for the act that made the most impressive transition during that time, in your opinion!

 

 

And (assuming you took the time to vote in all of those polls) your work here is done! Tack så mycket for your input, and stay tuned to find out if your favourites will be winners that take it all. The EBJEEs, feat. the People’s Choice Awards and plenty of others, are almost here, so hurry up and hire those tuxedoes/show-stopping ball gowns. You know, so you can sit at home in them staring at a screen when I do post the “ceremonies”. Fun!

 

Until then…

 

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VOTE FOR THE WINNERS | Have your say in the People’s Choice categories of the 2015 EBJ Awards for Eurovision Excellence!

UPDATE: The People’s Choice polls have now closed. Thanks to everyone who voted – there was a pretty impressive turnout by EBJ standards! Drop by in the coming days for Parts 1 and 2 of the Eurovision Excellence Awards, when the results (and winners of a heap of other “trophies”) will be revealed. Subscribe to EBJ if you want your email to let you know exactly when those posts go live!

When Eurovision 2015 came to a close, it left us with one winner and thirty-nine losers spread across Europe (with one down here in Australia). I’m sorry to put it so harshly, but when you’re not winning, you’re technically losing, no matter what Malta’s Amber thinks. Marcel Bezençon Awards aside, only Måns Zelmerlöw departed Vienna with a trophy in his suitcase (though I like to think he insisted on wrapping it in a blanket, cradling it like a baby and singing it lullabies all the way back to Sweden. I know I would have).

I think that’s über unfair. That’s why, for the sixth year running, I’m holding my own ceremony of awards to honour the achievements of the countries, artists and songs that were not champions of the contest itself. I can’t promise Sweden won’t win any of these trophies too, however. Why should they be punished for bringing their A-game?

Anyway, these awards are better known as The EBJ Awards for Eurovision Excellence, and span five fabulous categories: The Artists, The Songs, The Performances, The Costumes and The Results (you can check out the 2014 awards here and here). In each category, there’s at least one gong that goes to the most popular nominee as voted by you (yes, you…have you had a haircut? It looks great. Really flatters your jawline). And today, voting is the task I’d love you to undertake. If my totally personalised and genuine complimenting of your appearance didn’t make you want to do what I tell you to, then you should know that anyone who votes in the polls below will receive a jar of my eternal gratitude in the mail in around 6-8 weeks.

So, if you’re up for it (which I’m sure you are now) it’s time to make some very important decisions – including that of who had the most superbly-styled hair in the Stadthalle (choosing the nominees for that made me miss Guy Sebastian’s old ‘fro like crazy). If you feel like I’ve missed out on nominating a particular country/artist/song for any award, feel free to nominate them yourself in the comments, and I’ll be sure to count that as a vote, because I’m nice like that. Not humble, but nice.

Now go forth and vote, vote, vote for the winners!

And tell your friends to do the same.

 

The Artists

Mr. Congeniality
The most personable and approachable male artist on the ground in Vienna (who you’d take home to meet your parents in a heartbeat).

 

Miss Congeniality
The female artist from the Class of ’15 you’d want to be best friends with (and she can meet your parents too).

 

The Songs

Fanwank (Pardon My French) of the Year
The song that had hardcore fans frothing at the mouth months before Eurovision even took place.

 

Best Preview Video
The music video that was visually spectacular, took an entry to another level, and/or gave you serious feels (watch or re-watch all of the nominees here).

 

The Performances

Best Stage Prop/Gimmick
The attention-grabbing onstage accompaniment that made the song it was supporting much more memorable.

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The All-Rounder of the Year
The country with an act who sang perfectly, whose style was on point, and who had a song that was brilliantly staged and choreographed (i.e. the entry with the total live package).

 

The Costumes

Hairdo of the Year
The artist with the moussed, flat-ironed and/or teased ‘do that you’re planning to recreate because it was the bomb dot com.

hdoty

 

The Results

The ‘How Did That Happen?’ Award for Most Shocking Result
The…um, does this one really require an explanation?

