JESC2016: Liveblog & Analysis of the Jury Rehearsal

Tomorrow afternoon is the official televised show of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest – but today is the day when most of the results are already decided. During this dress rehearsal, both the adult juries and the kids juries from the 17 participating countries will vote. 

ESC Daily is at the press center to closely follow the show for you. We will let you in on all the details & try to get inside the mind of the adult jurors, to predict how they might look at the performances of this evening.

NOTE: The star ratings are our indication of how likely it is that the adult jury might vote for this performance.

18:30 – Show is over

Liveblog will close as well. Tomorrow the real results! Hope you have a great rest of your evening.

18:24 – Ireland wins dummy vote

Australia finishes 9th. Cyprus wins the kids jury vote and finishes second.

18:20 – “Melfest”-style

The points of the kids jury all come in one bulk, like the televotes at the adult contest. Styled after Melodifestivalen.

18:15 – Experts vote next

After the adults, it is the experts who vote. Mads Grimstad gives 12 to Georgia, Christer Björkman votes for Ireland and Jedward gives 12 to The Netherlands. All dummy voting this, of course.

18:11 – Dummy voting

The adult juries vote first. Cyprus is in the lead in the dummy voting right now.

17:57 – Recap!

No televoting tonight, but there will still be a recap. We are looking at it right now.

17:52 – Embrace

The participants sing the song they were assigned to sing together, with Destiny. Soon enough we will head into the dummy voting.

17:45 – Jedward, then Destiny again

Jedward sing their new song Hologram, and after that, Destiny is on again! This time she sings “Not My Soul”, which won her the contest last year.

17:39 – Destiny sings her new single

It is almost as if Margaret – Cool me down found its way to the Eurovision stage after all. Really cool new single from Destiny.

17:37 – Expert jury introduced

Jedward, Björkman and Grimstad are all impressed by the vocal talents tonight, they say.

17:36 – Four pull away vocally

Judging purely by vocals, Bulgaria was the best tonight, followed by Poland, Georgia and Italy. The others are way behind – if this was just a singing contest. Thankfully, it is still a SONG contest, too.

17:34 – Georgia – Mariam – Mzeo

Some nerves for Mariam, who still manages to impress vocally, especially in the higher notes and towards the end of the song. At the beginning, she seemed to be gasping for air a few times, and produced a few thrills at smaller notes. Not her best performance of the week; still easily enough to score well with the adult juries tonight. It remains to be seen whether kids juries will fall for a song that seems ripped out of a nineteen fifties movie.


17:30 – Cyprus – George Michaelides – Dance Floor

Camera work has been the key to success for Cyprus all week, and tonight that is on point. Vocally, the song is not difficult – and George gets through it without mistakes, while dancing at the same time. Really, really difficult how this song will stand out with juries in a field like this. Will adults appreciate this over a ballad? Do kids understand this grown-up nordic dance style? If there was televoting, this would have been a potential winner.


17:25 – The Netherlands – Kisses – Kisses and Dancing

The Netherlands has finally landed on an outfit: the black dresses with the colourful texts on it. As has been the case all week, the harmonies sound good. And the solos at the beginning are tonight better than before. Kymora’s solo in the second verse is a bit weaker, as is the bridge. Choreography strong. Enthusiasm clear. Kids jury material.


17:20 – Australia – Alexa Curtis – We Are

Alexa is on stage! She seems energetic and happy, and more than ever before this week we see her energy in her movements on stage. She clearly has saved her best theatrical performance, her best smiles, for this night. Vocally, unfortunately, you feel like she could have done better if she would have been fit. She reaches every note, but the first two verses sound a little bit fragile at times. The last minute is strong.


17:16 – Israel – Shir & Tim – Follow my heart

Shir & Tim are put together because of theatrical chemistry between the two – and that is a fair choice. But their voices do not blend together well. The solo’s are vocally flawless, but the harmonies are sometimes off-key. Adult jurors for certain will notice this, while a kids jury might have issues appreciating the song. It must be said, that this was probably one of their better vocal performances of this week.


17:12 – Serbia – Dunja Jelicic – Uh la la la

Dunja is vocally alright tonight, she does not miss a note. Unfortunately, this is about everything she has going for her. Facial expressions are unlucky and potentially a dealbreaker with the kids jury. The song is relatively flat and level of difficulty is therefore not high. Add to that the amount of camera shots that Dunja misses, and we have an entry that is almost certainly out of the top 10.


17:08 – Italy – Fiamma Boccia – Cara Mamma

In the first thirty seconds, Fiamma sounds a bit fragile. However, she gets through them without missing a note, and starts to impress from the second verse onwards with possibly her strongest vocals so far. The Italian delegation has changed its camera shots at the last moment, going much more close on Fiamma, which she is able to handle. This entry has nowhere been mentioned as a contender, but it might be a dark horse after all.


17:02 – Ukraine – Sofia Rol – Planet craves for love

Sofia starts off on the wrong foot by missing both low notes in the first verse. She is alright in the higher ranks, but does not look confident on the stage tonight. In the last half of the performance, no more notes are missed, but the damage might be done with the adult jurors. When it comes to kids, I have had my doubts from the beginning whether this difficult song & pretentious staging will have any effect.


16:56 – Poli Genova as interval act

Junior Eurovision experimented last year with interval acts between performances and the trend continues here with Poli Genova singing “If love was a crime”, the song which brought her to the TOP-5 in Stockholm this year.

