In what seems an eternity since the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest took place in Turin, we are back at the 2022 Junior Eurovision Song Contest, in Yerevan, Armenia.
John and Richard are here for you to describe everything that is going on here in the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex, in Yerevan. Today sees the Jury Final.
You know the drill by now, refresh the page on a regular basis from 16:00 CET to see what we both have to say.
Refresh from 16:00 CET
And we are off!!!
John – The opening shows typical Armenian local things. Costume, food, art and spinning tops. Then we move inside the arena with many trumpeters and Malena – last year’s winner. Then we cut to the 16 performers who are singing the song of the year. A nice feeling of togetherness.
Richard – A number of round, circular objects feature in the opening titles, to capture “Spin the Magic”. Malena introduces us to the 2022 Junior Eurovision Song Contest and the participants sing the Common Song – “Spin the Magic”. The flag parade then follows.
John – Our three hosts explain the voting. It’s 50/50 juries and online voting. You can vote for your own country (hint hint). There’s a ‘robot’ called Robin. Hmmm. Well, it is a show for young people.
Richard – The Hosts have entered the arena – including Armenia’s very own Iveta, their 2016 ESC entry. Voting rules follow with an explanation on how you can vote. You can currently vote at jesc.tv until 15:59 tomorrow afternoon, Sunday 11th December, before the show begins. We also meet Robin the Robot, who’ll join Malena in the Green Room.
John – Luna opens very enthusiastically, as you would expect. It bounces along nicely. The camera work seems to be slick and she knows where the camera is all the time. And did we mention the pyros. A great opener and let’s hope tonight will be ‘bellisimo’.
Richard – Luna brings the festival vibe with “La Festa”. Such a great opener – the Press Centre are singing along too. Dance routine is perfected and Luna is vocally ok. I worry it’s on too early ion the proceedings for it to be remembered.
Richard – Laura has polished her performance from the second rehearsals. Still very futuristic and everything seems to come together now. Pyrotechnics feature, which until this year, was a rarity at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
John – Ooh – dry ice aplenty. Laura and her pals are all in silver which becomes more obvious once the dry ice subsides a little. It’s another bop that might be too similar to song 1. On the other hand, it’s a very different setting which will set it off. There’s star quality there, and of course pyros. I like this and it could provide TVP with a headache if they win again.
Richard – David vocals are still challenging him tonight. Has he been given too higher notes? Dry ice has been added to the staging, adding to the overall effect that the Mother Earth element has already been portrayed on the back drop.
John – David, sadly, seemed to have a few vocal issues early on, but he did recover well as the song went along. It’s tough being out there alone at the best of times so credit where it’s due. But he does sell it very well, and the setting helps. The juries voting tonight might have picked up on early wobbles but it would be good to see him do well.
John – Enthusiasm in spades here with the ever smiling Gaia. She gets it right although there still seems to be something missing. But I can’t quite put my finger on it. Whether it needs two more dancers or a slightly different musical arrangement. She did well but it’s sadly not a winner.
Richard – Gaia has performed “Diamonds in the Skies” so much better than we have seen previously. I feel she is oozing more confidence and this will hopefully reflect in the votes.
Richard – Sadly Chanel didn’t hit some of the big notes and it put her off for just a moment. It is still colourful and fun and will get everyone going. I cross everything for Chanel and Italy.
John – Colours aplenty, and I love it. This is instant. It’s fun, chirpy, and ideal for a grey Sunday afternoon in winter. There were a few challenging notes in this and it’s debatable whether Chanel hit all of them. But with more enthusiasm like hers, plus the staging, dancing and vivacious vivacious colours, the whole package is definitely better than the sum of its parts.
After Italy we have a short sojourn to the Green Room.
Richard – Lissandro starts off a performance strong, with those pyros. Another catchy performance which is memorable – he surely has to be a favourite? Give it a few years and this young man will be representing France at the Senior Eurovision.
John – Here’s a cheeky little chappy that might appeal to those out there in online-voter-land. Lissandro has star quality and even if French isn’t your language, you get what the song is about. He hits all the big notes as well as the more subtle elements of the song. And the pyros set it off nicely. Definitely a contender.
Richard – While Italy suffered, Kejtlin has brought the vocals to the foreground and they will take a lot to beat! Yes Kejtlin is on her own on stage, her voice fills that stage. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Albania is a dark horse for victory.
John – What a voice Kejtlin has! It could be the best of the 16. She has the audience in the palm of her hands with this soaring ballad. Every note hit, every camera angle nailed. And a massive reaction from the hall at the end of the song. Could this be the surprise we love to see at events like this.
Richard – Georgia can never be discounted at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Mariam, and her backing dancers are in traditional dress. The white and red lighting is so effective and this might is make it memorable for the voter. Mariam is also bringing those notes to a whole new level.
John – From soaring vocals to a something pretty serious. Mariam’s home country ‘get’ JESC and the slick and striking delivery of this midtempo song will catch your eye and ear. There’s a seamless switch between Georgian and English and the structure is nothing to offend you. There’s choreography that doesn’t disappoint and notes hit. The headwear might catch your eye and could work either way when it comes to votes.