 

Those are your eight People’s Choice Awards for 2015. Thank you so much for voting, if you did. If not, then what are you waiting for?

The polls will be open for about a week, and then the EBJEEs will commence. There are plenty more trophies up for grabs that I’ll be deciding the winners of myself, because I like to be in charge all the time every now and then. But for now, the fate of the nominees is in your hands.

Lordi help them.

May the best potential winner be the eventual, actual winner!
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NEXT TIME The awesomeness level of performances in Vienna may have been off the charts, but I’ve managed to narrow a long list of highlights down to ten: my top ten performances of the year, that is. Drop by in a few days’ time and check out the countdown, from #10 to #1.

 

All #together now…some quick predictions for JESC 2014!

O, JESC, why art thou so hard to predict? Every November I find myself tearing my hair out with indecision over who’s going to end up where on the scoreboard, and I’m finding it more and more difficult to disguise the resulting bald patches.

This prediction dilemma isn’t something that tends to happen with adult Eurovision, despite the fact that there are a bajillion more entries to contend with. Anyone with an explanation for this phenomenon, please call me ASAP on 1800-NO-CLUE. Then sit back, relax and read through the following extra-quick (I’m a little time-poor at the moment) and extra-questionable predictions for Malta 2014 – due to begin in a matter of hours! Hashtag unbelievablebecauseKyivseemslikeyesterday.

Not even a real crystal ball would help me now...

Not even a real crystal ball would help me now…

Let’s start with a few guesses as to which countries will have the…

 
…best staging – Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine (Armenia and Ukraine are never to be underestimated when it comes to putting on a show, and with all the fantasy/falcon imagery Belarus has to work with, they wouldn’t want to disappoint.)
…best vocals – Georgia, Italy, Malta, Russia, Serbia (This is THE year for epic vocalists – not to say there aren’t any weak links. I expect the best of the best to come from Georgia as usual; Italy, Malta and Russia, all of whom have big ballads that will bomb without top-notch vocals to set them off; and Serbia, because Emilija’s been down the talent show route relying on her voice alone, and I don’t reckon she’s got the ability to sing bum notes.)
…best costumes – Armenia, Belarus, Sweden (Armenia’s are guaranteed to be bright and fun, and I’ve seen snapshots of the Belarusian feather-fest and Sweden’s glitter extravaganza, and I liked what I saw.)
…total package – Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria (So long as Bulgaria’s Krisia is no longer suffering from the world’s most inconvenient throat infection, I expect everything you can hear and see with these three entries to be on point.)

 

Now, who’s going to be…

 
…a positive surprise – Ukraine (I know not everyone’s anti-Sympho-Nick, but plenty of people aren’t getting it. Just wait and see, though, haters…I think these girls might impress you and do a lot better than you’re giving them credit for. Remember the three magic words: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE UKRAINE!)
…a negative surprise – Georgia (In terms of a normally well-performing country failing for the first time, I think Georgia could be The One. I just don’t see Happy Day having enough to offer to get it raking in the points.)
…the winner – Armenia, Cyprus, Malta, Ukraine (This is the part I was dreading most. Apart from the insistence of press on the ground in Malta who believe JESC’s the host country’s for the taking, I’ve got nothing. This competition is still wide open, folks! Nevertheless, I’ll have a stab and say: Armenia, who have an irresistible ethno-pop entry that gives me those triumphant vibes; Cyprus, who need a lot to go right for Sophia to win but who aren’t out of contention by any means; Malta, based on those insistent claims from the peeps who’ve seen rehearsals; and Ukraine, as somewhat of a dark horse prediction…albeit a dark horse dressed in a blinged-up blue nightgown.)
…the loser – Croatia, Montenegro, San Marino (It’s GOT to be one of these three, right? None of them are my personal losers, but I can see any of them, particularly Croatia and San Marino, just doing nothing.)

