The first JESC in Copenhagen had been a success, maybe more of a success than people expected. We had a country winning a Eurovision event for the first time, and a lot of interest to increase from the 16 countries in the first event. The EBU had aimed to put children at the heart of the production, and made the wise choice of not insisting the winner hosts the contest the following year.
Thus the decision was taken that the second edition would be in the Norwegian town of Lillehammer. You know the place, they held the Winter Olympics in 1994. Indeed, the Håkons Hall hosted the ice hockey that time round. It wasn’t necessarily common knowledge at the time that Manchester and then Zagreb were the first two choices for host, but both turned it down for various reasons. However, with Croatia’s Dino winning a year earlier, how many of us would’ve loved a contest in Croatia?
Eighteen countries made the journey to Norway. These were all of the 2003 participants, and Switzerland and France. This seemed to tell us that JESC was here to stay. One of our hosts was Nadia Hasnaoui. You may remember her from a certain senior contest in 2010. Westlife performed during the interval act, making them the first Irish act to appear in a JESC.
Greece – Secret Band – O palios mou eaftos (My old self)
Malta – Young Talent Team – Power of a song
Netherlands – Klaartje & Nicky – Hij is een kei (He’s the best)
Switzerland – Demis Mirarchi – Birichino (Cheeky)
Norway – @lex – En stjerne skal jeg bli (I’m gonna be a star)
France – Thomas Pontier – Si en voulait bien (If we really wanted to)
Macedonia – Martina Silijanovska – Zabava (Party)
Poland – KWADro – Łap życie (Grab life)
Cyprus – Marios Tofi – Oneira (Dreams)
Belarus – Egor Volchek – Spiavajcie so mnoj (Sing with me)
Croatia – Nika Turkovic – Hej mali – (Hey little boy)
Latvia – Mārtiņš Tālbergs & C-Stones Juniors – Balts vai melns (White or black)
United Kingdom – Cory Spedding – The best is yet to come
Denmark – Cool Kids – Pigen er min (The girl is mine)
Spain – María Isabel – Antes muerta que sencilla (Better dead than plain)
Sweden – Limelights – Varför jeg? (Why me?)
Belgium – Free Spirits – Accroche-toi (Hold on)
Romania – Noni Răzvan Ene – Îţi mulţumesc (Thank you)
Croatia couldn’t quite manage the double, ‘only’ managing to finish third. The two countries that beat them made up the rest of the top three a year earlier. A taste of things to come?
Of the performers, many are still in the music business. María Isabel has had several Spanish No1s. Marios Tofi has been involved with Cypriot senior Eurovision. And the sharp-eyed among you might notice Weronika Bochat as part of the Polish act KWADro. She became the first person to appear on stage – competitively – at both the Junior and Senior contests. In 2010, she was one of Marcin Mrozinski’s harem of ladies – you know, the ones with the apples. But what are the rest of them up to now…?
Which songs did you like best?
Author: John Stanton