16:53 – Belarus – Alexander Minyonok – Music is my only way

Alexander is not flawless, but vocally competent as he has been all week. He might miss one or two small notes along the way but it does not hinder the performance. Juries could appreciate the combination of singing and a highly complicated choreography, which is executed to perfection tonight. In the adult contest, they are generally not friendly to this kind of hiphop genre – in junior, they might be more lenient to it.


16:49 – Poland – Olivia – Nie Zapomnij

In the first two lines, Olivia is living on the edge in the lower notes. In the chorus, she again struggles with one of the lower notes. One has to be very detail-oriented to notice, but if we are splitting hairs, Bulgaria was stronger tonight than Olivia. Still her voice is easily second best so far. Last refrain flawless. Visually, the Polish package is more complete than Bulgaria. The love story of the two planets in the backdrop comes across really well tonight.


16:45 – FYR Macedonia – Martija Stanojkovic – Love will lead our way

Martija and her dancers wear the official outfit for the first time. It is light pink with glitters, and a lot of make-up added as well. Vocals are adequate. Incomparable with her predecessor from Bulgaria, but good enough to carry this song. If juries will be susceptible to a potential hit song, and to the strong staging concept, this will have to finish at least top ten – but generally, adult jurors prevail other categories. In those categories, Macedonia is not one of the stongholds tonight. Possibly material for the kids jury.


16:40 – Bulgaria – Lidia Ganeva – Magical Day

As all week, Lidia delivers outstanding vocals. At times, it is easy to forget that you are listening to a live recording. Her first slight thrill comes at the bridge towards the English part, but over-all this is an almost flawless performance that should do well with adult jurors and, quite likely, also with kids. The song might be relatively mellow, but that would have been more of a concern with televotes (which we do not have this year). However, bear in mind: Albania last year scored only three points from the kids jury with a very similar song!


16:35 – Malta – Christina Magrin – Parachute

Christina sounds nervous and starts out weaker than we have heard from her in rehearsals, missing one or two notes. She changed clothes again – this red outfit we have not seen in neither of the two country rehearsals. In the second chorus, she seems slightly out of breath. Nerves seem to get the better of the home representative, who left her dancers at home, and that was definitely the right decision in terms of the dynamic of the performance.


16:31 – Russia – Water of Life Project – Water of Life

Much has been said about the Russian camerawork. Until the last moment, the delegation has been working on this and this is again different from the previous rehearsals. However, more importantly, vocals from Sofia at the beginning of the song lack volume and confidence. She is not off-key, and she recovers later on, but in a field of strong vocalists this could be costly. Especially when later on, the other girl in orange, falls out of rhythm during the choreography.


16:26 – Albania – Klesta – Besoj

Klesta sings comparably to the way she did during rehearsals. She misses a couple of notes every now and then, but is over-all much better than at the national final. It is mostly the in-between notes in the verses that she struggles with. The high big ones at the chorus sound quite alright. Given the running order, and the (better) vocalists that are still to come, this will struggle in the voting for both juries.


16:22 – Armenia – Mary & Annahit – Tarber

Annahit has been ill at the beginning of this week. Her solo’s are still a bit weaker than Mary’s. Still the harmonies for the song sound quite alright. Good enough for an adult juror to perhaps appreciate the difficult combination of dancing and singing together at the same time. Armenia has kept one surprise for us during rehearsals: there is a dress change for the last chorus, with the girls all of a sudden all dressed in white. Disco is not a juryfriendly genre at the adult contest, but I am not sure if the same goes for JESC.


16:18 – Ireland – Zena Donnelly – Bhrice ar Bhrice

Zena does not miss a note. Her vocals will probably impress the adult jury. Visually, this has always been a rather comical performance with the combination of the dress and the blueish backdrop. On top of that, Zena is not always on point when it comes to camera work. It makes the total package look slightly less professional and it is quite possible this performance will not work for a kids jury.


16:14 – Participants announced in groups of three

The presenters announce Ireland, Armenia, Albania and after that, three short postcard-like clips are shown. This is a new feature. Not sure what it is supposed to do.

16:09 – Perfect speed

The introduction of the participants is already over. The two hosts now introduce the show.

16:07 – Alexa is on stage

The participating countries are announced in groups of four, on alphabetical order. Australia is in the first group and we see a snippet of Alexa dancing on stage. Let’s hope her voice has recovered well enough for this big rehearsal.

16:03 – Bubbles in Valletta

The intro video shows bubbles flying through the streets of Valletta. We have come to know those streets quite well throughout the last few years of Junior Eurovision!

After the bubbles, Destiny sings a bit of “Not my soul” before she welcomes everyone to Malta.

16:00 – Te Deum

15:58 – Our food for the show

I guess the apple at least is sort of healthy…


15:50 – Welcome to the liveblog

The atmosphere in the press center is tense. It is clear that everybody understands the unique importance of this rehearsal. People brought chips and cola to their tables as if it is the big night itself.


  1. What kind of children are part of the kids juries?
    Children, who are members of choirs, play violin or piano in their spare time, were former participants in national editions or just kids-kids, randomly picked from the streets?
    Not totally unimportant to know if we are trying to guess the reactions of the different juries….

    • In previous years, every country had just one kids juror and these were predominantly previous participants. It is not officially known how the kids jury will be selected this year.

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