 

Finally, here’s my guess at what the scoreboard will look like at the end of the evening:

 
1. Malta
2. Ukraine
3. Armenia
4. Bulgaria
5. Cyprus
6. Russia
7. Belarus
8. Netherlands
9. Georgia
10. Serbia
11. Slovenia
12. Sweden
13. Italy
14. Montenegro
15. San Marino
16. Croatia

Anyone who’s made a full scoreboard prediction and gets it at least 50% right, deserves a medal in my opinion. Psychics not included.

 
Well, that’s all I have time for. I’m sorry if this post seems rushed, but that’s because it was rushed. I’ve got a super busy weekend ahead of me – so much so, I won’t be watching JESC live tonight *insert sadface here*. Instead, I’ll be watching on actual television tomorrow night when we in Australia get the (slightly, by past standards) delayed broadcast, complete with our own commentators. That’s after I’ve been gallivanting around all day, which in turn is after I’ve spent tonight dancing up a storm at my very first Euroclub (more on that to come next week, fingers crossed). So, as I head off to cover myself in PVA glue and dive into a swimming pool full of glitter in preparation, I wish you fun times watching Junior Eurovision 2014. May the show be epic, may the voting be nail-biting, and may the best song win!

EBJ Signature

 

HAVE YOUR SAY: Vote, vote, vote for the winners of the 2014 EBJ Awards for Eurovision Excellence!

Never mind Golden Globe and Oscar time – we all know the best awards season is Eurovision awards season! When the contest (and most of the residual PED) is over, it’s time to reflect on the best and worst of everything, from the songs to the scoreboard shockers, the vocal performances to the vile outfits (and I’m actually not referring to Lithuania…I NEVER agree with the Barbara Dex) and everything in-between. Though more important and popular ESC sites have been staging awards ceremonies for weeks, the time for my own – known for three years as the EBJ Awards for Eurovision Excellence – is fast approaching, so iron the creases out of your tuxedoes and brush the lint off your evening gowns in preparation. If you don’t mind? I have a dress code, you know.

Before my star-studded ceremony can take place, however, there’s a little business to take care of. Namely, I need you guys to decide the winners of my super-awesome personalised trophies that were definitely not put together haphazardly in MS Word with Clipart. This year, the EBJ EEs will feature more awards in the categories of Artists, Songs, Costumes, Performances and Results than ever before, and I need more help than ever with choosing the winners. So, instead of having a sole People’s Choice Award for All-Rounder of the Year (which went to Norway’s Margaret Berger in 2013) I’m letting you decide six of the awards. Woohoo! There are many more that I’ll be deciding myself, of course, but just think yourself lucky that you don’t have to spend 48 straight hours going through an endless parade of polls.

So here today, I’m asking you to vote on these particular six which have been taken from each category. I’ve narrowed each list of nominees down to a small group, so if you’re really desperate to vote for someone who’s not included, leave me a comment saying so and I will count that as a vote. The results will be kept secret until the all the awards are revealed next week. Hashtag mysterious.

Without further ado, get ready to make your choices (and share the link to this post to get more people voting, if you’re feeling generous). Here are the People’s Choice Awards for the 2014 EBJ EEs!

 

The Artists

The friendliest, most charismatic guy on the ground in Copenhagen.

  

The woman you’d want to be your BFF.

 

 

The Songs

The most entertaining, amusing or attractive MV of the year.

 

 

The Performances

The act that ticked all the boxes – vocals, costume, staging and so on.

 

 

The Costumes

The most stylish artist/s to take to the stage.

 

 

The Results

The final placing that left you scratching your head.

 

There’s your six! I hope you chose wisely…JK, it doesn’t really matter. But hey, you could be giving a country that didn’t win anything on the night/s a prize of sorts after all, and that’s a big deal. Kind of.

