The Junior Eurovision Song contest has been going since 2003, when the first ever contest took place in Copenhagen . It seems a long time ago now since we heard the first winner Dino Jelusic sing the reprise of his winner “Ti si moja prva ljubav” ( You are my first love) . But what has happened since to those winners from the earlier years of the contest and have any of them attempted to take part in the adult contest ? Eurovision Ireland decided to take a look at some of the past winners from the earlier years.
Dino Jelusic – Croatia 2003 – Won in 2003
Who better to start with than the very first winner in 2003? Dino won the contest in 2003 with “Ti si moja prva ljubav” ( You are my first love). He wrote the song himself at just 10 years of age .
What is he doing now?
Well, Dino is today a Croatian rock singer , musician and song writer. He became the lead singer of hard rock band Animal Drive and since 2016 has been a touring member of the American rock band Trans Siberian orchestra . He now lives in the USA,. Will he be persuaded to represent Croatia in ESC one day?
Maria Isabel- Spain- won in 2004
Maria Isabel stormed to victory in the 2004 JESC in Lillehammer, Norway with her self-penned song ” Antes Muerta que Sencillia ” . At the time she was only 9 years old and was the youngest winner of the contest to date (being a few days younger than the Tolmachevy sisters who won for Russia in 2006 ).She also set a record for the largest score ( 171 points) and the largest winning margin ( 34 points). The winning Margin has since been broken by Anastasiya Petryk, who won with a 35 point margin for Ukraine in 2012 and the largest score was overtaken by Destiny, who won for Malta in 2015 .
What is she doing now?
After Junior Eurovision , Maria Isabel continued to combine her singing career with with school studies, she produced a new album , having previously released one prior to the contest ” No me toques las Palmas que me conozco ” in October 2005 called “Numero 2” ( Number 2) . She also hosted the Spanish TV programme; “Los Lunnis”. After completing her studies in 2015, Maria Isabel applied to represent Spain in the Eurovision Song contest itself in 2016 with ” La vida solo es una”, however she was beaten by Barei with ” Say Yay” and finished in 4th with 68 points.Nowadays, Maria Isabel is known in Spain by her full name of Maria Isabel Lopez Rodriguez .
Ksenia Sitnik -Belarus- won in 2005
Ksenia Sitnik won JESC in Hasselt ,Belgium ,at the age of 10 with the self-penned song ” My Vmeste” ( We are together), seemingly against all the odds as the song was not highly rated in pre-contest polls. She won by a very narrow margin , just 3 points more than the runners-up, Spain , who would have achieved a back to back win had Antonio Jose been successful with his song “Te traigo flores” ( I bring you flowers) .
What is she doing now?
Since her victory in JESC, Ksenia has released a CD with a music book with the song title the same as her winning song and released 3 music videos, Malenkiy Korablik( Little ship) in 2006 , Protastaya Pesenka ( Simple song ) in 2007 and Non-stop in 2009 . Now aged 24 , Kseniya still lives with her family in Minsk . She studied journalism in Prague, Czech Republic and has founded a wedding studio in the city.
The Tolmachevy sisters -Russia -won in 2006
Anastasiya and Maria Tolmachevy , identical twins, won JESC in 2006, in Bucharest, Romania, with the jazzy number ” Vesenniy Jazz” ( Spring Jazz). They were just 9 years old .
What are they doing now?
The sisters went on to represent Russia in the Eurovision Song contest in Copenhagen in 2014 coming a respectable 7th place with the song ” Shine”. They have released an album, ” Polniki” and have appeared in the move “Kingdom of crooked mirrors”. They were also members of the professional Russian Jury at Eurovision 2019 .
Ralf Mackenbach – The Netherlands -won in 2009
Long before Duncan Laurence graced the Eurovision song contest stage in Tel Aviv this year and achieved a win for The Netherlands after 44 years , ten years previously , the country enjoyed success in the Junior Eurovision Song contest when Ralf Mackenback, then aged 15 , took victory in Kyiv , Ukraine in 2009 with the catchy number ” Click clack”. Ralf said that the song was written by his neighbor.
What is he doing now ?
Ralf has continued with his singing career , his first album, RALF , achieving a top ten in the Dutch album charts and in March 2011 was awarded a gold recotd for the same album . He also made a guest appearance as interval act in JESC 2012.
Will the Dutch want to recall that JESC success and invite Ralf to be part of the Eurovision 2020 shows in Rotterdam next year ?
So, these are just a few of the early winners of JESC , out of all the past winners of the JESC , who would you like to see represent their country at the ESC that hasn’t already ?
Author : Sarah Rudman
Source and image sources : Eurovision Ireland, You Tube, Eurovision.TV