Eurovision Junior: what is the teen version of the song competition?

Nice 2023 is Sunday! And no, it is not a sporting competition, but the 21st edition of Junior Eurovision which is being held this year in the “city of Angels”. The competition will be broadcast at 4 p.m. on France 2 live from the Nikaïa palace, hosted by Olivier Minne and former Miss France Laury Thilleman.

Olivier Minne is a regular at the exercise, since he had already presented the competition in 2021, when it was held in Paris, at the Seine Musicale. Alongside Zoé Clauzure, the French representative with “Heart”15 countries will compete to succeed Lissandro, winning last year performing “Oh Maman!” » in front of 33 million viewers.

An idea from Scandinavian countries

THE Eurovision Song Contest is reserved for participants aged 16 or older. A decision taken after certain countries sent particularly young candidates in the 1970s and 1980s. The emblematic case is that of the Belgian Sandra Kim, winner in 1986 and whose delegation had lied about her age: she claimed to be 16 years old, she was in reality barely 13.

At the beginning of the 2000s, several Scandinavian countries organized song competitions reserved for children and their televisions tuned into a common competition: the MGP Nordic, with participants from Denmark, from Sweden and Norway. Faced with local success, this gave ideas to the European Broadcasting Union which decided to adapt the competition in 2003 in a version for children, open to singers aged 8 to 15.

Denmark, honed by its regional experience, offers itself to host the event. On November 15, 2003, in Copenhagen, the first Junior Eurovision contest was held with 16 participants. The young Croatian Dino wins the competition with “Ti si moja prva ljubav”, but Croatia does not organize the following competition: in order to motivate countries to participate, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has noted that it would not be the responsibility of the winning country to organize the following year. Even if the competition is increasingly organized in the title holder country (like France in 2021 and 2023), this is not an obligation.

12 points as for adults

In total, 40 European countries have already participated in the competition. A 41st will make his debut on the Nice stage, Estonia, with the young Arhanna who will sing “Hoiame kokku”. Among the countries that have already participated most often, we note the Netherlands, present every year since 2003. Russia and Belarus were also faithful participants, until their exclusion from the EBU. More unexpectedly, Australia participated between 2015 and 2019, Kazakhstan also sent candidates from 2018 to 2022, while Wales tried their luck twice.

In terms of operation, the model is more or less the same as that known for the adult competition: songs of 3 minutes maximum, no more than six people on stage. The rules state that each song must be performed in an official language of the country it represents. English is allowed, but must not represent more than 30% of the lyrics (except for countries whose language is English, therefore).

During the competition, all the participants (now aged 9 to 14) sing, then each country awards its points, from 1 to 8, 10 and 12 for its favorite song. From a “Fan School” perspective, each country received 12 points from the start of voting between 2005 and 2015, a way of ensuring that no child finished with “zero points”.

For its part, the public votes and all the points are added up to be added to the participants’ score in a second step. But the big difference with the adult competition is that the public vote takes place online. This allows two things: a free vote for Internet users and a vote for your own country! The vote opens this Friday evening at 8 p.m., and will close on Sunday during the ceremony. It allows you to vote for your three favorite participants. If you wish, you can support Zoé Clauzure.

What are the favorites this year?

Sixteen European countries are therefore competing in Nice. Beyond from France and Estonia already mentioned, we include Albania, Germany, Armenia, Spain, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, North Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.

Among the favorites at the moment, Armenia, Spain and the United Kingdom are those who have the best chance of finishing at the top of the ranking. North Macedonia and the Netherlands also have their little success with many fans. During the competition, it will be Spain to open the ball, concluded by the Netherlands. Zoé Clauzure will move to 12th position.

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