ANYWAY, thanks for voting (and sharing, if you were up for that). Stay tuned for the revelation of the results as well as the revelation of all of the other award victors, when the EBJ EEs kicks off next week. Before that, I’ll be presenting you with my Top 10 Could’ves and Should’ves of 2014 – that is, the national finalists who, on reflection, should have been sent to Copenhagen instead, or who would have had similar success to those songs that were chosen. Putting that list together was no easy task, but I got by with a little help from a friend…

Until next time ↓

EBJ Signature

 

Retro Rankings | Kyiv 2005 (a.k.a. remembering Eurovision’s birthday, and celebrating mine!)

Bonjour, peeps! It’s been a month since I last posted anything, and that last post did have a long intro justifying my lack of blog action up to that point, so I won’t bother doing another one. I’ll just blame tertiary education once again, and we can move on.

A quick life update from yours truly *clears throat*: two rather exciting things happened to me this week. I’m not going to tell you about the first one until I have photographic proof, but here’s a clue: it has nothing to do with Eurovision. Not just yet, anyway. Who knows what the future will bring for one of the contest’s most unsuccessful countries of late? On that basis, and on the basis that it is SO FREAKING EXCITING, I will be telling y’all about it very soon.

The second thing was that I had me a birthday. I had me a birthday yesterday, to be precise, and the greatest gift I received was the fact that I can now sing Taylor Swift’s 22 at karaoke nights and mean it (that and the doorstop I got that looks like an upside-down melting ice-cream cone. Stuff doesn’t get much cooler than that). In all seriousness, I now feel incredibly old and will be spending the next few weeks trawling eBay for a time-slowing device. But in the meantime, I thought I’d distract myself by looking back at the year Eurovision celebrated a special birthday (of sorts).

2005 brought us the 50th ESC, which I consider a birthday because there was probably a cake, streamers, and a bunch of drunk people involved at some point (and probably has been at every contest since). It was a year of hits and misses song-wise, as I discovered when I decided to continue my Retro Rankings with Year Kyiv, but there were some absolute gems. Read on to see how I rated the 39 songs from top to bottom – and as always, share your rankings with me down below. Please? Consider it a belated birthday gift.

 

 A reminder of all the entries:

 

And now, my personal top 39:

  1. Serbia and Montenegro/ Zauvijek Moja by No Name – This marvellous creation came in at #9 in my all-time ESC 50 list, which was actually lower than another song from ’05. But it’s not against the law to have a change of mind, y’know. For the two years that Serbia and Montenegro were represented at the contest they were magical, so although Zauvijek doesn’t have the same spellbinding quality of Lane Moje (and No Name didn’t have the raw sexual magnetism of Željko Joksimović…or was that just me?) it still gets me all goosebumpy. Oh, how I love thee, Balkan drama!
'...and that is how you do a Serbian and Montenegrin wave. Remember, the Mexican wave is so last year.'

‘…and that is how you do a Serbian and Montenegrin wave. Remember, the Mexican wave is so over.’

  1. Romania/ Let Me Try by Luminita Anghel & Sistem
  2. Latvia/ The War Is Not Over by Walters & Kazha
  3. Slovenia/ Stop by Omar Naber
  4. Norway/ In My Dreams by Wig Wam – Hands up who likes glam rock? Me neither. But Eurovision has a way of making me like things I’d retch at if they came on the radio during everyday life. This song rocks, so to speak. It’s ridiculously catchy and anthemic, and compels me to wave a flag whenever I hear it (flag, pillowcase, sock, my cat…whatever’s lying around, really). If you can resist singing along with the chorus, then you are DEAD INSIDE. No offence.
  5. Albania/ Tomorrow I Go by Ledina Çelo
  6. Denmark/ Talking To You by Jakob Sveistrup
  7. Hungary/ Forogj Világ by NOX
  8. FYR Macedonia/ Make My Day by Martin Vucic
  9. Israel/ The Silence That Remains by Shiri Maimon – I think Shiri may have been my first girl crush. Even now I watch her performance and drool a little bit over that dress and that perfect face and those gravity-defying…false eyelashes. But her song was every bit as beautiful as she was (and, I assume, still is). I love a non-cheesy mixed-language ballad, so it ticked all my boxes.
Shiri on the verge of a sneeze, and still looking lovely

