ESC Pulse Article: Junior Eurovision 2016 Predictions

Bonswa! That’s ‘hello’ in Maltese if you’re reading this in the afternoon, if you’re reading in the morning, then it’s “bonġu”!

The jury rehearsal for this year’s Junior Eurovision has come and gone, and most of the scores are now being decided as we speak. So, with Kylie on the ground and John back in the UK keeping an eye on the news, will they agree on the eventual result?

The Show

Kylie: I think this year’s show is rather enjoyable, there’s a lot of excitement in such a small theatre. There’s some obvious production limitations that comes with a smaller venue, but it’s well put together. I’ve been enjoying it here Malta as well, I’m pretty worn out from all the hill-climbing! I just wish the weather here was just as good, sigh… *insert that Crowded House song here*

John: I feel very proud of my beloved Malta for putting on what looks like will be another impressive Junior Eurovision show! I just wish I could be there!! But from what I’ve heard from those who are there the buzz is building in Malta once again which, for someone who lives in a country that doesn’t know JESC exists, is great to see. As for the songs, having been rather underwhelmed upon first listen, I have to say I’m quite impressed with what each country has brought to the stage and the songs have been growing on me! I can’t wait to see the finished product tomorrow. (Ah, Sunday afternoon – reminds me of the good old days of the UK national final…!)

The stage. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).
The stage. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).

So, Who Will Win? And Who Will Make Up The Top 5?

Kylie: It’s quite hard, because we’ve had some really strong performances in the jury rehearsal. But in the end, I think the top 2 is very clear. It’s between Poland and Bulgaria for me.

Poland has a well-composed power ballad and the big vocal chops, Bulgaria also has big vocal chops and carries a great feeling of optimism. Both girls also know how to work a camera.

I think Poland would do better with adult juries while Bulgaria would do better with the kids’ juries. In the end I think Poland will just about edge it.

As for the rest of the Top 5? I think Georgia has to be up there with such a strong performance in the jury rehearsal, with usual jury pets Malta up there mainly thanks to her power vocals, and either Italy or Belarus rounding up the Top 5, it depends on whether the juries would prefer class or excitement.

Olivia Wieczorek from Poland. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).

John: This is probably the hardest JESC to predict – we have the great unknown of the 100% jury vote, and juries tend to be wildly unpredictable! From what I have seen from home and heard on the grapevine (mixed with an element of gut feeling) here’s what I think the Top 5 will look like in no particular order: Armenia should easily make the top 5, although I don’t see it as a winner.

Belarus is a bit of a bold prediction, I’ve put them here mainly because it’s Belarus (!) and whenever they send a song like this, they always do well, plus they have a good visual gimmick.

I think people are underestimating Georgia. Everyone seems to think that being on after Cyprus will crush their chances, but despite the Cypriot performance being surprisingly good, I still don’t think that will translate to votes – Georgia’s song is a lot more jury friendly in my opinion.

Poland is arguably the most solid and professional ballad of the contest, this SHOULD (if there’s any justice) do very well indeed. For once I think Poland will be popular with the juries.

I’m not sure about the 5th spot: I think it will be one of either Bulgaria, Italy or Malta. I still think Malta have done enough to do well as is becoming usual for them (I don’t like the colours in the background though!), while Italy could score extremely well among the adults but poorly with the kids. I’m sceptical at this stage as to whether the more sophisticated and modern entries will score highly: remember ESC and JESC are very different events. I’m new to this predicting lark, however, so I’m prepared to be completely wrong!

Mariam Mamadashvili from Georgia. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).
Mariam Mamadashvili from Georgia. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).

Who Will Be Propping Up The Scoreboard?

Kylie: There’s no bad vocal performance this year, so I think that in the end that it will boil down to the overall impression of the performance, so in that sense, I will go for Serbia in last place. It just doesn’t come across well at all, which is a total shame because I quite like the song.

Now watch it finish 5th.

Dunja Jeličić from Serbia. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).

John: It seems harsh to single out who might struggle in the voting. I really have no idea who will finish at the bottom, although realistically I can’t see Ireland setting the scoreboard alight, which is a shame for a country keen to promote their culture and a pleasant song. I also think (although I love the song!) Israel and (perhaps controversially) Serbia may struggle on the night.

Zena Donnelly from Ireland. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).
Zena Donnelly from Ireland. Photo credits: Andres Putting (EBU).

So there you go! Will we be right? Will we end up with egg on our face on Sunday evening?

Both Kylie and John hope you enjoy the show, and a reactions podcast will be out within the next couple of days. May the best song win!


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