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EBJ’s top 10…Junior Eurovision countries

This time next week, JESC 2012 will be over (sad face) and I will be attempting to stay awake at a Christmas party having gone to bed at 6am after watching the contest live (I bet you’ve missed me complaining about being an Australian Eurovision fan. It really can be traumatising). There are still a few things to take care of between now and then, and I’m not just referring to painstakingly selecting my show snacks. The second half of my reviews is yet to come, as is the final recap of Yerevan and a prediction or two of what will go down in Amsterdam. But right now, it’s time for a top 10.

I’m always labeling one country or another as one of my favourite ESC or JESC participants – and now we’re in the thick of Junior month I figured it was about time I made the mini-Eurovision list official. It’s not exactly easy to narrow down which of the 31 nations who have ever competed are your most-loved, but a lot of nostalgia, countless calculations of percentages (#eurovisionmathsisthebestmaths) and several hours later, I’ve cracked it. The list is based on the countries that have sent amazing songs time and time again – in my opinion, of course – and in doing so given me high expectations of them the next contest approaches. Quite a few of them have less than impressive records in the ESC, but have found their rhythm (and a factory that produces supremely talented singer-songwriters aged 10-15) in Junior. Let’s hope they figure out how to do both in style sometime soon.

In the meantime, check out my favourite JESC countries and let me know which ones would be on your list.

 

#1 | Belgium

Debut: Copenhagen 2003

Best result: 4th in 2009

My top 3:

Zo Verliefd (Yodelo) by Laura (2009)

Anders by Trust (2007)

De Vriendschapsband by X!NK (2003)

 

#2 | Spain

Debut: Copenhagen 2003

Best result: 1st in 2004

My top 3:

Te Traigo Flores by Antonio José (2005)

Antes Muerta Que Sencilla by Marìa Isabel (2004)

Te Doy Mi Voz by Dani (2006)

 

#3 | Armenia

Debut: Rotterdam 2007

Best result: 1st in 2010

My top 3:

Erazanq by Arevik (2007)

Mama by Vladimir Arzumanyan (2010)

Welcome To Armenia by Dalita (2011)

 

#4 | Georgia

Debut: Rotterdam 2007

Best result: 1st in 2008/2011

My top 3:

Odelia Ranuni by Mariam Romelashvili (2007)

Candy Music by Candy (2011)

Mari Dari by Mariam Khakelishvili (2010)

 

#5 | the Netherlands

Debut: Copenhagen 2003

Best result: 1st in 2009

My top 3:

Ik Ben Een Teenager by Rachel (2011)

Click Clack by Ralf Mackenbach (2009)

Stupid by Tess (2005)

 

#6 | Ukraine

Debut: Bucharest 2006

Best result: 2nd in 2008

My top 3:

Evropa by Kristall (2011)

Matrosy by Victoria Petryk (2008)

Urok Hlamuru by Ilona Galytska (2007)

 

#7 | Serbia

Debut: Bucharest 2006

Best result: 3rd in 2007/2010

My top 3:

Učimo Strane Jezike by Neustrašivi Učitelji Stranih Jezika (2006)

Čarobna Noć by Sonja Skorić (2010)

Piši Mi by Nevena Bozović (2007)

 

#8 | Belarus

Debut: Copenhagen 2003

Best result: 1st in 2005/2007

My top 3:

My Vmeste by Ksenia Sitnik (2005)

S Druz’yami by Alexey Zhigalkovich (2007)

Tantsui by Volha Satsuk (2003)

 

#9 | Sweden

Debut: Copenhagen 2003

Best result: 3rd in 2006

My top 3:

Det Finaste Någon Kan Få by Molly Sandén (2006)

Du by Mimmi Sandén (2009)

Varför Jag? by Limelights (2004)

 

#10 | Macedonia

Debut: Copenhagen 2003

Best result: 5th in 2007/2008

My top 3:

Prati Mi SMS by Bobi Andonov (2008)

Rodendeski Baknež by Denis Dimoski (2005)

Ding Ding Dong by Rosica & Dimitar (2007)

So, which countries have you fallen in love with based on their Junior entries? 

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?