Shiri on the verge of a sneeze, and still looking lovely

  1. Moldova/ Boonika Bate Doba by Zdob şi Zdub
  2. Malta/ Angel by Chiara
  3. Andorra/ La Mirada Interior by Marian van der Wal
  4. Bulgaria/ Lorraine by Kaffe – Someone sound the guilty pleasure alarm, quick! Yes, this entry is sleazy – like, B-grade porno sleazy – and the rhyming couldn’t be more unimaginative (Lorraine/rain/pain…who would have seen that coming?) but it’s the kind of cruisy, café-style muzak that I apparently go for. I’m not saying that Bulgaria should have qualified or anything, so you can stop typing that abusive comment now. I just kinda sorta like this. Don’t tell anyone.
  5. Sweden/ Las Vegas by Martin Stenmarck
  6. Greece/ My Number One by Helena Paparizou
  7. Spain/ Brujeria by Sun de Sol
  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina/ Call Me by Feminnem – B & H brought a birthday anthem to Kyiv with this up-tempo funfest that wouldn’t have sounded out of place at Melodifestivalen. It wasn’t a great effort, and was by no means Feminnem’s best ESC outing (I still shed tears for Lako Je Sve) but it’s harmless bubblegum pop. Hating it would be like hating a puppy, and nobody hates puppies.
Marcia, Jan and Cindy Brady all grown up? Nope, it's Feminnem!

Marcia, Jan and Cindy Brady all grown up? Nope, it’s Feminnem!

  1. France/ Chacun Pense A Soi by Ortal
  2. Portugal/ Amar by 2B
  3. Croatia/ Vukovi Umiru Sami by Boris Novkovic & Lado Members
  4. Ukraine/ Razom Nas Bahato by Greenjolly
  5. Germany/ Run and Hide by Gracia – I know what you’re thinking. ‘#23? Does this girl actually have functioning ears?’. Well yes, I do, and whilst I don’t approve of the dodgy goings-on that made Germany then what Belarus are now, I reserve the right to think that Run and Hide is not as heinous as the majority of other people. I like its style, and I’m not annoyed at all by those ‘ahh-iy-aaaii’ bits that make up 85% of the song. Unless I have a headache, that is.
  6. Switzerland/ Cool Vibes by Vanilla Ninja
  7. Belgium/ Le Grand Soir by Nuno Resende
  8. Turkey/ Rimi Rimi Ley by Gülseren
  9. Lithuania/ Little By Little by Laura & The Lovers – As a former English major, what I most appreciate about this is the alliteration. There are more Ls there than you could poke Helena Paparizou’s baton at. Still, the song has its charms, outside of it being a cliché and everyone knowing exactly where it’s headed because it’s made up of a tried-and-tested Swedish formula.
Laura obviously missed the memo about wearing black.

Laura obviously missed the memo about wearing black.

  1. Estonia/ Let’s Get Loud by Suntribe
  2. Austria/ Y Asi by Global Kryner
  3. Cyprus/ Ela Ela by Constantinos Christoforou
  4. United Kingdom/ Touch My Fire by Javine – When you consider that then-pregnant glamour model Jordan could have been gyrating around in pink pleather in Javine’s place, Touch My Fire starts to sound and look pretty good. But that aside, 2005 was another fail for the UK. This song would have done better as a radio track than a Eurovision one.
  5. Monaco/ Tout De Moi by Lise Darly
  6. Finland/ Why? by Geir Ronning
  7. Poland/ Czarna Dziewczyna by Ivan & Delfin
  8. Iceland/ If I Had Your Love by Selma – IMO, Selma was suffering from a severe case of Shouldn’t Have Returned-itis when she took to the stage in Kyiv. This song is clearly inferior to her runner-up of 1999 (although the costuming did improve) and I don’t see how she could have thought otherwise. It’s like three different but equally average songs rolled into one, and the result is a total non-event. I guess she really was all out of luck.
Um, Selma?? You've got something on your forehead.