John – Woohoo! It’s Sophie time! Her outfit has been pared down something more lacey than her rehearsals yesterday. The backdrop of stunning west of Ireland views are beyond compare and there’s a smattering of dry ice which adds to the package. When the flashing lights start, indicating stormy conditions she engages really well with the camera. And then that note just before the key change. It’s delightful. Utterly delightful.
Richard – You wouldn’t believe Sophie has had a sore throat with such an enchanting performance. The added dry ice has brought atmosphere to the proceedings and it gives the effect of an Irish coastal location – just beautiful.
Richard – Lara and Co’s friendship still comes across as if they have been best friends forever. This is one of the most natural performances I’ve ever seen at the Junior Eurovision and Eurovision Song Contest.
John – We like fun songs at JESC, and this ticks so many boxes. As you will have seen from our interview, these are genuinely friends. Bouncy, catchy and very foot-tappy. Lara keeps it all together and her pals add that fun element. An excellent three minutes.
Richard – Carlos has improved his vocals, while the choreography still isn’t great. It’ll do better than I initially thought in his second rehearsal, but I can’t see a top 5 coming the Spaniards way.
John – Here’s another one with star quality. At times the camera angles show more than just him and his four dancing pals on stage. That will garner votes. As will his vocal which is more solid than the rehearsal yesterday. The Spanish element of the press centre loved it – natch – and they might be onto something.
There is another short break now.
Freya Skye will not be performing in the Jury Final. The EBU released the following statement:
“For medical reasons UK artist Freya Skye will not perform in the 2nd Dress Rehearsal of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday 10 December. A recording of her performance from the 1st Dress Rehearsal held earlier in the day will be used instead. The health and well-being of all participants is always our top priority. All the Junior Eurovision family send her their best wishes and are looking forward to Freya returning to sing in the live show on Sunday 11 December.”
Richard – If you saw the Children in Need performance back in November, you’ll know what to expect.
John – Freya is a tad under the weather so we’ll be seeing a rehearsal video from this afternoon instead of a live performance. We wish her a speedy recovery for tomorrow night. The footage we see is again very slick. No problems with it at all as the whole three minutes is as slick(that word again) as it possibly can be. She even manages a shout out to the audience before the pyros kick in. Let’s hope she can do the business tomorrow night.
Richard – Nicolas’ voice has such a varied range. It goes from sounding rough in the rockier moments to a more smoother sound in the other parts of the song. Portugal are renowned for trying different things and whether this works or not, you can certainly say they’ve given it a good try.
John – Nicolas has his best growling voice on. And then there’s the slightly more warbly voice for parts of the verse. It’s definitely an interesting song with little precedent in JESC. You see the stagehand hand him his guitar, which probably wasn’t quite planned. In all, he does this well and he’s a good singer. But it might not be what the voters will be looking for.
John – From anger to sweetness within the space of less than a minute. Katarina was a joy to interview when we caught up with her and this niceness comes across in her three minutes. The things like the costume change, the trombone and the eventual dance with Martin work well, but there did seem to be something missing. I hope it does well.
Richard – Katarina had a slight wobble with her vocals, but nothing that’ll bother the juries. The clockwork ballerina staging is so clever and is one aspect that voters will remember.
Richard – Nare brings to “DANCE!” To the stage and both the arena and Press Centre go crazy. All of Nare’s backing dancers are now wearing glitter balls on their heads. It would fit well in any night club. This has got to be one of those in line for a win.
John – Do you want to bop? Do you? Do you? Well wait no longer. With a dance routine all the Armenian volunteers in the press centre know by heart, people dancing (on stage) wearing glitter ball helmets, polished (even better than slick) dance routines and that crucial note towards the end, this could also be your winner.
Richard – Zlata is back with “Unbreakable”. Zlata is back with added emotion (including tears) and this shows in droves. While we don’t want to talk about ‘that’ political situation, children will be aware of it and this may lead to a second Ukrainian Eurovision win this year.
John – And finally (well not quite finally as it turns out), we get a tad serious again. Serious and earnest, this has the message. It will do well, and would have done well whatever the circumstances. Zlata does all she needs to do. It’s maybe a tad too serious to win. But what do I know?
Serbia are having another run through due to technical issues in their previous performance.
We now have the voting recap for the first time.
Last year’s winner Malena is our [first] interval act. It’s a nicely upbeat song that is her new single Can’t feel anything. She performs with a seeming cast of thousands in front of a large ghetto blaster. It’ll appeal to the target market.
Then time for another recap
Time for Rosa Linn. You can probably guess what she sings, in a nicely pared-down-but-not-quite-acoustic version. Think of Fai rumore in Big ESC SF1 and you’ll be partly there. For one thing, they’ve let her out of the bedroom where she was tearing at the wallpaper. A huge reception, naturally.
The voting closes at this point.
There’s the usual hi-jinks on stage involving two of the hosts and Robin the robot. We’ll keep it as a ‘pleasant’ surprise. With voting lines closed, we now get the official song of JESC 2022 – Spin the magic.
It’s the 20th JESC, so we get some previous winners, and winning songs. From Ti si moja prva ljubav to Qami qami. Not all the winners are there, but it’s a great medley.
We’re wrapping up the blog now. Thanks for tuning in. Enjoy the show on Sunday afternoon from 15.00GMT/16.00 CET/19.00AMT
Author: John Stanton & Richard Taylor
Source: Eurovision Ireland