Malta’s capital city Valletta is getting ready to host Junior Eurovision Song Contest in the Mediterranean Conference Center on November 20th. Valletta is organizing Junior Eurovision already for the second time after previously hosting the contest back in 2014. As the 14th edition of Junior Eurovision is approaching, it is about time to gather the details that are revealed so far.
This year the annual contest is going to face several changes as a result of the joint discussions of EBU, Contest’s Steering Group, and PBS: the 2016 Junior Eurovision will take place on Sunday afternoon of 20th of November in several locations across Valletta, whereas previously the contest used to take place on Saturday evenings. Moreover, it was also revealed that the age limit for this year’s edition of the contest is lowered to 9-14 which used to be 10-15.
The executive supervisor for Junior Eurovision 2016, Jon Ola Sand explained the new format changes: “Within the Steering Group we have been discussing how to improve and further the JESC format. Many members, including some not taking part, felt that the timeslot was not suited to children and family viewing, so we have tried to bring the competition to a time more fitting for this type of event”.
On May 13th in Stockholm, EBU and PBS held a joint press conference revealing some more details about the contest. Jon Ola Sand confirmed that the winner of the 2016 Junior Eurovision will be determined solely by professional and children’s juries. Meanwhile, the winner of last year, Destiny Chukunyere from Malta presented the theme song “Embrace” which you can listen below:
As the contest date is approaching, day by day more and more countries show interest in joining this annual event for kids, where every year new talents and new voices are discovered. Fourteen countries have already confirmed their participation in the 2016 Junior Eurovision: Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, FYR Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. San Marino, Montenegro and Slovenia announced their withdrawal from the contest. Indeed, we are looking forward to seeing Australia in this list very soon as well as the rest of the all pending countries.
Details about each participating country
Albania was the first to announce their participant for the 2016 Junior Eurovision. For this reason 14 acts competed at the Albanian national selection to get the chance to sing in Malta. But the professional jury members had to choose only one of them and, after all, 10-year-old Klesta Qehaja was chosen to represent Albania with the song “Besoj” which you can check right below:
Armenia’s broadcaster AMPTV announced that Anahit Adamyan & Mary Vardanyan (both aged 13) will go to Malta this November. Anahit was born in Sochi, Russia, and started her singing career in 2013 participating in Russia’s music competitions like “The Voice: Kids” and composer Igor Krutoy’s “Battle of Talents”. Mary was born in Vardenis, Armenia. Starting her musical studies in 2011, Mary has also participated in several music competitions and festivals and in 2015 she won the Grand Prix in the “Renaissance International Music Festival”. Interesting to note that Armenia chooses a duo for the first time! Their song is yet to be revealed.
Belarus has never missed a single edition of Junior Eurovision and this year the country will send Alexander Minenok to Malta. On the 26th of August, 10 artists competed at Belarusian national selection and as a result of the 50/50 combination of jury and public viewer votes, Alexander got the chance to sing his song “Muzyka moih pobed” (Music of my Victories) in Valletta. Check Alexander’s entry below:
Bulgaria, after hosting the 2015 Junior Eurovision in the capital city Sofia, this year has also confirmed to make up a part of the contest. 10-year-old Lidiya Ganeva was determined to represent Bulgaria through Bulgarian national selection which consisted of two semifinals and a final show. 15 artists competed at the first semifinal. Then, the top 10 artists made it to the second semifinal, where they competed once again to get in the top five to sing at the final show. The decision at semifinals was solely made by professional jury members, whereas the winner at the final show was determined by 50/50 voting process as the public viewers were also allowed to cast a vote. The youngest representative Lidiya Ganeva was in the leading position in all the live shows. Lidiya has started singing since she was 6 and since then she has participated in several music competitions, receiving a total of 22 first prizes. Her song for Junior Eurovision 2016 has not been released yet.
Georgia has announced a call for entries for Georgian national selection which closes on the 25th of September. The interested candidates aged 9 to 14 are encouraged to send their entry songs, a photo and CV to GPB or email email@example.com for any further information. The date for the national final will be revealed soon and the winner of which will win a ticket to sing at this annual contest in the sunny island of Malta.
Ireland debuted at Junior Eurovision only a year ago. TG4 has organized an external selections for choosing the Irish representative for last year’s contest and, as a result, 13-year-old Aimee Banks won the national selection who finished with the 12th position in Bulgaria last year. This year TG4 has also announced a call for participants. Jury members will include Jedward, Niamh Kavanagh and Linda Martin. However, much more details will be revealed soon.
Italy debuted in 2014 and won the contest the same year. This year also, Italy has confirmed their participation, however, details about the artist and song selection have not yet been revealed.
FYR Macedonia has chosen 12-year-old Martija Stanojković to sing in Malta. Martija has started singing since she was 5 and at the age of 7 had already recorded her first song “Pejacka Ke Stanam” meaning “Will be a singer”. This year she has also taken part in “Pink’s start” competition finishing with the second place.
Malta, being the host country of this year’s edition of Junior Eurovision, has already chosen Christina Magrin to charm Europe, following the example of former Maltese winners Gaia Cauchi (2013) and Destiny Chukunyere (2015). Christina was selected through Maltese national selection with a voting process of 75% determined by jury members and only 25% determined by public viewers. The Maltese song has not been released yet.
The Netherlands is another country to participate in all the editions of Junior Eurovision. This year also the country will fulfill the kids show with the Dutch trio “Kisses”, made of 12-year-old Kymora, 13-year-old Stefania and Sterre. The girls were selected at internal auditions and the song they are going to perform in Malta is called “Kisses and Dancin’”. During the previous years the Netherlands televised Junior Songfestival selections, however, this year the content comes only online on their YouTube channel which you can reach by clicking here.
Russia has also confirmed to take part in this year’s contest. Moreover, the Russian representative has already been determined from the 16 artists participating in the Russian national selection. As a result of the voting combination of Internet and professional jury, 14-year-old Sofia Fisenko was chosen as the winner with her song “Zhivaya voda” (Living Water). Sofia, like the rest of the participants, is looking forward to her Maltese trip. Below, you can check Sofia’s entry:
Ukraine will determine their representative for the contest on the 10th of September through the national selection to be held in Kiev. Professional jury members have already made their decision choosing 12 finalists for the national selection show. You can check the list of the finalists here.
Cyprus and Poland are among the returning countries this year. Poland did not take part in the contest from 2005 up to 2015. However, TVP has finally confirmed their return to Junior Eurovision announcing a call for submissions until the 20th of September to hold a national selection on the 15th of October. Cyprus returns to the contest after a year of absence. The call for submissions announced by CyBC closes on the 9th of September and afterwards five jury members (three adults, two children) will determine the young artist to represent Cyprus at the 2016 Junior Eurovision.