Um, Selma?? You’ve got something on your forehead.

  1. Netherlands/ My Impossible Dream by Glennis Grace
  2. Belarus/ Love Me Tonight by Angelica Agurbash
  3. Russia/ Nobody Hurt No One by Natalia Podolskaya
  4. Ireland/ Love? by Donna & Joe – Love? Not if I can help it. Hands down my least favourite song of the year, this makes Dustin the Turkey’s offering sound like the stuff Grammy winners are made of. It’s just terrible in every way! The performance was super cheesy, the outfits were bad even for 2005, and the song is dire. Ireland did redeem themselves the following year with Every Song Is A Cry For Love, but I have to correct Brian Kennedy. Donna & Joe’s entry was less of a cry for love than a cry for competent songwriters.

 

I’ve showed you mine…show me yours? How would you rank the Class of ’05? How right or wrong are my rankings?

 

Counting down to JESC: Bucharest 2006

At last, a Junior contest I can look back on knowing I was watching the year it took place!  

Yes, 2006 was the year I discovered Eurovision, and I haven’t looked back since (which kind of contradicts what I just said about looking back, but you get my drift).

Being my first, I’ve always thought of this JESC as one of the best. The quality was high, the talent was impressive, and the theme music kicked butt.

Welcome to a Bucharest recap, put together by somebody who’s probably a little biased…

 

 

 

The stats

Edition: 4th

When: 2nd December, 2006

Where: Sala Polivalentă, Bucharest, Romania

Motto: ‘Let the music play’

Hosts: Andreea Marin Bănică & Ioana Ivan

Broadcaster: TVR

Entries: 15

Debutants: 3 – Portugal, Serbia, Ukraine

Returnees: 1 – Cyprus

Withdrawals: 5 – Denmark, Latvia, Norway, Serbia & Montenegro, United Kingdom

Interval acts: Ksenia Sitnik and a song and dance medley

First place: Russia

Last place: Macedonia

Most douze points: 7 – Russia

 

The entries

Portugal/ Deixa-Me Sentir by Pedro Madeira

Cyprus/ Agoria Koritsia by Luis Panagiotou & Christina Christofi

Netherlands/ Goed by Kimberley

Romania/ Povestea Mea by New Star Music

Ukraine/ Khlopchyk Rock ‘n’ Roll by Nazar Slyusarchuk

Spain/ Te Doy Mi Voz by Dani

Serbia/ Učimo Strane Jezike by Neustrašivi Učitelji Stranih Jezika

Malta/ Extra Cute by Sophie Debattista

Macedonia/ Vljubena by Zana Aliu

Sweden/ Det Finaste Någon Kan Få by Molly Sandén

Greece/ Den Peirazei by Chloe Boleti

Belarus/ Noviy Den by Andrey Kunets

Belgium/ Een Tocht Door Het Donker by Thor!

Croatia/ Lea by Mateo Đido

Russia/ Vesinniy Jazz by Tolmachevy Twins 

 

The scoreboard

  1. Russia – 154

    I wonder which sister got to keep the trophy?

  1. Belarus – 129
  2. Sweden – 116
  3. Spain – 91
  4. Serbia – 81
  5. Romania – 80
  6. Belgium – 71
  7. Cyprus – 58
  8. Ukraine – 58
  9. Croatia – 50
  10. Malta – 48
  11. Netherlands – 44
  12. Greece – 35
  13. Portugal – 22
  14. Macedonia – 14

 

My top 5…

…songs

Sweden – this country hasn’t put a foot wrong in JESC for a while (in terms of my taste, if not in results) and it all started with Molly. Her ballad is one of my all-time favourite Junior entries.

Serbia – with all the counting and gratuitous language-switching, this reminds me of when I watched Sesame Street last week…er, I mean, when I was a kid. And I love it! Bouncy, catchy fun.

Romania – one of my strongest memories of ’06 is what I used to think of as ‘The Harry Potter/Spiderman Song’. That does sum it up quite well, methinks.

Spain – as far as I’m concerned, Spain had the magic touch when it came to JESC. Their string of one amazing songs sadly ended with Dani’s in Bucharest, but at least they finished on a high. 

Netherlands – I usually like the retro ballad-type songs the Netherlands send almost every year, and this was no exception. It’s one of those you don’t expect to do well, but you can’t help having a fondness for. By ‘you’, I mean ‘I’.  

…voices

Sweden – I wish I could say Molly was talentless, since she’s already got looks and personality going for her. But she’s as vocally wunderbar now as she was in 2006, damn it.

Russia – FYI Jedward, these twins could have sung the pants off you when they were barely out of nappies.

Netherlands – Kimberley is like a younger, less powerful version of Edsilia Rombley. That’s a good thing, by the way. I think Edsilia-level growling on the JESC stage could have been intimidating for the young ‘uns in the audience.

Greece – I’m not a huge fan of the song, but I do think Chloe’s a strong vocalist.

Ukraine – commendable, apart from a few brief moments where Nazar was touched by the Curse of Puberty now known as the Dorijan Dlaka Effect.

…costumes

Macedonia – it kind of looked like Picasso’s crepe paper interpretation of the Lithuanian flag, but Zana’s dress was certainly eye-catching. There’s nothing wrong with wearable art, IMO.

Russia – cute! I can’t help being reminded of the apple skirt Laka’s sister wore for Bosnia in Belgrade.

Romania – with a song like this, you’ve got to be literal with your costumes. You know, just in case someone misses the constant references to Harry Potter and co.  

Sweden – simple and pretty. Bonus points for not plumping for yards of floaty, transparent chiffon.

Netherlands – Kimberley rocked neutrals while her backing dancers tossed their skirts around like nobody’s business.     

Clockwise from left: Zana, the Tolmachevy Twins, New Star Music, Kimberley, and Molly.

 

My bottom 5…

…songs

Malta – please note, this is the only one I actually hate with a passion. Extra cute? More like extra, EXTRA irritating.

Greece – not bad, just boring.

Croatia – as a Junior rock song, Lea could be a lot worse. But it comes across a little lame when compared to Croatia’s first few entries.

Cyprus – this is catchy, but it feels too ‘big Eurovision circa 1995’.

Ukraine – guilty pleasure alert!

…voices

It was too hard to bag five acts for underperforming vocally. All I could come up with was…

Belarus – like Ksenia Sitnik before him, Andrey was squeakier than a rubber duck.

Macedonia – let’s just say if you leave a can of Coke open for too long, it’ll lose its fizz.*

* I mean she was a bit flat.

…costumes

Ukraine – Elvis may have left the building, but it seems his wardrobe did not.

Croatia – double denim can be done well (see Spain’s Dani for evidence) but not like this.

Belarus – did Andrey actually wear the same costume as Mateo? Give or take a few iron-on motifs? Well, sharing is caring. 

L-R: Nazar and his groupies, Nazar and his super-sized collar, Mateo, and Andrey.

 

How did you rate Bucharest? What were your favourite/least favourite moments?

 

Spotlight on…the Netherlands

This December, the Dutch will play host to Junior Eurovision for the second time, having come second (grrr) last year in Yerevan. That of course has nothing to do with them hosting, but I always enjoy being able to put ‘second’ and ‘the Netherlands’ in the same sentence. The country has had their ups and downs in JESC, but with several top 10 results and a win under their sequin-encrusted, kid-size belts, their record is a lot more impressive than it has been in ESC of late. If you, like me, struggle to recall a time when the Netherlands kicked butt at big Eurovision, then here’s a reminder. Have your time machines at the ready!*

 

*Not literally…if you had one of those you wouldn’t need to be reading this post, which would be very, VERY bad.

 

  

THE NETHERLANDS: THE STATS      

Debut

1956 with Voorgoed Voorbij by Corry Brokken and De Vogels Van Holland by Jetty Paerl

Entries

54

Wins

4 – 1957, 1959, 1969 and 1975

Silver medals

0

Bronze medals

1 – 1974

Top 10 finishes

21/54

Top 10 success rate

39%

Top 5 finishes

9/54

Top 5 success rate

17%

Wooden spoons (last places!)

2 – 1968 and 2011

Semi final qualifications

1/9

Qualification success rate

11%

 

 

MY PICKS

My favourite entry

Hemel En Aarde by Edsilia Rombley (1998). Killer song + killer voice – what more do you need? Well, evidently something since this entry didn’t win, but it was up against Dana International and her Gaultier. Nonetheless, in my opinion this is the best thing the Netherlands have sent to the contest, which is more than you can say for Edsilia’s second go in Helsinki…

I also have to mention Without You by Re-union (2004), my second favourite. In the history of the semi-finals, it remains the only Dutch entry to have qualified, although it didn’t do too well in the final. Perhaps it was overshadowed by Germany’s rather similar-sounding song (which catered to the home audience by incorporating a little Turkish into its lyrics) or perhaps people just didn’t like it as much as I do. Silly, silly people.

My least favourite entry

De Troubadour by Lenny Kuhr (1969). I don’t know if I just can’t connect with a lot of the music of Eurovision’s earlier years or if this is just a bad winner, but it makes me want to close my blinds, crawl into bed and sob into my pillow. That is until it gets to the ‘lalalala lala LAI la la LAI la la’ bit, at which point I emerge from under my bedding and start tearing my hair out.

More of the memorable

Een Beetje by Teddy Scholten (1959) – This is just cuteness! One of the few very early entries I enjoy listening to.

Ding Dinge Dong by Teach-in (1975) – Here is one of the better onomatopoeically-titled songs from ESC history. It’s catchy, fun, and – I imagine – great for karaoke.

No Goodbyes by Linda Wagenmakers (2000) – This song x 43 is what many people think the contest consists of. To all of them I say no, it does not, but gosh darn it I enjoy it when there’s the odd one or two.

Ik Ben Verliefd by Sieneke (2010) – Ah, the Smurf Song, one we love to hate and hate to love. My thought is that the song has nothing on the hideousness that was Sieneke’s outfit. I think her stylist was under the impression she was in Oslo for a soap opera audition…circa 1983.

Their best stage show

On Top of the World by Edsilia Rombley (2007). As previously mentioned, the song did nothing for moi, but the staging was rather good. There was nothing too OTT to distract from Edsilia’s luverly vocal, nor was there anything too 3JS yawn-worthy.

Their best costume/s

Linda Wagenmakers. I’m off to see Cirque du Soleil next year, and I’m 99% sure the show will be held inside her dress. The first one, that is – the shredded silver number is otherwise occupied at a disco/bootscooting party somewhere. Both of the above were totally OTT, and totally fabulous.

“Lions and tigers and bears (in tutus and on little bicycles) oh my!!”

Their best vocalist/s

Maggie MacNeal (1974, 1980)/Edsilia Rombley. Here we have two very different singers, Maggie as soft and sweet (most of the time) as Edsilia is deep and growly. Both are equally talented.

I love the Netherlands in the ESC because…

Okay – to be honest with you, I don’t. During my years as a Eurovision fan they have had a tough time succeeding with their entries, and the reasons haven’t been too hard to find. I do always look forward to their selection, though, in the hope that they’ll do a Germany and pull out an amazing song that can’t possibly fail – at least to reach the final. As with countries like Cyprus and Portugal, it’s always a great moment when the Netherlands do qualify (which as we know, has only happened once. But that moment was great, was it not?) and already I’m hoping to experience that in 2013. Any country can turn things around at any time, right?

 

What are your thoughts on the Netherlands in Eurovision?